Tag Archives: inspiration

Message in a bottle

It’s been 98 days since I remembered I had anything interesting to write here. I just checked. There was a meager sighting of sub-par poetry in there, done in the interest of humility and commitment-keeping, but my blog’s officially been getting short shrift since July. And what a shame, because phrases I’ve never in my earthly life written, like short shrift, have just been bopping around up there, waiting for their chance.

I’m not beating myself up about it, which I consider a great achievement. (Maybe next time I will remember in 92 days, or 88.) I am, however, afraid that if I don’t bottle the juice while I got it, it will flee as fast and as mysteriously as it landed, right here on my lap next to a purring cat at 4:54am. So it looks I’ll be plugging in my computer instead of crawling into bed, and I’ll suffer through the work day with an extra shot in my mocha.

The source of my sudden inspiration is hard to say, but suspects include:

  • the spontaneous Big Sur Tuesday night dance party (responsible for these wee hours), which was the most fun I’ve had in ages;
  • three shots and two glasses of wine at the aforementioned fête;
  • the idle perusing of ridiculous genius in my friends’ blogs;
  • the toying with a ridiculous idea to write another novel in November;
  • all this singing I’ve been doing;
  • or all the reading;
  • psychic healings from Laura Day and friends (see sidebar);
  • the extra 5-HTP I’ve been taking;
  • a day chock-full of gifts, in the form of super-kind words from all sorts of unexpected people.
  • Best, and most surprising of all, was the shot in the arm from my own self. I looked at my blog tonight for the first time in awhile, sighed (as I do), and suddenly had the ingenious notion that I could just start re-posting old posts, in an attempt to look prolific without having to actually form sentences. Brilliant! So I started kicking around the archives a bit, looking for a gem.

    Who knew? These fingers at my keyboard now are the same ones that typed the message in the bottle I’ve been holding out for.

    October 21st, 2008: The best laid plans

    Lately my life has been full of regrets and hurts and going-wrongs. Days and days stringing together without the solace of resolution or comfort of clarity. I’ve been tending myself pretty well, with the exception maybe of four days dedicated to eating bread, and am emerging enough from my wheat-filled fog to enjoy a little perspective. Here I can wonder, again, how each time life serves up a dollop of crap, I manage to convince myself I’ve never been here before. What to do? (Followed by close cousin: Oh why am I always this way?)

    And lo and behold, right here in my corner of the world wide web, I find a girl I can recognize, exactly one year younger than I am today. Struggling the same struggles and finding her way. Surely this is irrefutable proof of something more inspiring than I am a slow learner.

    The very dawn captured by neighbor Dave Egbert.

    Lucky day... the very dawn was captured by neighbor Dave Egbert.

    If 34-year-old Lisa could see 35-year-old Lisa today, I imagine she’d be equal parts relieved and dismayed, that exactly everything and nothing has changed. It seems to me right now that my life has been an exercise in nabbing new seats at the same film, waiting for a new ending.  I hope to remind myself, maybe when I read this post next year, to keep diligently pursuing an alternative to spending the rest of my days hapless and blinking in the theater, kicking the seats.

    It’s dawn now.  I can’t take my eyes off the ridge across the valley. My view from here is of the road I walked last October. Scrubby, black silhouettes of evergreens stand like cutouts against an unimaginable, painted sky. The pinking wisps of cloud smoke blush so deeply, then more still. As I watch it feels like my heart is nestling down in my chest. Somehow the sun’s relentless progress feels so hopeful at dawn, while at sunset it can be wistful and at noon mundane. All the while, here we are, just turning the same as ever.


    Filed under life, lisa goettel, writing

    I heart chicks with guitars

    Went to a little house concert in San Rafael last night to see a couple indie artists on tour – one of whom has been in my ipod favorite chick singers playlist for a few years, the other is a sweet new discovery. Check em out:

    Edie Carey

    Rose Cousins

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    Filed under music, offerings, writing

    The call to greatness

    I saw my friend Ani Difranco again last night, in concert this time in Santa Rosa. And I indoctrinated Yossi, who it was a treat to share with, especially since he really liked her. Truly, as I watched I wondered how anyone couldn’t – if not appreciate her music, style or perspective, at least honor her presence on the stage and in the world. What a shining star.

    I’ve seen Ani in concert for 15 years, and while it’s been a few since I saw her last, I was prepared for the familiar schizophrenic ongoing internal dialog that invariably accompanies the ticket price.

    Audience member Lisa A: “Oh it’s the Becky song! Remember Beck, how you always sang that line “you are by far the cutest?”

    Lisa B: “Yes. I was feeling the Texas of my heart today in the car. That’s it exactly.”

    Lisa C is busy adding harmonies and riding the guitar picks like electrical surges.

    Lisa D: “She is so obviously doing what she was meant to do. Wake up! It’s time for Lisa to be Lisa.”

    Lisa E: “She’s existed in the world for a year more than me and has released 21? albums. What the fuck am I doing? Where has my creativity gone? Lisa, you have so much potential and you’re wasting your life. You’re still not even sure who you are. What distinguishes me from everyone else in this anonymous crowd? I hate crowds. We’re all hypocrite cattle, cheering at every cry for rebellion and independence while we’re all sitting here in the dark fantasizing to the tune of “I want her to see and love and validate ME!” If I met her tonight, what would I say? What is my offering? I bet she doesn’t watch TV.”

