For my birthday last month, I was generously gifted with a one night stay at a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and two tickets to see this:
And oh my wow. Love is indeed the word. Josh (he was my lucky guest) and I took the road trip up there this weekend and watched the show on Saturday night. To say it was amazing doesn't do it any justice, and really, there isn't much that I can say that would. I will tell you that I came alive while watching it and that as soon as the energy of that performance erupted on stage, I was moved to tears. I totally get emotional when I watch things like this because of the raw, unbridled energy and talent. It completely moves me.
This show, no doubt, was one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed. It was positively brilliant and artistically beautiful. There was a pulse that moved throughout the evening full of creative wellness and high frequency. It was so FUN, with the music prodding every living being to bounce along or hum or sing out loud. There is something very inspiring and breathtaking about watching other human beings performing in mediums that they love and then watching that love explode into pure genius. And this type of performance is like seeing the height of the human body's potential being maximized to it's utmost experience. Totally extraordinary.
The stage production and the costume design...everything was just so intriguing and fun and bizarre. There was so much detail to take in and so much activity on stage that I just wanted to watch it all over again only 5 minutes after it was over. I was so bummed when it was over...and have been trying so hard to keep the memory of it clear in my mind.
What an experience, truly.
So, although I know that I won't be joining Cirque du Soleil anytime soon (although, I used to be able to do 17 back handsprings in a row...landing in the same spot on the trampoline over and over and over again. There was a girl who did that in this show. I could totally take her spot.), I was completely inspired and it made me remember how important it is to dream and to love wholly and to live fully and to always let out that great deal of magic that we all hold inside.
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.



If you can imagine the sound of a deep, heavy sigh being emptied from a very tired, worn thin mama...you are hearing me. Last night my body totally reacted from the stress that has been surrounding me for the past week. My body started feeling heavy, my mind cloudy, my energy completely depleted. As soon as Josh got home, I crashed on the bed and shut out the world around me. It was the only thing I could do as the heaviness turned into achiness, the cloudiness into a headache, and the depletion into extinction. I fell asleep without realizing that I had and woke up later in the night only to toss and turn and hurt from the pain that was centered in my hip flexors and glutes. It was a strange experience and a bit of forced stillness that was much needed.
We need to find stillness in this house. There is disorder all around us. Dishes are piled up as high as they can reach, toys are scattered, clothes are strewn about our floors, piles and piles of laundry wait to be washed. It seems that along with the uncertainty and unfamiliar that came with the experiences of the past week, also came a habit of disorder. It has been more difficult to discover calm than it has to just draw closer to chaos. It is as if we are finding comfort in the carriage of a rapid current...taking us nowhere and everywhere at the same time. There is no steady beat pulsing throughout our days...just random clanging and banging and moving and dancing. It isn't anything negative. We are spending time here and there and watching movies and coming undone. I can just hear this deep calling from the essence of this place that says, BE STILL. Come home and take root in your days.
I know that we will find center again and that the dishes will get done, as will the laundry. The clothes will be folded and put away. This house will reach it's regular semi-clean state. Dirty enough to make us comfortable, but clean enough to make us happy. I know that we will move the TV back into the garage and that we will fold the hide-a-way bed back into the couch. We will discover again the joy of quiet time and reading books. We will connect further with the backyard and with each other.
For now, it seems like we are all just drifting around in our own little worlds, a bit detached from one another and from the steadiness that we sometimes long for. Our behavior shows our hunger for it. I know it will come. I know that it can't be pushed or begged for and that it will slip back into the heartbeat of our days once again. Only to be lost and regained a million times more.
just a litte note:
(i started a new photography blog! i am really excited about getting some more experience and growing my creative self through this medium. take a looksie if you have a moment and let me know what you think!)
you can find me HERE!



chocolate-dripped-kisses for all your thoughts and love

Forrest is a fighter. He is still fighting. I don't know the exact nature of the virus, but to me it seems he has made it through the worst of it. Each day I have been hoping for the best...but Thursday really was the day I thought he would be leaving this place, and I was a bit hopeless. He hung in there and has s.l.o.w.l.y been gaining strength ever since. This morning, he even jumped up on my legs when I went to greet him with some water. It is the first day throughout all of this that I feel slight confidence in his survival. I believe he is a survivor.

