Monday, February 23, 2015

i wrote one

I want to write poems.

I want to write poems,
but not just a series of lines
that weave in syllabic time with each other;
With all do respect to iambic pentameter,
5-7-5 haikus,
and the intelligence behind rhyme,
I want to write with less concern,
and a freer voice.

I want to write poems
that do not give a shit about what the last stanza
the last line
even the last thought
counted for.
I mean literally counted.
1-2-3-4, punctuated pauses
and "sounds like" details can fuck off.

I want to write poems
that count for something
more than rhythm.
That count for thoughts.
Emotions. Tender and raw because they are universal.
Everyone feels something.

I want to write poems
that know that to feel,
to feel (anything at all),
is beautiful--
B.K.S Iyengar.
I want you to feel the freedom to feel.
And then,

I want to write poems
that ask you to feel even more.
That move you to move.
That blast your heart open like a blown
dandelion: seeds scattered everywhere so that what you feel
might touch an infinite number of spaces.

I want to write poems
that do not require a dandelion wish to be made
but a possibility to become a reality.
Poems so that you are not alone.
Poems of humanness.

I want to write poems
that make humans realize they need poetry,
to write or to read;
they need relativity.
They need words to make them run so hard in the direction of nothingness
and trust--TRUST for fuck sakes
that there is never nothing.

I want to write poems
that show how much something there is.
How our emotions are beautiful as they are,
no amount of kerosene can ignite them any further.
That allow us to see, as Ginsberg wanted us to see,
that the only weight we carry is love.

I want to write poems
about love.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

pt deux

Truth: i am not mind blown by this move to France. Perhaps because the seed was planted sometime last summer, and for those of you who know me, when i plant a seed it grows (37 tomato plants later....). In other words, when i get set on an idea, its more likely then anything to happen, and is sometimes bigger than i can handle (so much canning that year....). This time, however, is not one of those too big times. Its the perfect size really. You see, living here is just like living anywhere else: life still basically revolves around food and yoga, i just dont know how to talk to anyone about them. But i trust that i will learn French while i am here, just as i will learn more about me, about my mind, about my heart.

Because although my mind is relatively calm about this transition, my heart has been BLOWN WIDE APART!!!!

Seriously, without the capitals and exclamation points, i dont know that i could communicate, even in my native language, just how much love i am feeling. For D and R to open their Marseille home to me with open arms and full glasses, im.....whoah. boom.

Even before i got here, though, it--my heart that is--was feeling a bit overwhelmed. As Mexico clearly deserves its own write up, i will again only detail simply that what happened there, from two incredible women making it possible for me to come and chef it, to the two weeks of feeling the most present and in agreeance with myself that i have ever felt, totally connected to the food i was cooking in the jungle as it was for our little family there, was pure magic. Then there were the six days at home where while my mind was simultaneously in four places: meditating on Mexi, organizing what needed to be done before the next adventure, thinking all the way ahead to when i would be back again, and trying to remain as present as i had been in the last two weeks for all the goodness in that transition space, and while my body was like: i want chocolate and a nap, my heart was like HOLY F**K there is so much love in my life.

I relaxed a little bit....and understood the limitlessness of my human heart.


That was for you JEL.

There is something for everybody. Because as i live these days out here, there are constantly little reflections, thoughts, moments, foods, sounds, movements, that are connected to each person back home and elsewhere that pushed my hearts capacity. Thank you for that. Thank you for being here. I love you back infinitely.

Truth deux: while yes, in its simplicity, life is still all food and yoga. But food here, in its simplicity, is grand. Belgian endive was the first thing to surprise me: humble bitter salad greens. Impec (which is impeccable in French, loosely--see, learning!). And simply being able to walk a couple blocks for any number of boulangeries and patisseries and fresh produce, butchers, fish right off the boat; i love not having to shop for the week, but instead for the meal. I have already found my favorite grocer, he has terrible teeth but the most amazing smile, and you can buy one egg at a time, laid that morning. D showed me an organic shop, and in between the two a cheese shop that makes me limitless heart skip a beat or six. It is no trouble to eat well here. And we have.

And yoga. Well, i get to move in a room strewn with light from six foot tall windows. And D and i made a video together that basically depicts what yoga here, life here in general, will be like. And i wish there was a way to stretch your shin bones, because ive got splints from walking to get all those groceries and explore this city that after just three short days, has become home.

Home is where the (limitless) heart is.

Only love

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Black and white and French

Yesterday i learned that, in French, the days of the week are named for the planets and Lundi (Monday) the moon. And it blew my mind.

