Tag Archives: choose

This Family

each of us were chosen.
we are here
for someone in this room made
a sacred choice
so strong
life defined itself again
and a light was thrown in the sky.

when I look up tonight I see
the cosmos playing connect-the-dots
my star made from yours,
made from another’s before her.

the light goes so far we don’t even
know time
or if we are seeing something alive or dead.
these lightways between us
are portal veins
beating the drum of all time and life.

there is nothing you could do
or not do
that could ever unmake us.
if anyone has ever looked up and seen you
the miracle has happened.

the infinite light pile
of every small thought
in the history of ever
conspired to become the spark,
the kindness, the recognition
that became
you
and then you too were asked
what do you wish?

you are my family.
your light is close to mine
our wishes liquid neighbors
and if you look out the window forever
or sing your light into a new star,
if you dance
or crumble
or ride your wagon in circles
I will marvel
at your sweet sips of truth.

to me, the pulse of our unspeakable bigness
lives in your laugh

because
you are my family.
near star,
our sacred intersection,
blessed proximity
makes your lights
so much brighter
from here

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Filed under Big G., lisa goettel, poetry, writing

mind and heart talking

I do not understand my trust
and that is its nature

mind and faith cannot know each other fully
and that which cannot be known cannot be trusted fully

or, is it so?

The mind says:
Faith is another word for stupidity.

The heart says:
I have knowing that defies logic or reason.

The mind says:
You believe so you can sleep.

The heart says:
Wake with me.

The mind says:
We mean nothing. We are nothing. There is nothing. You are dust.

The heart says:
That’s something.

The mind says:
If you practiced – if you woke up and watched and were aware of everything, you would understand the universe. You would not need to believe.

The heart says:
In the moment before I die, I will not seek to understand. I will seek to love.

The mind says:
I keep you safe.

The heart says:
I fear nothing.

The mind says:
You are beautiful, you are brilliant.

The heart says:
(nothing. Shine.)

The mind says:
Who can I share this with, to make it more perfect?

The heart says:
There is no more perfection, than perfection.

The mind says:
Than why your longing? Always longing?

The heart says:
To evolve. The purpose of longing is evolution.

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Filed under Big G., lisa goettel, offerings

All Roads Lead to Rome (and Here)

I’m enjoying, or not, depending on the moment, a stunning lack of focus lately.  I’m feeling oh so resistant to making any choice that could limit my options.  I want it all.  And I’m discovering the irony in this… that this mentality keeps me from fully picking, doing or enjoying anything, really.

I’m reminded as I write this of a pep-talk note we got from author Janet Fitch during NaNoWriMo.  I’m going to go right now to look it up…  Here’s part of a story she shared with us about a huge writer’s block she ran into around Chapter 8 in her book White Oleander

“I just couldn’t decide what to do next.  I’d try this, try that, but each time I’d get stuck. The character would put her toe in and pull it out again. No, not that. Should  I just bag it? Write a different book? Go to law school? Watch reruns of Hogan’s Heroes? I was absolutely blocked at the crossroads.

Luckily I was seeing an amazing therapist at the time. I explained I was afraid that if I chose route 6, then I would be eliminating all the other possible routes. What if route 15 was better? Or 3 1/2 ? So I hedged. I couldn’t commit. I was stuck. And she gave me the piece of advice which has saved my writing life over and over again, and I will give it to you, absolutely free of charge. She said, ‘I know it feels like you have all these options and when you make a decision, you lose a world of possibilities. But the reality is, until you make a decision, you have nothing at all.'”

(Sigh.)

That’s it exactly.  Forget writer’s block.  I’m having people’s block.  (For the record, the word I really wanted to use was LIVEr’s block, as in one who lives.)

I see how this plays out in my day-to-day… because it does, alot. I’m a toe-dipper.  Which becomes a thin-spreader – or a spreader thinner… which leads to a bad case of overwhelm.  Or I become a masterful avoider.  Lying in bed for hours, dreamily playing out loads of reckless fantasies for my life in my head, but really I’m just lying in bed.  I’m a dreamer, avoider, procrastinator… which, by the way, also leads to a bad case of overwhelm.

IT’S TIME, Lisa. Time to step up and step out. Take the non-habitual road.  Pick something, and DO. You know creativity thrives in limitation, so create a framework.  Follow one of those lists you love making so much.  GO. Be in the world.  (This is being said by my loudspeaker voice.  Do you have this voice? The one that comes in behind your left ear and gives you the firm and clear answer to any question?)

Janet Finch advises fellow blocked writers to pick something that will make trouble for their character.  She writes, “Find the thing (your character) loves most and take it away from him. Find the thing he fears  and shove him shoulder deep into it. Find the person who is absolutely worst for him and have him delivered into that character’s hands. Have him make a choice which is absolutely wrong.”

This excites me. Anyone else up for getting into a little trouble?

Oh, and a framework.  I do love frameworks.  I found this on the blog of a friend of a friend.  Wanna play? Copy the bold and fill it in.  Ten minutes or less.

