In my perfect world, the world I’d like to create for myself because I am an almighty god person who can mold her environment to her every whim, I get to spend all my work hours writing about things that mean something to me. And “all my work hours” cap out at about three or four hours a day.  All the hours that come after that get to be spent picking cherries in a sunlit orchard or something. My time is mostly spent having adventures with my favorite people and taking care of my family, including one or two moderately well-behaved children. Living life, then turning around and writing about it.

What trips me up is what I think I need to get this life. As I dive into the How To Make Amber’s Dream a Real World Thing, I enter an uncomfortable space. To get a book published you need x, where x = brilliant idea or ready-made audience of a hundred thousand or some unspecified brand of magic. To get an essay published somewhere people have heard of, you need to have a book published. To make money at any of this you have to be a wizard of many disciplines, and my brain has mastered only whimsy and baby animals. I build up insurmountable roadblocks in my head until I wind up going in aimless circles.

I don’t have a clear roadmap and that makes me uncomfortable. Even with roadmaps, I tend to get lost. Even the omniscient voice of the GPS deity can’t account for every variable and all it takes is one off-kilter message to send me twenty minutes out of my way on a ten minute trip.

What I want to do comes from a good place – writing brings me joy and helps me learn more about myself in the world. I want my writing to help me feel more love – for myself, my people, and the world; and I hope it does so for others as well.  I want to transcribe my soul so that maybe people can learn to see theirs in a new way. It’s a little grandiose, but hey, if you don’t hand yourself a purpose, who will?

I don’t like posting this. I don’t feel comfortable saying, “I want to be published. I want to write books that sell to a lot of people. No, more people than that. Just go ahead and double the most outrageous number you can think of. That’s what I want. So I can write a few hours a day and spend the rest of my time with my family.” Because to this day – despite my belief that if you really want something, you have the capacity to get it, despite what I would say to anyone else who approached me with this problem – I still think, “Who am I to want that? Who am I to think about getting that, when so many other people want that too?”

When I think about Publishing and Audience Building and All The Things You Need To Make That Life Happen, I just want to open my closet door, arrange my shoes and sweaters into a nest, and curl up in the dark for a week or two. I stop writing and start focusing on what I think I need to do in order to write. Which doesn’t make any sense.

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So I have to trust. Trust that my work will find its people and its place. Trust that I can live the way I want to live and spend my time doing what I want to do. When I twist it up in my head because I don’t know how to make it happen and spend my time worrying and not doing, I learn what trust is. Trusting that the path leads where I want it to go even though I don’t know what that path looks like.

What I want is actually contained in a very simple process – create and share. Create and share. Write, finish, ship, repeat. No matter what the fear in my head sounds like, the answer remains the same. Meaning, the more I write and the less I tangle myself up in what it feels like I have to do, the happier I am. Because writing is all I ever wanted to do in the first place.

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A New Frequency

July 16, 2014

Most of my writing is heavily influenced by my brain. It’s for me. It goes up on a public domain, but it’s for me to process my stories, my life, my sometimes incomprehensible emotional space. I write to discover how I feel. To discover what I need. To discover what pieces of my psyche require attention. To find out who feels the way I do, especially when the feelings make me wonder if I’m all alone out here. That’s what writing is for me – healing, comfort, connection.

But this new kind of writing works differently. Writing this way is like tuning my brain to another station, another frequency. Instead of mining my thoughts and history for patterns and clever ways to share them, I have to abandon my brain altogether. Blank it out and listen to something else, something bigger, something brighter. Channeled writing requires listening to you.

If you’ve found your way here, you’re probably extraordinarily sensitive in some way – to yourself, to other people and all their moods, energy, emotions. You may walk into a room and feel bowled over by the power of all the other humans in your immediate vicinity. I spent a lot of years doing my damnedest to block all that out so I could function in the world. But now I’m learning to relate to it in a different way. I want to be open to it, rather than walled off. I want to be able to access that energy, that power of feeling, in a new way. By treating this connection to everyone around me as a gift rather than a burden, my life feels happier, lighter, and I’m able to tap into my own feelings in a new way, a way that guides me rather than hinders me.

