Frida Kahlo on Strangeness

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too.

Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” – Frida Kahlo

Stardust

What is it like to be with you when the whole world is asleep?

I’d love to know the taste of your lips at midnight

sweeter than sunrise, softer than sunshine against my windowpane at dusk.

what is it like to kiss your face when the rest of the world closes its eyes?

I’d venture to say it feels like the broadest luck

quite impossible, quite unimagineable, but innumerably

inexplicably real.

your breath on my tongue

your eyelashes in my dreams but they flutter gently on my face

so real, too true, but quite still so unimagineably similar

to when stars collide.

 

-mh-

Home

Home is where the heart is, so they say.

But where is my heart? When the wind blows tumbleweed across the cracks in the sand, they pick up debris as they roll on by. Where is my heart?

“It is not down on any map,” as they say – “true places never are.”

And home isn’t the same anymore; it never was. It can be fleeting

flying

feeling.

We and the river are constant change – ever-evolving, turning a new leaf just as tiny roots stretch their newborn legs into soft, brown soil.

And still we chase, gather, hunt. Nostalgia. Birth. Rebirth. Brown, cracked leaves, brown leaves covered in rain.

(Is home an illusion?)

I reach down, frantically picking up dark brown leaves, shoving them in my pockets – some crack in my hands, some are wet and pliable and I gather them, desperate and hungry – barely noticing the feeling of wet earth between my toes.

“Home.” “Home.”  “Home.”

quickly!

gather

…please.

My pockets are full, bulging with dead leaves.

Is it down on any map?

(True places never are)

I just want to feel safe in the constance of your smile.

Something about the dirt between my toes tells me I’ve got nothing to do but be.

Something about the earth beneath my feet tells me I’m here.

Something about the sand inside my pockets tells me it’s now.

Home is where the heart is. But where is my heart?

I stuff my hands in my pockets and squeeze the soft brown leaves. If I close my eyes and breathe in the deep forest air, I know my heart is in the feeling I get when I hear you say,

“One of the happiest moments in my life was watching the sun rise this morning.”

My heart is in your laughter.

My heart is in “I love you.”

 

It was then that I knew,

Honey, I’m home.

Winter

A single dark crow flies past the weathered, grey-green barn, its thatched roof covered in patches of bright, spring-green moss. Old, tangled vines gone dormant, cold and wet lay tired across the rafters – the beams heaving, stretching to support the jumbled masses. Just below, ten humble soldiers stand alert, their strong veins darkened by rain, their weary, hopeful faces anxiously awaiting the first signs of spring. A sparrow hops across the edges of the tattered fence posts, and patches of lichen crowd towards the pale marine sky, hoping to capture the first drops of distant sunlight.

Lessons learned from movement (and writing).

I’ve always been a huge fan of mind-body activities, or exercises that teach you in physical form what is to be learned in the mind. It can be argued that anything in life can teach the mind lessons, but there are a few activities I’ve found that foster mind-body learning unlike anything else. As someone intensely interested in personal growth/philosophy and movement, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite lessons.

Archery: Trust and follow your intuition. Don’t think. Just point your body in the direction of what you want. Stay humble. Shoot before your mind takes over, because overthinking will cause you to make mistakes. Your mind is more powerful than you think. Trust your first gut reaction, and trust your instincts.

Hiking: Trust the process. Always remember to look back and see how far you come. Remember to stop to enjoy the view and your surroundings – it’s not just about the work. Savor the small things. Find someone walking on the same path. In life there are valleys, peaks and summits. Find someone who will walk with you through it all and give you a hand or a lift when things get hard, and do the same for them. Enjoy every minute of life because it’s not just about the summit, but the journey. There is no destination.

Yoga: Trust the signals your body sends you. Life is not a competition – you are on your own personal journey. When the body is moving, it brings the mind into the now. Be where you are. Be compassionate with yourself, and be compassionate with others. Be humble and open, and stay curious. Sometimes there is a muscle you can move that you might not have known even existed – if you listen and stay open to instruction, you’ll find it. The more open you are, and the more curious, the more you’ll find. Relax and breathe into difficulty. Trust yourself, give yourself what you need (and so, so much more.)

Climbing: Being in the present moment allows you to be free of anxiety about the past and anxiety about the future. It allows you to enjoy life exactly where you are at (and prevents you from falling.) Staying present and focusing on something with the body can force the mind into a state of flow and intense presence, which helps you enjoy life more. Be where you are. Don’t look down or back at where you came from, focus on what’s ahead and where you are going. It’s all in the mind. Trust that you will get there. Know you will. Refuse to give up. Keep trying. Encourage and support others. Take risks. Know you can. Have fun.

Writing: Don’t overthink this, either. Write every day. Write from the part of you that sits beyond the mind and the ego. Write from your creative energy. Writing is like driving through the desert at night with just your headlamps on – you can only see 4 feet ahead of you, but you’ll still get to where you need to go. Sometimes you find where you need to go just by starting the journey. Sometimes you realize what you wanted to say only after you are well into a piece. Sometimes what you want to say changes. Sometimes what you think you want for your life is different than what you actually want, and writing helps you realize that. Jump on the “train” of inspiration as soon as it hits and before it leaves, or it may never come back. It doesn’t have to make sense, as long as it is true. Don’t try – just make it honest and true, and be brave enough to talk about what hurts. Be vulnerable – because that is what connects us, and our writing to everyone else in the world.