*i am annoyed by slow drivers who won’t pull over on the highway.
*i want it all.
*i have six billion ideas.
*i miss cuddling.
*i fear I won’t be able to say no if I say yes.
*i hear the furnace clicking, the solar batteries charging and the wind.
*i search for some imagined “right way”.
*i wonder what will happen if I just say, “screw it.”
*i regret not having more skill and self-awareness in my past relationships.
*i love big.
*i forgive you, if you were that slow driver on the highway.
*i ache for no-holds-barred connection.
*i always make my bed.
*i try to eat well and do yoga every day.
*i seem unapproachable when I’m being shy.
*i know this.
*i feel like walking to the beach today.
*i dance around my house naked.
*i dream of being independently wealthy. But
*i give all my money away when I have it.
*i listen carefully to everything you’re not saying.
*i sing all the time.
*i laugh till I cry sometimes.  I love that.
*i can’t believe it’s noon already.
*i write because I have to.
*i cry at every single therapy session. It’s annoying.
*i sleep like a rock.
*i am really happy about that.
*i see the sun!
*i need to clean the house.
*i should forever banish the word should from my vocabulary.

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Filed under invitations, life, lisa goettel, writing

Destination Perfection

It is 3:22am on a Saturday night/ Sunday morning and I am certain I am the luckiest girl alive.  Because luck does not look as one expects, I am learning. I did not win the lotto, or the cake walk at the the local fair today (thank heavens), but I am remembering, at this quiet, precious moment between days that the whole wide world has conspired in my favor. I cannot do any wrong thing.

My friend Paula Shaw’s raspy, dramatic, and always convincing voice often rings in my head, saying things like “Just go! All roads lead to Rome!” or “It’s hopeless. But not serious.” Today I’m reminded of her missile metaphor.  She explained that launched missiles, with all their technology and precision are almost never moving on target.  The only way a missile knows how to reach its destination is to move in that general direction, and when it’s far enough off course, it recognizes this and corrects.  So in fact, it is always moving in an ongoing zig zag, rather than some imagined perfect arc.

I am reassured by this. I can follow all my human little longings and mind trips and insecurities and hiccups down a river of sad or shame or give up… but even these rivers belong to life.  And life always takes its course in the direction of perfection.

Example A.

There are, let me check, 20 hours and 31 minutes left in National Novel Writing Month.  The official goal of this is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  An absurd and absolutely doable task, that more than 100,000 people in the world will accomplish this year.  I will not be one of them.  I am at just over 15,000 words, for a variety of reasons.  Namely, 1) my life is fuller than full, and 2) I cannot turn off my inner editor.

Fuller than full is pretty self-explanatory.  I have four jobs, have moved three times this month, had friends visit and competing priorities. The editor piece is interesting. With the exception of a few moments, I have successfully wrestled my inner critic into submission. (Woo!) However my internal editor (there is a big difference) and I have something of a love affair.  I love, love, love polishing as quickly as I create.  I have not yet found faith enough to follow the rough edges of the story unknown far into oblivion.  My editor chimes in at every turn and pulls me back into a course that feels “more inspiring” to follow and then my inner Taurus must go back and fix the story accordingly.  I knew this whole novel-writing business would be one big giant personal process.  I was right.

The great success here is that I am not beating myself up terribly for my un-winning. I have, in fact, altered the rules to fit suit my needs and am extending my personal deadline to the 1st of the year.  50,000 words in two months is fine with me.  And no, the slick little progress bar on the right there will not accommodate, so I will post my own word count updates there instead.  (And I do invite you to hold me to it.  Peer pressure can be used for good, you know.)

In sum: I aimed high and decided to do this thing.  I am missing the goal, and still the whole thing has plopped me exactly in the middle of myself with great success.

Example B.

It was 11:15pm this evening, now yesterday, and I was at a choicepoint.  Do I spend my whole Saturday night alone at home with the novel writing or take a break and see some live music/ have some actual human interaction?  Such choicepoints, as mundane as they seem, always feel at the time as though the fate of my whole existence is at stake.  But what will I MISS if I choose this?  Which choice is really coming from CENTER? Blah blah blah.

I hemmed and hawed.

I’m in a groove with the writing again, so the kindest thing would be to stay here and do this for myself.

I wrote 2,000 words today and deserve a break. Live music! Go enjoy yourself.

I have a sore throat. I should sleep.

I have a sore throat. I should drink whiskey.

I went with the live music and the whiskey.

And now I’m here.

This “here” is not exactly the same as the “here” I would be experiencing if I hadn’t made that decision.  The learnings would look different. (And my lips wouldn’t be tingly.) But I am absolutely, beyond a doubt certain of the fact that I would have gleaned exactly what I needed to know to steer myself on the course I am choosing for my life, no matter what I did.  Whether “less drinking, more sleeping” is my renewed intention or “less hiding, more contact” – my course is correcting itself in the direction of my perfect evolution.

The world is conspiring in favor of my growing up.

I cannot do anything wrong.

Choices and events that bring me pain and suffering are powerful motivators.

Choices and events that bring me joy and fulfillment are powerful indicators.

In this season of thanks and gratitude, I am feeling mighty grateful for this knowing.  What a relief(!) to relax into this grand paradox – this faith – that I am always on the path, despite myself.  I won’t remember this most of the time, and it doesn’t even matter.  Is this not the most wonderfulest thing ever?  Call it god, call it life, call it fate, call it what you will… I just know I have this great gift of choice, and no matter what I do, I am being lived.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Filed under life, writing