We all know what to do. We all know what we need. Every one of us carries all the love, perspective and wisdom to have the experience we want to have. But the world is big and scary and exhausting and many of us don’t know that part of us even exists, let alone where to find it and what to do with it when we get there. Our world doesn’t often value instinct and intuition. The part that nudges you to bring an umbrella in the morning – ignore that nudge and you get wet. The part that nudges you to leave a relationship – ignore that nudge and life gets progressively harder until something cracks and your life shatters.

The more I open up to my intuition, the more I can open up to yours too. When I turn my attention to myself, I can find what I need. Now, when I turn my attention toward you, I can also open up to what you need. Because what I need and what you need all comes from the same place – somewhere everyone can access. I’m learning to use that piece of me that I wanted to ignore for decades, the piece of me that I thought was making life harder, but may just make life infinitely easier. Because feeling what others feel, even when it’s draining, can be a great gift.  It reminds me that none of us are alone. Different stories, same experience. 

Emotions are our most profound guidance system – they will unerringly point us toward what we need. We just need to learn how to interpret the message. It’s like learning another language. After spending years being buffeted around by my emotions before getting heartily sick of it and learning to interpret them, I’ve chiseled my own Rosetta Stone of feelings.

Now that my emotional space is clearer than it’s ever been, I can find that different frequency. The interpretation is simple, as long as I keep my brain out of the way. I think of this new writing as transcribing what your soul wants you to know, in this moment.

I think of it as a love letter from your soul. 

If you asked for one of these way back in March and haven’t received it yet, I promise I haven’t forgotten you. This particular learning curve has been a roller coaster and I’m still working my way through the list. If you didn’t and you’d like to be my guinea pig as I practice with this, leave me a comment or send an email. 

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The more I take care of myself, the more I see that self-care is the golden ticket.

On June 11, I declared it Be Nice To Amber month. Because I enjoy making grand pronouncements that don’t mean anything to anyone but me. I encourage you to try it – bonus points awarded for grand proclamations made while wearing a paper crown and wielding a scepter made out of a broom and tin foil.

In the past, these types of pronouncements have required massive lists of things I probably wasn’t going to do, so that I could feel good and terrible when half of it didn’t happen. This time, I just set the intention. I was going to be kind to myself, deeply kind, in a way I’ve rarely been – whatever that ended up meaning.

Here’s What That Ended Up Meaning

Listed here because one of my favorite things on the internet is reading about what other people do and how it works for them – and maybe you like reading about that too. 

Not Dating: Dating stopped making me happy, so I stopped dating. Easy. When I stopped dating the way we date these days – constantly prodding my dating apps and spending my days in a daze of hopeful despair over some random guy or another – I started feeling good again. Like all the pieces of my power and self-worth that went on vacation with Hot Guys #1-27 could come back to me. Like I could go about my life feeling whole and happy and not wondering if Hot Guy #16 – that day’s favorite – was going to text me back. The energy that brand of dating sucked away from my work and my life and what truly makes me happy was immeasurable. I’m becoming very aware of the energy leaks in my life, and dating is a leach (and a leech – hi, fellow word nerds!) that’s simply not worth it. Besides, the internet isn’t the only delivery system for a mate. Certainly not when you’re poking at it like a cocaine-addled lab rat in search of its next hit.

Stopping with the List Making: My lists expand into any media on which you can write words. I have lists on my phone, lists on my computer, lists on paper, lists on post-it notes, lists in my head. My lists have lists. This is exhausting. Draining. Lists are the Dementors of my life. So I gave them up – trusting myself to know what I had to do and trusting myself to actually do it. My happiness quotient jumped by a factor of a zillion. I would nap when I needed to nap, write when I had something to write about, work when it was time to work. Easy.

(Note: I started panicking and making lists again a few days ago. The lists are far lighter and more realistic than they used to be, but I can still feel them pulsing in the corner of the room, ready to suck out my soul at the first misstep. I’m thinking about walking over and ripping them up. Obviously, my relationship with lists is still in process.)