I should be mind blown that i am learning such French things because i am living in Marseille. But i am not. I am actually quite not in shock, quite comfortable, harmonious with this two and a half month little French life i get to live. Such ease has a lot to do with what else i have been learning lately: to be present to the "immediacy of the experience."

This lesson is courtesy of Pema Chodron and her book When Things Fall Apart--it's not something i was reading because i was in a crises, but rather something to read in order to learn to embrace crisis. Other wisdom bits include asking how willing we are to loosen our grip and how honest we want to be with ourselves; with curiosity, what might seem like a problem becomes a source of wisdom; that we ought to relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart (my God, dont you just love that?! LIMITLESSNESS of the HEART!); Pema says that "we use our emotions. We use them. In their essence they are simply part of the goodness of being alive [but] instead of letting them be, we throw kerosene on our emotions so that they might feel more real;"(her language in this next bit, as in the latter, is what touches my nerves) when you fall in love, you should recognize the impermanence of it, and let that intensify the preciousness;  by looking into our own hearts we find the completely unclouded and awakened experience of how things really are--experience being our ultimate teacher because our personal experience is the only true experience we have and we must totally commit to this experience so that we might totally commit to an unconditional relationship with reality. So wise.

I want all of these words, particularly the first bits (i love the intensity of the word immediacy with experience), and the last: commit to an unconditional relationship with reality, tattooed on my body. And i am only half kidding. Actually i am not kidding at all, i am just trying to decide what i want scripted on my left arm so that i do not forget what i have learned. It is one thing to learn such things though, another to put them into practice.

The thing with practicing presence, though, is that it cannot really be taught. I feel we are all at one time or another, in fluctuations throughout our days, present and totally gone; it is a human struggle to be immediate, to be not planning, or thinking of anything other than what we are currently a part of. And really, there is nothing wrong with that. You see, what i have found is that our daydreams and reflections are as much an integral part of our present being, equally shaping our reactions and opinions and permeate our sense of self so that we may be less black and white. Less "now here" vs "no where." We cannot be told which one to be, or even which one we are, but we can notice, when we are here or entirely somewhere else just how grand our connection feels.

That, to me, is the greatest way to learn about presence: to truly allow oneself to feel connected. To notice flow, ease, the un-blown-ness of the mind.  For me personally, it is when i don't feel the need to rush, when i don't create an agenda, instead allow the day to take me somewhere in and amoungst or completely free of routine. I love routine. I love finding a rhythm to move to, a clean line to my day. But i also love when that line zig zags or the rhythm changes to a heavier, jazzier beat, and i can stay with it--presently.

For example, today was my first day alone in Marseille. After a short but the absolute sweetest reunion with my soul brother D (who, p.s. recently accused me of being too present moment....), it is just my English speaking self to hang out with. And down the rain comes. Literally. It poured until about 2:30 this afternoon. This was no trouble for my sleepy, jet lagged self, as it provided a good excuse to stay inside, pants free, with wine, and words to write. When it did let up, i left to get more wine (for just 3 euros i should note...and a chocolate bar that cost three times as much), and managed to find, seamlessly, all of the places that D and i hit yesterday. This is a grand feat for someone who is notoriously lost, and one of the signs to me that i am exactly where i need to be.

This ability to navigate in somewhere unfamiliar has only happened to me twice before: in Sanfrancisco some odd years ago, and more recently (as in two weeks ago-ish) in Yelapa Mexico. There is so much, so so much i could write about Mexico (and have already written so so much on SF), but if i could say one thing that i took home from there was living the lessons of being in the immediacy of the experience, and loving, unconditionally, my reality. I found that balance between planning or expectation (ive also wrote alot about expectation) to motivate my days, and simply allowing what was offered to happen. I found a balance between the black of control and the white of simply going with the flow by being present for each experience, seeing how i was behaving/feeling/sharing in such moments and letting myself learn about, well, myself. In that way i began to see that it wasnt black or white at all, just as it is not yin or yan. It is yin and yan, the same sides of a mountain, with the sun casting light on one but not the other, but the same rock form all the same. It was all just me. And that was mind blowing.