    Ok, I suspect that audience member E. is actually a few voices, but I’ve lumped them together here for the purposes of recognizing that none of what they have to say is helpful. The simple act of going to a concert for me is a complex brew of enjoying the familiar, identifying with the artist, appreciating the music, being inspired, and then tumbling down the hill in comparisons, judgments and self-consciousness.

    Fully aware of and prepared for this last night, I suited up for the show with all the resources I could muster after what had been already a long and challenging day. And I managed largely to hold the cruelest forms of “voices E” at bay. I focused on voice D instead. The voice being nourished by inspiration – the voice who in seeing Ani shine felt my own call to greatness. And I knew that true calls to greatness are not laced with barbs and they don’t get report cards. They happen of their own accord, in their own time, each with their own unique manifestation.

    I don’t know what happens in everyone else. But I’ve seen and heard enough to believe that the call for greatness is a common if not universal experience. Greatness not being confused with fame or glory, though greatness often inspires followings, but greatness of embodied spirit. It’s a recognition, a flowering, an excavation of the divinity that has been inherent in our beings all along.

    I feel the tingling of this inside myself many times a day. And then I see the 184,256 things that are in the way and if I don’t just drown in hopelessness right then and there, I get tripped up by #4 or #58 or #184,255. It takes a special kind of inspiration, or maybe more commonly a desperation, to plow all the way through, which is why I don’t see it much when I look around. But I’m attracted to people who I see making a go of it, and my spirit lifts immeasurably to be present for someone who just hit another six barriers but did it anyway. We see this a lot in people with life-threatening illnesses. People who are adequately nursed with an urgency to go beyond their habitual, self-imposed limitations. I’ve looked deeply at the invitation in more than one dark night of the soul – the stark choice – climb the impossible mountain or deny my life force and die inside.

    And last night I recognized all those voices of stopping as being a barrier that keeps me from my greatness. And for some reason, whether inspired by Ani or just following my own evolution, I felt the urgency more profoundly than I ever have. And the urgency dramatically loosens the grip of fear and dread. The voices that normally stab me and sit me down transformed into little stings to brush off.

    There is NO TIME TO WASTE. As Ani said in one of her songs last night “We’ve got ourselves a serious situation down here.” There is no time for self-pity and misery and stopping. Today I’ve been visited by at least 238 of the things I do and think that stop me and I haven’t had breakfast yet. But at this moment each one feels like a calling. Beckoning me to climb it, drop it, cut through it here and now because there’s a life I have to live.

    It’s tempting to throw it all up in the air together and say I’m done and I’m starting over. I’ve attempted this before and it ends badly. My knowing is that each one of these things is something I have to look at in the face and say no to. One by one. I just have to trust it will all happen perfectly and drop me off in the middle of my greatness on the other side.

    On to breakfast.


    Filed under life, writing

    Just you and me

    I’m alone in a hostel in Sausalito tonight. A private room, as private as hostels go, that smells like a boy’s dirty socks. I’m attempting to remedy this with tea tree and eucalyptus soap-covered tissues that I’ve placed strategically around the room and I feel like a new-age MacGyver. It’s quieting down and I’m fading, but am drawn to write nonetheless.

    Hostels tend to bring out my already predisposed leanings toward loneliness. So do going to concerts by myself, which I did tonight before coming here. It’s aloneness surrounded by people, which for me shines a bright light upon the way I relate, or rather often don’t relate with the world. I told my therapist this week that there are two chairs in relationship – expressing and receiving – and that I’ve spent WAY too much time in the receiving chair. I realized later that I actually haven’t been in either chair. I’ve been watching and reacting to other people, and most of the time I’m not only not receptive, but I actively shut down my receptivity from this place – spending a whole lot of time in relationship with myself. And all the watching becomes isolation that turns quickly into loneliness and resentment. So much so that it’s paved a well worn road to depression and despair.

    The concert tonight was actually a public lecture – an interview with Ani Difranco at the Palace of Fine arts in San Francisco. She’s been a longtime source of musical, social and personal inspiration – I feel like I’ve grown up with her. It’s bizarre to feel like this with a stranger. A completely one-sided friendship, that on my one side, has been full of complexities and growth and emotion. She’s just a stranger I’ve watched and listened too more than the average person – while I go about having my reactions and relationship with myself. So I decided to really pay attention tonight to what relationship I’m having exactly. I listened, I received Ani’s offerings and felt nourished. And afterward came a strong and natural wave, of hunger for dialogue. I felt enlivened and inspired, and I wanted an outlet to share the new creations that were brewing in me with these new ingredients.

    This is my practice. It’s why I decided (and re-decided, and re-decided) to start this blog. To feel fulfilled experiencing relationship in this way – this most basic giving and receiving that has been the primary developmental gap in my life. And I am already finding wells of vitality in me that have been long hidden. Since I started this blog I feel like a fountain has been turned on, and the more I express the more I want to receive and the more I want to express. This is what relationship is. I’m alone right now, writing in a strange, stinky room without knowing who, if anyone, will read this. But in writing I am learning how to find and speak what is inside of me. And if you are here receiving my little offering, it may grow something in you. What else on earth is there for us to do?


    Filed under life, writing