It was certainly an exhausting few days for both of us (mostly him, I am sure) but also for me. It was tough in that I felt the weight of it in my heart and mind and the energy of death was very real and prevalent within our home. We were breathing it in and I was acutely aware of the fact that I may walk in to care for him only to find a lifeless body on the floor. It hasn't happened that way and it has really taught me so much of the co-existence of life and death and how sometimes, the notion of death breads fuller life. Forrest and I have developed a kinship through this and the experience has taught me so much thus far. I've learned, through an unfortunate experience with an unkind veterinarian, about the importance of living and working with compassion. The art of kindness turns worlds around by creating safety and shelter. There are certain people who make it their priority to bring out the best in people and situations. This only serves to better this planet and the individual experiences of all of us who inhabit it. My heart was taken to new levels of understanding the urgency and the hunger for revolutions in kindness. It makes every bit of difference between feeling alone and scared OR surrounded and supported. Forrest has been surrounded with love and I have been supported through the trial of caring for such declining health.

These past few days have brought a lot of mindfulness for me. I would reach to turn on the porch light outside when night fell, something I habitually do for Forrest in the evening...only to remind myself that he isn't out there. I would feel sadness for a split second and then remember that he is down the hall in a cozy space, resting his healing body. I found myself sad at the fact that we could leave our toys scattered all over the yard, knowing that Forrest wouldn't rip them apart. I would much rather him feel like himself than not. It is funny how we think of what we would miss and how things might change without the presence of a life we have grown accustomed to and loved. There were a lot of lingering empty spaces with thought of him not pulling through.

It is with a lighter heart that I write a sincere thank you for all your kind words and support. These little lives sure do take up a whole lot of space in our hearts, don't they? We are very slowly graduating towards a bit of consistency and, in turn, experiencing more of our natural rhythm. For some reason it feels like we have been somewhat debilitated and it is going to take a few days to get some kick in our step again. Resting in the solidity of each other's love sounds like a great plan to me at the moment..

A big hearty thank you for all the ways you have shown you care!


we need love

Death whispers lightly in my ear as I look on at the lingering life inside this sweet little soul of a pup. We've been told that Forrest has Parvo. He is extremely sick, depressed and overall not doing well at all. We've taken him to two different vets, with the first being an extremely lonely and hurtful experience in the midst of needed tenderness. We rested in the comfort and love of the second one, knowing that they would be doing everything they could to help him survive. He is home with us after getting a dose of subcutaneous fluids, some medication and vitamins. We will be going in again tomorrow, if all goes well tonight, to receive the same treatment once again. I've been doing all that I can to help him through this and I feel completely helpless. We are giving him fluids every so often through a syringe and cleaning up after his accidents. I tried giving him his oral medication but it came right back out. I am exhausted from emotion and mental exercise. I wish I could do more and I can't. Please keep sweet Forrest in your hearts. I keep telling him that there are so many more things to see and that we won't get mad at him for taking our underwear in the yard or chewing our toys apart...if he could just pull through. I am making promises to take him to the river and romp in the water. But, I also let him know that if he needs to go...he can. We understand and we love him for how he has made our hearts grow. He teaches me now in these hours, of how important it is to love those in my heart as if they are dying. Because really, if we think about it clearly, we are...right alongside all of the living.
I am holding great hope in my heart for many more days with Forrest and his exuberance.


claiming my own

For you who have formed me into "mother", I am in serious gratitude. For your laughter and eyes and everything in between that makes up the magical concoctions of YOU. I swoon over your stories and play bear hugs with your essence.
Keep teaching me little ones. I am so eager to learn.
The house is quiet this morning as Josh took the children on a secret adventure to the store. I was laying in bed, turning thoughts of motherhood over like the pages of a good book. Holding each thought in hand and moving it forward in anticipation of what is to come, yet holding it tightly with memory of what has been. Somehow sewing this moment into the spirit of the past and the faintness of what is yet to be. Coming into motherhood feels a lot like that to me. It is this territory like none other. A space that constantly requires fullness. I would have never imagined it to be what it is. I am glad I never really tried to imagine it in detail. For me, it just sprang up in my life like a jack-in-the-box. I found myself as "mother" long before I even considered what that meant. But slowly, I raised my own understanding...and with each passing moment, I form a deeper, more personal existence of what it means for ME. Sitting in my women's studies classes in college a few years ago, seeing the world in a new way and finally discovering a language for those values rooted in my core...my mind wasn't focused on what it would be like to mother a child. I might not have recognized myself had you painted a picture of what I would be doing a few years down the road. But yes, perhaps I would. I would take this space and treat it like any other accomplishment and aching I have. I would give it everything I have and I would do everything in my power to make it my own. I would claim motherhood and I would find my voice within it. I would use this space to teach children about equality and tolerance and community and peace and taking care of the great mother earth in all her abundance and beauty. I would do these things, not because I am a woman...not because I HAVE to...but because it is what I want my children to know and it is because I want to be able to look in their eyes and tell them I gave my fullness to showing them these principles.
I have a lot to figure out on this road. I have so much to learn and discover. The complexity of motherhood is constantly amazing me. Sometimes thrilling me, sometimes wearing me out but always making me move forward with my heart wide open...trying to be available for all that love. I hold space today for the mothers. For every "type" of mother there is...for our individual choices and styles...for the work we do inside and out of the home...for the big and small ways we give effort towards the children in this world and the planet we are to leave them with. I hold space for our differences and our similarities and the great truth that there is not one "right" choice. I hold space for choice. I hold space for all the women of this world and for our own unique ways of mothering...not always children but life and community and causes and ideas.
I honor these women. All of them.
happy, beautiful day.