You want to blow your own mind? Spend some time with you. Notice your habits. Notice your routines and whether you like them or not. Notice what rocks you and what lulls you. Drink wine in the middle of the day. Or dont. Wear pants. Or dont. Meditate. Talk out loud in whatever language you wish or wish to know. Create something, even if it is just a piece of yourself you want to know more intimately. Pema says to point to your own heart, see your fears, and discover what is true. The source of wisdom happens directly in the moment, when we stop to experience each moment as new and stand with pride and recognize its sacredness; i say that in doing so you become more comfortable with the present, less on either end of a dramatic spectrum and more in harmony with you.

So i hope you didnt expect to learn about my time here in Marseille through this post. I mean really, not alot mind blowing has happened: i have grocery shopped, yoga'd, drank, and danced, alone and with some beloved company. Just another Samedi--Saturnday. Just another stream of thoughts, some pictures to follow, and stay tuned for more moments, including what i choose for that tattoo...

only love

Thursday, September 18, 2014

saying goodbye; letting go; still loving

im moving again. that's nine times in the last six years. each time there is less to move. this time noticeably a lot less cookbooks. eight banana boxes less. the last time I moved was under a number of realizations (like I had too many cookbooks that I never use and that I was ready to make space for someone to share my space....[side note: thank you to all of those who have helped me move--often more than once--and never commented about the absurd number of books I have, and especially to the one someone who finally did]) and expectations (that that somebody would share my space). Now I am going to be sharing space with a very different somebody,

Somebody A, the somebody for whom a certain banana bread was made, whom adventures and music were shared with, whom stirred laughter and tears, and whom a number of current home shelves were left free for is no longer my somebody. He is my friend though. And he can use my new shelves if he needs to....

Somebody B is my good friend with whom I will be sharing different adventures and music and baked goods with. Somebody who is about to be overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I still have despite having moved so many times. Mostly food. And booze. And still quite a number of books.

This move is quite significant, firstly because I have not lived with anyone since the random moving in with three football players I had never met on the opposite end of this country (a whole other moving story full of somebodys). More significant though, because of that grand bit of expectation attached to the last move.

Moving into this little home of mine now was full of expectation: firstly that moving up a crazy steep hill out of downtown would inspire me to get back on my bicycle (im one of those "hardcore" cyclists who loves a good incline even more than the downslope--and so does my butt...)--which didn't happen--but primarily, to have M (somebody A, in case you haven't caught on yet) feel welcome in my home, to maybe call it his own. Which definitely didn't happen.

Oh expectation. how you set me up to be let myself. If we do not expect anything, then we can not be let down. This does not mean not to have hope, not to put effort into manifestations. even hope falls flat if you do not put in the work. Hope for something can be like setting a goal or seeing the outcome, but you have to be willing to make the steps towards that. For long- term -live- in- sharing- shelves- love, you need to be free of expectation but full of hope and then willing to do the work to make that hope truth.

its a lesson I continue to learn as I pack up all of my stuff and one box of M's and think about whats next. What is next? I have a lot on my plate this fall/winter, including a number of adventures almost as grand as love (who am I kidding? theres nothing so grand!). And a number of challenges not nearly as challenging as love. Including letting go of love.

but then again, as I pack I learn another lesson. That just because you let go doesnt mean you love any less. Actually, I didn't learn that from packing, I learned it from pinterest, but I am thinking about it as I pack. I am thinking also of all the good times we had, the food shared and songs sung. The talks, the laughter, the kisses, the questions, the long nights and early mornings, the good on its own and the good within what didn't feel so good then. Im thinking about how leaving this space is a significant move, a letting go of expectations, a closing of a move that was such an opening statement to my heart, and in leaving an awareness of how much my heart has yet to open. I will miss the memories the floor boards hold here (and the gas burners and my garden, and sliding doors and built in shelving... but that's besides the point...), but look forward too to being free of them. I look forward to letting go.

And being able to still love him. And still loving me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

poked and stoked

My heart has been poked at a lot lately, some a sweet "wake up," some more like prodding, others...stabbing. Yesterday, however, was a very direct poke...with a needle....or the back, shoulders, and wrists. Aimed at the heart. Yesterday was my first ever acupuncture appointment.

I don't even know where to begin in describing the magic that was yesterday--right now I am as clear as I have never been about how messy I am. I don't mean my home, my wild hair, or my car (those of you who know wish you didn't....)  I mean the messiness of my poked at heart.

This heart of mine gets poked because it is the only way into it--the four doors are shut and I am pretending that I am not home to open them. Or downright refusing too. Or using fake voices so that those poking think they have the wrong heart address--that its chica from Brooklyn (the only accent I can do consistently). This doesn't mean that I am not all for love and generous with giving it--its just the doors only swing out and then slam back shut before I can receive love myself. In fact, any sort of poke--soft, forceful, searching--is met with defensiveness, misinterpretation of the pokers intentions, and often confusion at my own response. What a mess.

