Sunday, February 27, 2011


third floor discovery.

amazingly life-like sculpture of gertrude stein. i kept expecting her to look up and say something poignant to me.

detail of a huge combine of different printing stamps.

this pony looks like driftwood but is really made of brass and is brilliant.

electronic superhighway by nam june paik.

robert motherwell.

a beautiful and somewhat normal-looking painting from alexis rockman (compared this his other wacky, stunning work).

so i've been going to the american art museum/portrait gallery a few times a year since coming back to dc and i love it. i love the beauty of the building, emphasis on photography, proximity to the metro, the atrium (the loudest quietest place in dc), the throne of the third heaven exhibit (fascinating) on the ground floor, and even all the president portraits (i once went through there with my friend justin and memorized each president in order). i could go on and on.

but last saturday i went to meet my abstract painting class for a tour of the rockman exhibit and was late and couldn't find them. finally i ended up noticing that there was another staircase which led to a third floor i never knew existed, a third floor that is full of great work and beautiful architecture. so i forgot about who i was meeting and just i wandered around for an hour by myself, really transported by some of the pieces (and i don't always feel that way about art i see in museums). and then finally found my group just as the tour was breaking up. i hadn't done what i thought i was going to do but i discovered something even more interesting.

this is what i love about life. i feel like i have it all figured out, especially around the things i think i know well, and then something comes and surprises me and i see how far i am from every knowing anything completely. i always marvel at how yoga keeps me interested. i do the same poses all the time, yet they captivate me because it's all happening in the present moment, which is always full interesting things on the secret third floor. it's through this (the lifestyle of yoga, self-awareness) that i learn about myself every day. it's not always easy. lately, i've been really noticing the way that i use frustration and discontent to cover up vulnerability. it's something that i've done in the past a lot, i think. and always blamed it on the relationships not being so good (which definitely was true with a few of them).

but now i am in a relationship with adam, a really great guy who makes me laugh and does yoga next to me and looks at my photo posts each day and has dreams of his own. it's been an amazing past 9 months but man, sometimes when things get really good is when it gets the hardest for me. i read this thing that said that people with addiction are as just as likely to relapse when something intensely wonderful happens to them as when something intensely hard happens. i think intense emotion is so hard (good or bad) for me because it reminds me that i am not in control. i can try to do the best things possible and still not be able to predict the future and whether or not i can hold onto the people and things that i love.

when i think about it, really think about it, i so much prefer to live in a state of wonder and not knowing than control because it is more interesting and always more poetic than what i would create. it keeps me turning, digging, and coming back to who i really am, which is beyond words. i believe who i am, who we are, is that sweet infinite joy and we are most aligned with it when we can keep our thoughts and hearts joyful. so my goal is to learn to tolerate joy, to practice self-awareness when i start to shut down my heart, and to keep on getting excited to find those hidden third floors, inside and out, whether they contain the best of the collection or the dusty bunnies in the attic. because no matter what, there is some interesting shit in there, i just know it.

in closing, i leave you with this song by mason jennings:

Thursday, February 24, 2011


i'm realizing i haven't posted much this month. ah, life. i have lots of ideas that i am excited to share so it's just a matter of finding the extra but i'm thinking that will happen soon. in the meantime, enjoy julieta venegas who i saw on tuesday night and is truly beautiful, talented, and is quite odd in the loveliest of ways.

Monday, February 14, 2011

bitterness doesn't stand a chance...

mad monk with my brother. he's way bigger than this now (the dog, not my brother).

happy valentines day! this weather is affirming to me that yes, spring is possible and could even be closer than we think. i'm feeling the love today. i had a great partner yoga/thai massage workshop this weekend at yoga district and could feel all the sweetness between all the couples that showed up (very much including the friend couples). i also spent all day saturday photographing dogs for a lucky dog rescue fundraiser. and i found out last night that i am going to photograph the most amazing, traveling couple--allison and david--for their labor day wedding in newport, r.i. so even though adam is far away in morocco finishing up his conference, i feel firmly in the stream of affection.