13 Minutes a Day Toward a Personal Project: Just enough time to get something done, but not so much time that you stress out about it. I always feel better when I’m working on the thing that’s been squatting in the back of my brain for a year, throwing a bottle at my skull every so often to remind me that it exists. Not ignoring projects > ignoring projects.

Real Food: This one isn’t so unexpected – I’ve known for years that if I eat more veggies and fruit and 90% less processed stuff, I feel better. More energy, more mental clarity, no worry about stuffing my thighs into denim tubes. But sometimes life happens and suddenly you’re eating pancakes made with chocolate milk three times a week. When I started taking care of myself – looking at what truly makes me feel good and give me energy and what doesn’t – the shift back to eating things that grow in the ground was effortless.

Bye, Bye Black Beans: Giving up coffee, yo. In all the dietary changes I’ve made over the last four years, in all their rises and falls, coffee is the one thing I could never bear to abandon. But suddenly I just didn’t want it any more. When I experimented a bit, I realized that it fuzzes me out in a way that stunts my creativity and my connection. Nope.

Yoga with Candles: God, I’m such a girl. But Lanny told me about the Yoga Download app and instead of watching episodes of Frasier until I fall I asleep, I’ve been doing 20 minutes of yoga before I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning. My spine sounds less like bubble wrap being stepped on and my rest is better. 

No Glowing Boxes Before Bed: Yeah, yeah. Everyone tells you this and I’ve always meant to do it. Really, I have. But there’s something so comforting about sleeping with your phone right next to your head, isn’t there? But then I wake up in the morning and instead of getting up to be a productive, happy human, I start jabbing at my phone with my index finger and then I’ve been in bed an extra hour for no good reason. Yoga cured me of sleeping with my phone like a teddy bear. After I’m all stretchy and glowing, the last thing I want to do is turn on the blare of a screen.

One Decadent Thing a Week: Massage. New running clothes to replace the hand-me-downs and ancient t-shirts. Reading Harry Potter on the deck with a peach. Decadent doesn’t have to mean expensive – though in the case of the running clothes that’s precisely what it means. (Being adorable during exercise does not come cheap, it seems.) It just means something I wouldn’t ordinarily do for myself. Something I really, really like.

With every passing day, I feel better and more whole and like I am worthy of the fundamentals that I believe everyone deserves: work they adore, enough money to live the life they want (it’s just lucky that I don’t want a tiger on a gold leash*), a home that nurtures them, and to feel and radiate love every damn day. It all rolled out naturally, born of a desire to be good to myself in a real way. Deeply kind, not “I want to do this thing so now I’m going to do it because that’s being nice to myself, right?”

* On second thought, A TIGER ON A GOLD LEASH SOUNDS AMAZING. Sign me up for that too.

My Be Nice To Amber month ends on July 11. Which also happens to be my birthday, if you happen to have a baby giraffe to unload. (Please note: Now accepting deliveries of baby giraffes.) All of this has changed the way I feel so significantly that I’m going to keep right on doing it. Especially that part about the massages.

I’ve taken care of parts of myself in the past. But I’ve rarely taken care of all of me – mind, body, spirit, emotions – all at the same time. This month, I’ve been happier, I’ve gotten more and better work done, the brain hamsters are all asleep in their hammocks, and I feel energized and peaceful. Well, okay then.

Your Turn 

What’s the nicest, most deeply kind thing you could do for yourself right now?

You don’t have to answer here – although I’d love to know what your answer is – but give it a few minutes of thought. It’s shifted so much for me in just one month that I want to walk up to people on the street and shake them and yell, “ARE YOU BEING NICE TO YOURSELF? IT HELPS! IT REALLY, REALLY HELPS!” Maybe while wearing a tin foil crown and riding a baby giraffe.

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Fairies Welcome

June 26, 2014

If your life needs some magic, may I recommend a five-year-old?

You don’t necessarily need to birth and raise this five-year-old. You can simply invite one over for an afternoon. Cheaper, faster, and far less mess.

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Wombat and his father.

Take a five-year-old to a redwood grove near your house and he will discover a gate in a chain link fence, a gate you never saw, despite multiple trips to this exact spot. Walk through the gate and you’ll find a path under ancient trees. Follow the path and you’ll find a hobbit door.