A fiery mess--turns out my fire element is blazing. Pitta. This information was entirely unexpected and entirely understandable. I always thought I was more Vappa, windy, an all over the place, disconnected gypsy soul. Turns out fire and wind are connected, and those of you living in 40 degree dry BC with me right now know what wind does to wild fire. More than messy--downright destructive.

Which is why I am so grateful for the magic of yesterday. For the awareness that was created around my tendency to feel unheard, my difficulties in communicating, and how the two render me incapable of listening to my inner truth, and thus feeling like an all over the place disconnected gypsy soul when all I want to do is find the balance between joy and sorrow and let as much love in as I give out Wow what a sentence. Just wow.

You see, receiving love is the greatest from of getting it; letting people in is how you love them. Allowing yourself to be loved is opening your heart to be more pure in love. And  a closed heart results in a closed mind, or at least a closed circuit of communication between the two which only stokes the fire and deprives it of water. These are not metaphors I am creating. This is Chinese Medicine--ancient wisdom. And I am truly fascinated.

Fire. Small intestine. A twenty minute reading of my pulse that provoked very intuitive questions about my past. Magic. And for my present, what does that mean? It means a dry blend of herbs with the cutest little spoon three times a day, more pokes to realign my chi, and an awareness of my defensive responses and (not)listening tendencies; for now learning to respond to love with trust and gratitude rather than through a locked door in the Bronx. For my future? Hopefully a heart with four open doors each with their own clever welcome mat; a heart that gives and receives feedback from the mind, and gives and receives love fluidly. A little more water like.

Monday, June 9, 2014


you know when you are feeling so many different things that you cannot distill your emotions into a manageable, nameable feeling? That's me. That's this post. Hence the "untitled" title. There are really no clear words or thoughts. Emotional chaos--stop reading now if that scares you/turns you off/makes no sense at all, because it wont.

Emotional chaos. Sounds dramatic hey? it is. and it isn't. its an is ism (see last post--it makes a bit more sense at least)(focus Anderson...ok). Its just a lot, really; a lot of changes and feelings and unsure bits of life business all milling about in the vessel we call the body which is where the mind and the heart thrive in constant debate. And when there are enough different emotions and not enough agreement between the heart and the mind, the chaos eventually gets tired and winds down, though it feels more like a soupy glomming together of all thoughts/feelings/sures and not so sures/manifestations/hopes/ chia pudding. I am emotional chia pudding. That would have been a catching title...

ok. stop reading what i have to say, because i am hardly writing what i need to say. Read this instead:
i do love the chaos. i do love a roaring heart and mind. I love that i know exactly how i feel but not why, or why i might feel something i cannot exactly explain. I love being not entirely sure of anything, just knowing that i have a large amount of trust and love and hope and openness to take it as it is. I am que-se-rah'ing right now; what ever will be will be. And there are a lot of things being right now that feels like chaos but is really magnificent roaring.
I have not always been comfortable with chaos--i laugh now, when people tell me my energy is calm or zen, because those were the last words you would use to describe pre-yoga me--i have, however, always been comfortable with a roaring heart.
I am passionate to a fault. When i love something i love it with my whole being, when i don't, im not put off by it. I am not one, however, to create chaos out of what i love by pushing it on others or arguing with anyone who doesn't love what i love, but i am more than likely to talk too much and with too many exaggerated hand gestures about such things if given the space to. It is a concentrated passion though, as I fall in love quickly, and fully with a only a few things.

Same goes for people. Quick concentrated passion and love. Which leads me back to emotional chaos.

M gets back today after 45 days away. 45 days apart, and 5 hours until together again. And i am as excited as i am terrified. Reliving the last 45 days and daydreaming about the next. Grateful for the time apart for so many reasons that could go either way for building the time together. Feeling that so much time has past, but that it went so quickly. Knowing how much has changed, and wondering how little that will matter. Aware of what i need, and what is needed of me. Unaware of what i need and what is needed of me. Capable of imagining the worst, but fully trusting in what we had before he left. Sure, really, of only one thing: i love him in a passionate to a fault, roaring heart, emotionally chaotic chia pudding glom sort of way.