dream on

i've been lost in some dream world...far, far away from everyone for the past few days. it has felt kind of nice, but i get frustrated when the demands of reality always bring me back into...well...reality. and, that seems to happen every 10 seconds or so. consequently, i gave up trying to STAY in dream world just as quickly as i entered it. but, i do find myself there whenever i can be. mostly it is a land filled with dreadlocks and "hippies" and gypsy travel and communes and renovated RV's...things that i love and ache for. something like this live lightly tour, is what has been beckoning me in. i would, in every bit of honesty, catch that bus in a second if i had the chance.
dreaming about it all has done me some great good though. because what does that mean "if i had" the chance. aren't i supposed to MAKE the chance...create it...work towards it...somehow bring some piece of it into my life, into this now? this year is holding a lot of transformation for me, i can sense it. i don't really think of it as "change"...because what i see is merely alignment. bringing it all together. "it" meaning what resides within me that has continuously shown itself to be important to my life. take dreads for example. i can remember discovering what dreads were back in junior high school and thinking "fabulous". those.are.fabulous. that opinion has carried on over all those years and within the last year or so...i have really started to question why i don't have them if i think they are so friggin' great? so. i am gearing up to make me some dreads. i think they're beautiful. i think they rock the funk...and something about the process of it all really appeals to me. although...i think it might be one of the more "patience required" kind of journey's i have ventured on. i have two kids...might as well throw in some dreads.
there's that. and there's so much more. and i see that this season in my life is all about bringing it all out into the open air to breathe and be seen and to say "HELLO...yes, i am a part of jessamyn's heart, always have been...it is so nice to meet you all after hibernating for so long!"
those of you who know me know things like this... things that are deemed "alternative" have always been what i am drawn to. (i resonate with several of the words sara, from walk slowly live wildly ,wrote in her may 6th post). inherent to my soul is the desire to be challenged to live ideals that speak worlds about love and consciousness and making things better. i have always known that i am attracted to ideals like peace, tolerance, sustainability, consciousness, community, love, and the like. i have always loved me some alternatives to what is mainstream and have always found "home" in challenging the status quo. i've been visiting thrift stores since junior high with my girlfriends and that is the same time i fell in love with vinyl records and the era of freedom. but it goes far beyond music and records... i like doing things a different way (for the most part)...and for the majority of my life...that might have been partly due to it just being "different". But now, as an adult, as a mama especially...i am learning that i am drawn to doing things a little differently for more important reasons. because, more often than not, the alternative to doing it differently doesn't seem to jive in my heart. it doesn't fit. it doesn't feel like it works.
sometimes, i try to make it work because that seems to be what makes the most "sense". but...living that way doesn't kick the hunger for whatever it was i wanted to do in the first place. i get called into this dream world consistently. and for me, i am realizing how much happier of a person i am when that world isn't more dreamy than it is real. the steps i make in my life (cause we all gotta go SOMEwhere, don't we?)...aren't "changes" that overwhelm me...but rather alignment that brings me to center. right where i belong. and "center" usually means somehow staying on the bridge and holding space for all of me...contradictions and all. holding space so that it is no longer about being either "alternative" or not...it is just about what IS and what I know to feel good for my own kind of livin'.
i'm going to be sharing some of those steps, i am sure, along the way as i seem to do...and some of them i may just be living without writing much about.
i am a gal who likes to dream. but i like living the dreams (when I can) even more.
let's go live on!