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Walk through the hobbit door and you’ll find a place you thought only existed in Victorian children’s literature. A secret garden. A Narnia, once summer beats back the ice. A babbling brook winds under the redwoods, with bridges leading to giant mushrooms and dinosaur ferns and wooden benches surrounded by riots of violets. Sun filters through the leaves to hit the flowers and warm the water. It’s perfect.

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Knowing it exists in the world means you can walk there almost every day – and I do.

Once you return home from your adventure to feast on potato chips, you realize how small your house is, when filled with a family of four. One room, with a bed under the eaves, a tiny kitchen at the back and enough seating for three people, if you pull the chair off the deck. So the children will occupy themselves by jumping merrily on the bed, tiny faces smashing themselves into your pillows as they hurtle themselves through a profound experimentation in the rules of gravity.

Soon the eldest will notice a small pink and green bowl on a stack of books. In the bowl are two tiny pink silk pillows, one labeled “create” and the other “joy.” He’ll arrange the pillows, find a cloth your mother used to wear around her hair in the ’70s, and tuck it in with the pillows. He’ll add a sparkly multifaceted ring from the cup of jewelry in the bathroom and, as the crowning touch, a potato chip. This, he tells you, is a fairy bed. The sparkles to attract and the potato chip to entice closer.

The next morning, after they’re gone, when you’re prosaically clearing away the potato chip because ants, you’ll look up. Etched into the window, above this tiny bed, is a fairy wing.

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Magic.

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Let it hurt. Because the more you feel it now, the less you’ll feel it later. Keep breathing. Keep air cycling through your lungs and let that breath reaffirm your life when you feel like you want to die. Care for yourself physically when your emotions are battered and exhausted. Drink water, nap, exercise out the pain and the anger. Keep breathing. Keep feeling. Care for yourself the way you would care for a wounded pet or a beloved child. Know that the shattering of something you wanted is clearing the way for something more, something better. Not a better person but a better fit, a better match. 

Know that you are loved, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Yes, your heart has been tossed onto the funeral pyre to go up in flames, but the old heart must disintegrate before a new heart can be born.

If you feel like your heart is a blackened, charred cinder of nothing in your chest – congratulations. You tried. You opened up. You exposed your tender bits and even though it feels like a tiger just ripped out your jugular – you won. Because you were brave. Because the only people who find victory are the ones who are also open to taking a beating. Letting someone near your tender, easily bruised heart is the ultimate act of courage.

So lick your wounds and keep letting those emotions rise to the surface because the power of that hurt, that anger, will keep walls from forming, will keep the arteries to your heart from hardening. That means that when the time is right and the person is right, you will get what you always wanted. 

Trust that whatever happens is leading you toward something better, something more suited, something more beautiful. The old and broken must dissolve before the new can sidle in. If you feel that you are the one who’s old and broken, allow that to disintegrate too. Because you are as whole and perfect now as you were on the day you were born.

Yes, you loved that person, for their beauty, their foibles, their unique humanness. Of course you did. But they were not the source of that love you felt, they were only its mirror. That love came from you, when you decided to focus it on them and their beauty, their foibles, their unique humanness. Once you’ve grieved and felt all the painful things we’d prefer not to feel, once you’ve realized that feeling those feelings makes the feelings dissipate, even if it takes longer than you’d like – that’s when you can open up again to the next gorgeous, foible-filled human who catches the strings of your heart.

Love is not limited to one person, one life, one source. Begin to feel love in everything that surrounds you – a home you love, a pet you adore, books that make you happy, the movement of the leaves in the trees. It’s everywhere and the more you see it, the more it will find you. Because you were born to be loved and that love surrounds you, even now.

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X = Me

June 18, 2014

Solving for x is astonishingly easy, as it happens.

If I am the x factor, then the x factor is me.

Simple, right? Almost brutally so.

What’s particularly brutal is that I’ve known this for years. My brain understood. People told me, books told me, my reasoning skills parsed it out. But just because you understand something doesn’t mean you know it. Just because you know something is true doesn’t mean your heart or your emotions have any idea what that big gray lump in your skull is prattling on about.