Like i love rhubarb cooked in beer.

i warned you. nonsensical. but you read it anyways. And now you should make this:

Beer and Cider Braised Rhubarb
inspired by Green Kitchen Stories, and M's return home, cause i put some beers in the fridge for him and baked bread to smear this all over. All the wheaty, malty, yeasty, sharp, sweet and bright rhubarby-ness. All the chaos.

1lb rhubarb, as ripe and red and beautiful as you can find
1/2 cup beer--i used a German lager, but i imagine stout would be good--ive used Crannog Ales Backhand of God to cook porridge in before and it is camping breakfast at its finest, but wouldn't be the jazziest with rhubarb...
1/2 cup apple cider, or juice, if you are feeling that is too much booze in one compote. in which case, you aren't quite understanding the chaos theme
honey or maple syrup or nothing at all, depending on your sweet tooth.

combine all in a cast iron pan (i read recently that your food absorbs iron from the pan, and you absorb it from your food which is super neat because i am super anemic right now....can you be "super" anemic, or is that implied...side note) and cook over low heat, uncovered, until the rhubarb is just tender.

Serve on oats/yoghurt/pancakes/waffles/cake/icecream/toast/cheese, whatever vessel you've got, and feel free to jazz it up with vanilla bean as they do on GKS, or get fancy with a couple sprigs of thyme, a fresh bay leaf, or some classy cardamom pods, and choose your body language to express how passionate you are about it. I find simple, though, is best in the chaos--so a double fist pump will do.

Monday, April 28, 2014

and so it is

"it is what it is---its an 'is-ism.'" This was the phrase of the season at my last restaurant job, the English version of one of the many German phrases I learned while working there: sha-be-don (that's how it sounds, not how it is spelled...though it looks like shaw-be-done (and sounds like it too), which I think many of us can relate to, and also quite perfectly fits its general meaning...)--which roughly translates as "same shit different pile" or "im tired of it, and know exactly how to fix it, but am too tired to do anything about it" or "im tired of it, and know exactly how to fix it but I would rather have a whiskey" or "FML"...the latter is my current phrase-of-the-moment (switching from "well that's neat"-- the transition of which is quite indicative of my current state.) and is translated as the universe has more control over me than I do, Fuck.

I swore a lot at my last kitchen job. I still swear a lot in my own kitchen. Sometimes I swear while teaching yoga, just to get the uplifting and inspirational point across. Right? FML.

So here is my point: there has been ALOT in the last couple of weeks. ALOT. I taught/took 54 yoga classes (47 of which were at a hot yoga temperature of 90+ degrees) in 14 days. I moved from my dream bachelorette suite to my dream bachelorette suite with dreams of my dream bachelorette suite in another country. I had the most significant, grounding, assuring visit of my life with my ma while we visited by sista and my brostar-in law over easter (and watched just enough hockey to transform me into an uber-competitive, fist-pumping, superfreak), only to end up super sick before immersing myself in a 40 day yoga commitment. Then I drove M to the airport for Mexico, for 55-100 days...or so. And so it is.

And so it is that I am left with some space. A physical space currently filled with boxes of mostly cookbooks because once upon a time they held some significance in my chefing abilities. And intimately physical space that is still fighting off the congested, fatigued cold that hit me when I finally slowed down a bit to cheer on (egg on/threaten to fight...) my brother in laws hockey team's tournament, while recovering from way too much yoga sweat. A mental space currently immersed for the next 30 ish days in analyzing who I am/want to be as a single unit, and who I am/want to be as someone very much in love with someone who is gone for 55-100 days ish.

And so it is that I am very much in love. Perhaps more so than I thought. FML.

Or perhaps more so than I was allowing myself the space to think. Absence makes the heart go fonder? Sure. But it has been three days. Perhaps absence kicks the heart...hard. Forces it to connect to something greater than itself. Greater than self love. Greater than accepting what is for what it is, and opening itself to something that is quite a bit more than the same shit, a pile of something quite new, and quite real, and quite vulnerable for a whole lot of observation with so much clear space.

Well that's neat. I feel my phrase changing again. Because I know my life is rad. That I have much to be thankful for: friends who will read this and get it, readers who will read this and find a friend because they get it, things that make me check in (like discovering a number of memberships continually charging my visa while I continue to ignorantly not take advantage of such renewals--ie Netflix which, side note, I am going to watch the movie that the quoted and attached song is a part of the soundtrack before my card expires and memberships ceases--p.s if anyone needs shoes, FML I have been paying into Just Fab for 5 too many months...I now have store credit. neat....), and things that help me check out of all that I try to control; things that keep me present with what is. Things like love. And whiskey...