weekend view

On Sunday, we took a jaunt out the to Greek Festival to see what was stewing. It was fun. We didn't do much more than walk around and smell the gyros cooking. There was a little side section set up for children with lots of rides. Asher and Journey got to slide down the massive fun slide (actually, we ALL did that one) and jump around in the bouncy castle madness. Every ounce of shade provided by the trees was being fully occupied by each person there. It was a warm one!
Today has turned out to be quite the opposite of a fun filled day outdoors. The stomach flu bug that has been floating around has taken up residence with little Asher. We are laying low, reading lots of books and, when the moment is just right, quietly looking for bugs outside.
The next few days are sure to be full of dirty bed sheets, collections of Popsicle sticks, and lots of cuddles.
My hope that you are feeling healthy...
perhaps even enjoying a lively cinco de mayo!!


bending, seeing grey and praising gentleness

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine today. We were talking about the constant struggle existing to find balance between living in accordance with our convictions while remaining flexible to situations and "life". Sometimes, when we have something particular in mind we would like to be adhering to...opportunities magically show up that teach us a bit about flexibility and the truth of impermanence. I've been having an internal dialogue about all of that for quite a while now in my own life. Feeling, a lot of times, that I forgo certain values to better flow with the world around me. Or that, I don't properly surround myself with the support that I need but don't always accept. Sometimes, it all works out smoothly and I can walk away from that experience unscathed or scarred from the bending. Today, for example, I "bent" somewhat on one of my intentions that I happened to list the other day. Knowing that the words that I wrote are to be used as guiding principles, I gave myself the freedom of making an alternate decision about something after I realized how it actually would be helping a loved one and that I wouldn't be creating more harm in doing so. I was able to bend and not break...to see the situation from different angles and to make decisions based on various principles. And then, of course...there are other situations where you feel that the bending has actually hurt you. There might be some strained muscle from the constant pulling and pushing and you think "my! How nice it would be just to stick myself in the mud and not move!". Especially, I think, when we start coming into our own more...into our own values and beliefs and preference of things...this is when we are especially challenged with flexibility and bending. I have been thinking about how sometimes I let other people's opinions' echo a little too loudly in my mind. Or, I make up opinions for other people and I construct a story of how those very "opinions" feel restricting and limiting to me. And then...I start getting claustrophobia from the word "opinion" and I start to retreat from the whole issue altogether.
It's a very strange process. I was really happy to have it brought up in conversation this morning. I was able to look at different experiences and detach a bit from the opinion factor and the insecurity of other people's opinions. I seemed to reach this valuable place of acknowledging...if we could just always give each other space for being who we are in the MOMENT and allowing for our opinions to change or stay the same. If we could just see the grey. The balance might be a lot more accessible. Plus, I think we would be a lot more gentle along the way...don't you think?


pretty shoes and Lenny Kravitz

I just found Asher determined and digging through the costume trunk with a pair of cow boots already on the wrong feet. He was searching for the missing partner to the dazzling Dorothy shoe that he so adamantly was wanting Journey to wear. I asked what he was up to.
"We are putting on our pretty shoes and we are going...DANCING!"
The perfect dancing music for this moment? The mood most surely called for a "Love Revolution".
Now...go put on your pretty shoes and dance!