I am the x factor. Not because I’m the reason dating hasn’t worked, but because I need to focus my attention on me.

If I am the x factor, that means I get to put all of my time and attention into things that make me happy, instead of going out on first date after first date in a time-consuming attempt to play the numbers and manipulate the system into giving me what I want. I get to put my energy into what feeds me on a deep level, rather than spending my time trying to create some safe, loving space for someone else because I thought that if I make them feel loved, they’ll make me feel loved.

Pro tip: That doesn’t work.

Trying to force people to feel something – even if it’s something we all want to give and experience – is a really bad bet. Good intentions, poor execution. People can feel it when you’re coming from a place of need, rather than a place of “here, I have so much that I would like to share it with you.” I can’t name that place because I haven’t found it on the map yet. I’m still looking.

In my efforts to find me in this new map, I have claimed this month. All of it. All of it is mine, henceforth to be known as Be Nice To Amber month. You don’t have to be nice to me, but I have to be nice to me. Being nice to me means no dating. No online suitors, no constant checking of the apps, no wondering when he’s going to respond. Unless some epic romantic comedy kismet slams into me at the grocery store, I will go on not one single date. Instead, I will focus on what makes me happy, rather than on what someone else is thinking or feeling. A month of fixing up the hobbit hole and going to yoga and reading Harry Potter in the fairy garden that was recently discovered near my house. A month of less caffeine and no self-recrimination. A month of things I rarely allow myself, like manicures and chocolate bars* and afternoons at the beach.

* Lies. I always allow myself chocolate bars.

My month began on June 11 and will end on July 11, my 36th birthday. Everything feels better already. Lighter, clearer, like I’m more me than I have been in a long time.

Maybe the best way to date is not to date at all.

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Solve for X

June 16, 2014

In five years, no one I’ve dated has lasted longer than six weeks. They slide out of my life like water down a windshield, droplets that leave shadows of themselves behind long after the liquid has evaporated. I am romantic teflon. 

My brain looks for patterns, because that’s what brains do. 

I sleep with them too soon and they disappear. I show too much emotion and they disappear. I ask for something and they disappear. I try to deepen what we have and they disappear. 

I am the x factor in all my relationships. Since I’m the only common denominator in my experience, I need to figure it out.

Solve for x.

But solving for x feels heavy, exhausting, full of self-recrimination. If not full-on existential despair than at least a solid dose of melodrama.

But when you want something enough, you will brave what you’d rather avoid. So I dig through the layers, sorting through my psyche and its tender bits like I sort through my books, hauling some to Goodwill but picking most of them up and then putting them back down again, not sure if I still need them. Maybe this book will help me some day. Maybe this book will be the answer to a problem. Maybe this was meant to be mine. So I continue to haul heavy boxes of books between apartments like I drag along the ghosts of past relationships.

Solve for x.

I’m scared of losing myself.

I’m afraid I can’t have what I want.

I’m too much or not enough. Either way, I’m not right.

The specters of my past experiences continue to rise, lighter, gray like smoke instead of sticky black tar, but still rising: the idea that emotion will frighten people away, that communication will make everything go bad. The idea that I’m not enough. Or that I’m really just too much and who has time for that? Either way, I’m not right.

But then I begin to wonder if maybe I’m looking at the wrong piece of the equation. If I solve for x, I get a relationship with someone I adore. But maybe I need to be solving the equation that will lead me to myself, rather than to the idea of another.

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When you’re young, you’re made of titanium. You toss back six shots of tequila and bounce out of bed the next morning. You run ten miles on a whim without strategic retribution from your hamstrings. You believe everyone around you is similarly immortal. But as you get older, that sunny surety of triumph begins to fray. You notice your parents aging. Maybe a friend has died – before their time, a tragedy – and it begins to dawn on you that none of us are long for this world.

As you watch your father die – before his time, a tragedy – you learn that maybe it isn’t such a bad thing. That maybe everyone has their own time and space to occupy and all you can do is make it worthwhile.