to celebrate, here are musings on love from three really inspiration people. this first is from brene brown, it's her definition of love that she wrote after compiling her research on the people that she says participate in "whole-hearted" living:

we cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.

love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them--we can only love others as much as love ourselves.

shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.

this next piece is from my beautiful friend rebecca armendariz about her last days with her boyfriend clark. she submitted it to a matador records contest and made it as a runner-up (although i think hers was the most well-written and moving of the bunch and totally deserved to have a belle & sebastian song written about it):

Clark’s cancer had spread to his hip and so two months before he died he couldn’t really walk. At least not without my help so I was his human crutch crushed on one side anytime he wanted his 33-year-old body moved to another spot in our apartment. After a period of decline he traded me in for a desk chair on wheels and I pushed him around scooping him up from under his armpits when we reached the bathroom. I’d use a firm but tender grip to lower his eggshell body into the tub where he’d sit for hours to make the effort worth it.He hardly left the house except for doctor’s appointments. I’d finally convinced him to wear an adult diaper after too many laundry loads of soaked pants and bed sheets. The first night he slept in it I put one on too and we giggled under piles of blankets together sharing a secret before he nodded off. One spring day we let the air breeze through the front and out the back of the apartment. The buried idea of what he’d been missing was exhumed; he wanted to go outside. We drove a few blocks to a friend’s where we sat in lawn chairs in a sun-soaked driveway. A snapshot of any one particular moment from that afternoon would appear unremarkable to an outsider. We gossiped and laughed. I drank a beer. After a few hours we were home refreshed by our peek at normalcy. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to see that mischievous amorous look in his eye but after helping him to the couch it disappeared. He wanted to do something for me for once. He wanted me to relax. And for the last time before he died I did.

and of course i will give rumi the last word on love (michelle read this during her yoga class yesterday and i just loved it):

A frog and a mouse by Rumi

A mouse and a frog meet every morning on the riverbank.
They sit in a nook of the ground and talk.

Each morning, the second they see each other,
they open easily, telling stories and dreams and secrets,
empty of any fear or suspicious holding back.

To watch, and listen to those two
is to understand how, as it’s written,
sometimes when two beings come together,
Christ becomes visible.

The mouse starts laughing out a story he hasn’t thought of
in five years, and the telling might take five years!
There’s no blocking the speechflow-river-running-
all-carrying momentum that true intimacy is.

Bitterness doesn’t have a chance with those two

Sunday, February 6, 2011

desert life forms.

i'm waking up this morning and feeling this total sense of appreciation for my life. it's a big swirl of lots of things: the practice of yoga and how it helps me to find that inner stability (particularly found through mike graglia's energetic, inspiring class last thursday), the new abstract painting class i am taking at the torpedo factory (you can see my latest painting here), my friends, my friends, they are so inspiring to me and i love them all so much, sweet, steady adam, being so close to my family, new streams of income (thai massage has been building steam lately), spaworld deep relaxation time (i think this relaxation is so key to making everything work), great food (i just had really great affordable sushi at banana leaves in dupont), my amazing house and room and affordable rent, houndstooth photography being so easy and how my clients are always so cool, teaching yoga being so fulfilling these days, the glut natural food co-op and how it gets me thinking of new cooking projects (i just sprouted my first batch of sunflower seeds this week and have been eating them in everything), a great super bowl party with fun, vibrant people last night, byron katie's book "a thousand names for joy" and all work by brene brown (reading them helps me to remember who i am), how great it is to be mobile by bike and car, and i'm still jazzed this morning that obama is our president because even though he is human and imperfect, he's still such a step in the right direction for where our country can go.

it's wonderful, it's not perfect. i still experience doubt, shame, fear every single day but it just feels like my resolve is stronger to feel good these days and bad moods aren't lasting as long. i'm finding quite of bit of joy in facing all of that darker stuff because it seems like no matter what, if i inquire into what is making me suffer, i always find love and light beneath it which is so much stronger and fuller. this quote from byron katie really expresses this for me:

"as you open to the experience of love, it will kill you you think you are. it will have no other. it will kill anything in its way. once you give yourself to love, you lose your whole world as you perceived it. love leaves nothing behind but itself."