In Search of Lilacs

You know that feeling when you’re doing something really hard, when you’re challenging yourself, when you’re stepping out of your comfort zone?
That feeling when you have studied for weeks and weeks and weeks and your test is tomorrow and now there is just nothing to even think about because maybe you’ve studied everything you possibly can, or maybe you’re exhausted, but either way, you have to just let go and walk in to that room and pack your entire bag except your #2 pencil and open the booklet?
I’ve been living in that gap lately — continuing to run and leap at the Next Level. I don’t really know what it is, but I have some pretty good ideas of how to get there. They are involving all my strength to keep going keep pushing keep showing up when I want to quit or give up or take another nap. And how can I tell if I’m “not showing up” or if I’m taking care of myself by resting? How can I tell if I’m giving up or if I can’t actually do that without some sort of harm to myself?
These are questions I’m grappling with.
Meanwhile, it is high spring in the Bay Area. I got a sunburn this week, which is something I am usually very mindful of — turns out I burn easily, and am very affected by the heat. It’s taken me years now to adjust to the California sun, to say no to outdoor activities, to go into the shade even when the action is in the sun.
I haven’t been able to find any lilacs, though. They are quite rare here. Maybe they like to be farther north? I am used to bouquets of them, bushes of them with branches heaving under the weight of their heavy blossoms. They aren’t the kind of flower where passers-by stop to awe at their shape, but they do stun us with their smell: perfume and magic and stardust.
As a kid, I was taught never to pick flowers — except for lilacs. If you don’t harvest the lilac flowers, the dead bloom will stay there into the next season. But if you do, another flower will grow back in its place. This is what I was always taught.
They were special, personal, friends — almost like they wanted to be in homes, on dinner tables, on windowsills, rather than stay on their bush and drop their petals.
Maybe they are just good at adventuring, at going out of their comfort zone, at wanting to see more than the place from which they grew. Maybe they know they need a leap, but don’t have their own mobility, so they smell so good to encourage us with hands to take them.
Maybe that’s why I’m craving them so much during this mid-air free-fall leveling-up process of spring.
PS: Doing a really hard thing this weekend. If you think of me May 2-3-4, send a little sparkle my way. Will report back about leveling up.

Newsletter Poetry

the tender beauty

To me, spring seems ebullient but also fragile. This poem captured that sensation for me.

Form & Void

For him [the autistic child], everything is form.
—Jane Kessler
Glory be to God for dappled things…
All things counter, original, spare, strange….
—Gerard Manley Hopkins
The boy is blowing bubbles
with his mother, shimmering orbs
that glitter and dance
on the face of the lawn.
He prances after them, staring
with the deep mirror of his eyes
as they pop and disappear.
Flapping his arms, he chases them
toward the garden cosmos,
their mauve and lilac gowns
of silk voile waltzing
in the breeze.
He orbits around his mother
as she dips in her wand,
produces these baubles
from breath and film.
The glassy bubbles rise in a swirl
of pink and blue, a moment’s iridescence.
This is the only magic the mother can conjure;
she cannot help him talk or say his name.
But they can do this together,
blow bubbles on a breezy afternoon,
make a strand of hand-blown beads
to grace the throat of the lawn.
— Barbara Crooker, author of Selected Poems


Been there. Done that.

Sometimes it can be hard to crawl out of the cave after a long winter’s hibernation.
Not only because I am stiff and undernourished, having worked through all my fat stores over the winter (oh, if only that were true…read this interesting article on the metabolic winter we may be missing!).
But also, because I’m a bit jaded. I think I know what I’ll find once I step back out into the sun.
Been there. Done that.
Obviously, I am wrong, but how can I remind myself of that. How can I have a tangible scientific proof!
Well, self, here are just a few recent examples of when thought we knew everything, but didn’t:

  • A new organ human organ—the interstitium—is discovered in the body. A fluid filled mesh throughout the body may be the key to communication.
  • Beautiful trove of phantom quartz crystals laying in plain site, that is if you happen to be a tree planter wandering through the British Columbia forest.
  • The quest to understand female ejaculate continues, with recent findings showing a mix of urine and PSA (prostatic-specific antigen).
  • The movements of the oceans are creating a 2nd magnetic force here on earth

So, self, get off your butt and crawl your way out into a world full of surprises.
Spring has sprung!
— Amy


Spring Cleaning?

Springtime, with the slow push of growth and the emergence of possibility, finds me eager to clean up and clean out. It is detox time.
Think broadly about detoxification with some inquiry. What have you taken in from your social, political or civic arena that you are hanging on to, do your cells need to revitalize, does your environment nourish you? Notice how you physically feel or if your lungs, or your skin, or your belly could use a tune up. Detox can vary from simple to rigorous.
Here are some examples of a detox:

  • Take a break from social media, cell phones, and the national news
  • Drink fresh green juice
  • Use a neti pot
  • Focused breathing exercises
  • Exercise in the woods

If you notice that it is time for a major cleanse, I suggest designing a cleanse for your particular needs. It is worth reading and rereading Chapter 8 (the Detox chapter) in Radical Healing by Rudolph Ballentine, MD.
Have fun.


Can you sense the pace of change?

Things are quickening, beginning the process of change and growth, starting to stir. We take collective note through Groundhog Day and Imbolc but, sometimes, it’s really hard to sense the ‘readying’. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the slowly evolving drama.
So take a look at the NOVA video and see all the many ways—pretty and grotesque—that plants unfold. As I watched, I could feel that very same process in my body.
Where are you moving out? Is that process of change perhaps a little less pretty than you thought it might be? I know it is for me, but that’s OK.
Watch and feel.