1. When in doubt, lie on the ground. The ground is always there for you. It holds up your house and your car and your favorite coffee shop. It catches things you drop. When death happens, the ground beneath your feet will be your best support. Go outside and lie in the grass beside the hospital parking lot, because it will soothe you in ways you didn’t expect. It will catch your overflowing emotions and your overflowing tears. The earth beneath your feet – or your back – is the ultimate support system that no one can take away from you.

2. People want to help. Doctors want to help, nurses want to help, friends want to help, family wants to help. All that stops them is the lack of time or not knowing what to do. Or possibly your furrowed, scowling brow. But feel free to furrow and scowl as needed – they’ll get over it.

3. Social media can be a life-line. When you’re trapped in a hospital room, sometimes all you have is that tiny computer phone in your pocket. Putting my last days with my father on Twitter is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It provided a record without relying on my memory – a memory that loses details like a sieve loses water – and it gave friends and family a way to check in and reach out.

4. Drugs are awesome. I didn’t get to try any – hospitals frown on that sort of thing – but the second they stopped poking and prodding at my dad and hooked him up to a giant bag of happy, everything got better. His personality, buried under pain for months, started to surface. His brain wasn’t there, but morphine allowed his heart to make a final appearance.

5. There’s no shame. No shame in buying fresh underwear from the nearest jcpenney because you have nothing clean. No shame in eating McDonald’s for breakfast every day. No shame in clipping a nurse with a paper airplane you throw over your father’s hospital bed.

6. Be selfish. Selfish is a dirty word, especially at hospital bedsides, traditionally recognized as excellent spots for sleepless martyrdom. But you can’t help anyone else unless you’ve already given yourself what you need. If you need to bail and go to New York for a month while managing things from afar, do that. If you need to sit with your father for ten minutes an hour and then spend the rest of the time roaming the halls, do that. Do jumping jacks in the hallway. Poke incessantly at your phone. Do anything that fills you up – it will keep you from hitting empty before your father does.

7. Crack yourself open like a lobster. There’s unlimited love out there and you get as much of it as you want. You just need to reach for it – by sharing your experience, appreciating the time with your family, letting your friends support you. Pain will shatter what you knew, but the wreckage can nurture something better. Opening yourself up when you’re destroyed allows an unexpected tsunami of love and support to pour into your soul and fill the cracks.

8. Trust the process. If your father is dying, allow that to be the right thing. Allow it to be what is best for him and best for your family, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Allow the path he’s on to be the right path.

9. You have more love and strength than you ever imagined. Waiting for a loved one to die will show you exactly what you’re made of. Sure, you may lose it and occasionally feel like what you’re made of is heaping tablespoons of crazy, but eventually you’ll drop down far enough to find that untapped well – and you’ll surprise yourself.

10. Lose your fear. You don’t need to cling to fear as if it’s a blanket that will keep you safe. It won’t. When the worst happens and you survive, you realize that the worst isn’t as bad as you imagined. Yes, it’s terrible. Yes, it’s heartbreaking. But there are so many beautiful, tangled bursts of light contained in those dark moments that you learn how deeply life will bolster you up, support you and cherish you, even as it tears things away.

Originally posted on Thought Catalog. Put here so I can edit incessantly, as is my wont. 

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My Hobbit Hole

May 12, 2014

I’ve become the Goldilocks of trashcans.

Two weeks ago, I moved into my new home. It’s a little cottage in Mill Valley, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. After years of being in and out of cities and in and out of storage units, finally settling down means everything must be perfect, including the garbage cans. It’s strangely hard to find just the right trash receptacle – you want it to do its job and fit in its corner. But I don’t want to buy something just to fill the space. I’m willing to wait for the right one. The right garbage can is important, you know.