I've tried to find this common theme in the core of my longings and intentions in regards to what I "want" out of life. I have tried to encourage my perspective into gathering all the scattered randomness and tying it together with one big shared ribbon of common ground. What does that ribbon look like? I think it has something to do with mindfulness. Mindfulness can share space with my longing for creative living, my longing for simple living, my longing for gentle, patient parenting, my longing for making a difference, my longing for activism and social change, my longing for adventure and experience...my longing for bringing it all into my reality on a day to day basis. Mindfulness might certainly be the essence of that ribbon that ties together the bits and pieces of my heart. Without mindfulness...all of these things would just be out THERE...floating, dancing on a breeze, never making it into the care of my spirit. Without mindfulness, I would only be reaching for them...and never living them.
In mindfulness, I have conceived a set of guiding principles that I would like to set in place for one full year in an effort to bring more of my value system out a bit further into the everyday moments of living. I'm setting them with gentleness, as an intention with this is to create greater quality of life within my own self. If I beat myself up about it all to the point of making myself grumpy...that is totally beside the point. So, I make room for being human, for being me, for messing up. I also hold all of it with determination and commitment as well and wish to be loyal to my efforts. I was going to list only the new habits that I am bringing in to my life, but I thought it would be good to also list those that I have already adjusted to as habit (which can always use some re-commitment to anyways). Some people call this living the "compact"...some people call it voluntary simplicity...I also think it falls under a category of mindful living. I've come to realize that, while my intentions are always in the right place in terms of the environment, I don't always take the steps that I know I can. In reference to some words written by No Impact Man, I most certainly tend to be a person who cries about the condition of the polar bears in the poles while sitting in the comfort of my air conditioned living room. That brings a whole lot of frustration into my world, because, while I might not be able to do EVERYTHING...I can do what I know will help. And that might just be a ticket to the somewhere "better" I often imagine. Regardless of the outcome, I know that I will learn quite a bit along the way about what I am capable of and what I am incapable of and how it all effects my quality of life and the quality of life around me.
And so, here is the beginning draft of some open-ended habits that I will be encouraging into my life out of the desire to live healthfully, mindfully and gently with the earth.
1.I will begin walking or biking to anywhere I need to go that lies within a one mile radius of our home.
2. I will only buy what is needed...ie, cleaning products, self-care products, etc... The exception to this is when materials for homemade projects, art projects and learning tools are needed...and even then, I will buy used when I can. I make this exception because I believe those things enhance the quality of our life and excluding them would make me really frustrated...thus, defeating the purpose.
3. If there is something that needs to be bought...I will buy second hand through eBay, craig's list, thrift stores, antiques or etsy...gotta love etsy.
4. I will donate all items that we no longer need or use to local charity organizations.
5. I will be buying whole, local foods with the desire to eat only what is in season.
6. I will use cloth bags for all shopping purposes.
7. I will refrain from eating "out" when it is possible to make or bring something from home.
8. I will minimize water use...taking less frequent showers (well...I have that one down pat..hee hee!) and flushing less often. I will also do my best to collect water that is being waited on to "warm up" and use that water for the plants.
9. I am going veg! The healthiest I think I ever felt was in college for the nearly two years that I ate vegetarian...so, I have selfish reasons for this one!
10. I will use a laundry line to dry clothing when possible.
11. I will begin a compost pile and begin growing some of our own herbs and vegetables. This one will be implemented when we move into a different home.
12. I will use the library more often and buy books less. This one is particularly challenging for me as I love to write all over my books with side notes and doodled thoughts as I read along. Although I already buy used books...I think this would be one more way to reduce.
13. I will switch from using paper towels to using cloth napkins for meals and washcloths for cleaning. I do have a stash of paper towels in my garage, and I will be using these until they are gone, with no intention to buy more.
14. I will begin using ONLY cloth diapers (even at night and on-the-go). This requires me purchasing a new size of diapers and that is not feasible until two weeks. Until then, I will use the cloth diapers I do have as well as using up the stash of disposables I have.
15. I will buy grains, pastas, nuts, etc from bulk as to minimize my purchase of unnecessary packaging. With this in mind...I will be extremely limiting my purchase of processed and packaged foods.
16. I will use refillable cups whenever I go to coffee shops or the like for something to sip!
17. I will be proactively looking for ways to volunteer in the community through acts of service concerning the environment and the wellness of her inhabitants.
18. I will be moving our TV out into the garage. This act has many purposes and is most certainly one that I am both delighted about and nervous for!!
The idea behind all of this is to significantly reduce my consumption as well as my trash accumulation. I want to indeed stress to myself the importance of reducing and reusing before recycling...so that there is less to actually go in the bin in the first place. I think that by following these guides for living, I will be able to draw the connection between each of my desires as being all a part of something wonderfully alive and forward moving. I really crave being a part of something igniting, challenging and that which contributes in the most positive of ways to the betterment of myself, my community and the world at large. My greatest hope in setting these goals for myself is that I will see myself and this tiny bit of commitment evolve into something that furthers my own expansion and wellness. I think that by taking these feasible steps...I will see that it helps me connect further with my own creative nature, my earthly nature, my mindful nature, my spiritual nature and the gentleness that resides in all of those.
There is so much unbiased information out there, grounded in scientific discovery , telling us that there is a NEED for change.
I know that these efforts aren't record breaking, astounding leaps...but they are what I know I can do at the moment and I am most confident that they will lead me to take further steps. As for now, as for these things that I have brainstormed for my own life...if not now, then when? If not me, then who?
I keep reaching. And by the way...I know that I have probably left out some very basic, general eco-friendly practices. If you have some on your mind, feel free to leave them in the comment section! Thanks so very much.