When I first signed the lease and posted a picture on Facebook, Zach said, “I didn’t know they were still selling real estate in heaven.” Tracking down your own spot of heaven is a bit of a holy calling for most of us. My heaven apparently comes with skunks plotting on the deck and squirrels tap-dancing on the roof. The floor tilts a bit to the left. Spiders fall from the ceiling. Sun lights the deck in the afternoon. When I open the sliding glass doors, I can hear water rushing past rocks in the creek bed. My storage space rests under a treehouse. It’s like camping, but with my own mattress and internet access. It doesn’t have everything I was looking for – there’s no laundry or bath tub – but I’m learning to accept gifts as they come, without being too persnickety about checking off every box I concocted while dreaming of what I want next. So far, I’ve learned that I own too many books and that it is possible to coexist peacefully with many-legged insects. I see animals loving my home as much as I do as a good sign, even as I lose any and all remorse over killing ants.*

* All god’s creatures, my ass. Get out of my sink, ants.

I’ve always treated my apartments like way stations between me and whatever was next. For the first time, I want to build a home. A home with a trashcan that suits me perfectly, yellow rugs and mugs, a home with the few pieces of furniture I’ve collected and the books I love. I don’t know what my future looks like. Any wisdom I’ve gained over the years falls smack into the “give up on knowing what’s coming because life will surprise the hell out of you” category. I don’t know if I’ll be here for five months or five years. I do want to get married and have kids and, since I’m turning 36 in a few months, it would be nice if that was sooner rather than later. But I want to build my home as though I’ll be here for years – choosing things carefully, creating a space for myself, the kind of space that nurtures who I am and who I want to be, and looks pretty doing it. If I do up and move again soon, it will still be time well spent. Because this is a way of taking care of myself, of reminding myself that I’m worth the effort, even if it is just me. Especially if it’s just me.

Maybe this will be the last time I can create a home that’s all my own. If you have a family, apparently you sometimes have to let them choose things and, I don’t know, take their needs into account on occasion. So maybe this is the last time I get to enjoy being psycho perfectionist about trashcans and having everything precisely the way I want it. Maybe this is practice for building a beautiful, useful space for me and my family. Maybe this is creating the space that will nurture and support me for years to come. I just don’t know. So I will build it and trust that things will work out exactly as they should.

For now, home is a hobbit hole surrounded by redwoods and tucked into the curve of a babbling creek. Maybe it will be mine for mere months, maybe for years. But now is all we ever know for sure. So I will love it and care for it until it’s time to love and care for something else.

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This Is For You

April 8, 2014

You are loved. The same way you love your favorite song or your favorite book or that pet you adored with such fierceness that his death sent a hot poker through your core. You are loved that way. You are loved the way you want to be loved, the way you dream of being loved. But the love held for you is purer, deeper, more transcendent. New eyes are required to understand the way you are already loved.

It is everything you want and it’s already sitting there. Waiting for you to find it. Everyone has a different path to this love. Some people get lost on that path and find themselves tangled in the thickets. Some people blast through like Jedis on a mission. Some people take it slowly, gently and pause to rest. That’s what the rocks are for. You can blast through them or climb over them or simply sit on them for awhile.

There is no wrong way to approach a rock.

There is no wrong way to deal with a block in your path. You can sit down beside it and scratch poems in the dust. You can climb over it. You build yourself a catapult and hurl your body around it. You can approach the blocks in your path any way you choose. Just know that those blocks are part of your path. They’re part of why you’re here. Those blocks are here to teach you something new about yourself, to show you some way to love deeper. Those blocks are here to help you. So rejoice when you find one, because you are about to become a purer version of yourself. You may get lost for awhile and that’s okay. You’ll find your way back. You will get where you’re going, whether it takes you ten minutes or ten days or ten years.

There is nothing you can do wrong here. Everything you want is waiting for you. Everything you want is waiting for you to choose it. This is most true when you’re lost in the thickets and the brambles are tearing your skin and you want nothing more than peace. Accepting that you’re in the brambles – for now – will give you that peace. And show you where to find the matches. Set fire to the brambles. Launch yourself into the dream you hold for yourself.

We know that it’s aggravating to hear that you have everything you need. Because you’ve been taught otherwise. Your whole life, you’ve been taught otherwise. But nobody else has the something you need. They can guide you to your own knowledge. They can help you find your way. They can show you their roadmap or their stash of dynamite for the blocks and the brambles. But you are always your own best source. You have your own answers. You just have to allow yourself to find them.

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