This morning I awoke into a rush of anxiety and adrenaline. We need to vacate our San Francisco flat by June 1, but don't yet have a new home.
It's not that we'll be homeless. I know that. There are many places we can go, even temporarily. But I'm the kind of girl who loves thick roots. I'm the kind of girl who finds deep deep comfort in home. In "this is the sunny spot where the cats nap at 3pm," "this is where I read my book and chomp popcorn after Kayne goes to bed," "this is the window out of which I watch the fog float by Sutro Tower, always changing, always beautiful." I love the illusion of safety, comfort, and stability.
We've lived here for eleven years. And I love that I have memories of my son at two, padding up and down the halls in his diaper. Or at four, wearing a pink cheetah-print dress, strands of brightly-colored necklaces, and a crazy hat. Or all the years of elementary school, sitting in our sunny kitchen with him as he does his homework. I love the pencil markings on the wall of his ever-increasing height, as he has oh-so-quickly shot up to nearly my own five feet two. I love the yellowed sign hanging on the door that says, "The quieter you become, the more you can hear," that has been there for more than a decade.
As the uprooting has happened, all the packing away and sorting and tossing, I've increasingly felt like I'm losing everything. Things I used to be able to count on or to hold are gone. Everything is in flux. I feel lost, even to myself.
So you can imagine what a gift it was to me this morning when I found that my friend Maya had posted a short piece of writing online about how we carry our lives within us. How there are rooms within us for all of our loves and memories and small moments of joy. It was the perfect medicine for me, helping me to remember that I am my own foundation. No matter where I go, I carry with me all of everything I love. And there is room for so much more.
One of the little miracles of this short piece of writing was — I wrote it. At first I didn't remember. But then I saw my name and the date at the bottom of the entry. Last year when Maya was on her Typerider journey, she posted the prompts she was offering every day. A group of us followed along in an online community. This (below) is my submission on June 10, 2012. Little did I know then that I was sending some medicine to my future self ... a little bit of healing from far away to now:
"I choose to believe that I am safe. That life is kind. That coffee is
I wonder if Maya knew how important this was to me today. I suspect she did. And as I send it out to all of you, I send with it my hope that there is someone else out there who needs this medicine. Someone else, searching for home, internal or extrenal, who might find some comfort in what you carry, in what is yours, always.
Cherry Blossom Soup
This past week was the Plant a Kiss Day Celebration, in which nearly 20 women bloggers, and dozens of fourth grade girls all created something separately out in the world to bring a little magic, joy, poetry, color, and connection in unexpected ways.
It was such delight for me to organize this event and to host my own celebration in the world. And at the same time, it was an incredibly sad, stressful, and anxious week for me.
I was holding all the sadness around this death and not being able to be there for my friend. I was also holding the stress and anxiety of not knowing where we will live in a month. And, I was feeling scared for my son, so wanting him to easily find his way amongst the emotional minefield of being twelve.
To boot, my Squawky-Polly mind chose to kick me while I was down: recounting list and list of reasons why I am such a loser. Wrong turns I've taken. Comparisons to others. It even turned all my practice tools into shoulds: you should do yoga, you should make a gratitude list, you should listen to your self-coaching recordings. Aghhhhh! Piling on expectations and stress to an already-difficult week. You get the picture.
I got to not only organize the whole Plant a Kiss Day event, but to be a recipient of all those acts of kindness. Even, and especially, the one I hosted: a Bubble Flash Mob. I got to experience firsthand, not just the lightness and joy of these kinds of kindness, but the real necessity of them. In the midst of sadness, anxiety, upheaval, and loss, we all desperately need moments of unexpected joy. It is what heals our cells.
As I've continued to slowly savor each Plant a Kiss Day blog post, it feels like applying some cool healing balm to my bruised insides. I could easily have fallen into a deep pit of darkness and fear. And that could have led me to some even scarier places. But all the small joys of the week jolted my attention and turned me around to face a different direction.
My Zen teacher, Cheri Huber, has a saying that is one of my favorites: "The quality of our lives is determined by the focus of our attention."
Each Plant a Kiss Day activity was a turning of the attention away from fear and anxiety to kindness and joy.
So on the outside, it may seem like a free lemonade stand or handing out flowers or making bubbles are sweet little light things to offer the world, the truth is, these small acts are enormous in their impact. You never know what might be exactly the small encouragement someone needs to keep going.
That's what they were for me this week.
So, don't fool yourself, thinking the title of this post is exaggerated. Our lives get saved every single moment we are able to fill ourselves with joy. Even, and especially, when that joy is mixed with grief, sadness, and fear. We are saved by kindness, over and over again.
Monday, April 29 was the 2nd Annual Plant a Kiss Day.
In the spirit of Amy Krouse Rosenthal's work,18 bloggers set out to "Plant a Kiss" in the world on April 29. We each did something we thought would spread a little extra joy, color, connection, poetry, or magic in the world. Then we watched to see what would happen!
Today all of us are posting about that experience. (Check out my own activity— a Bubble Flash Mob — below!)
This year, we had a whole group of 4th grade girls who joined us in planting kisses! I will be sharing what they conjuted up with you via this blog as soon as their teacher gets a moment to breathe and gather it all together. Wheeee!
Click here to find links to all of the participating bloggers and hop around to see how each woman was uniquely inspired to celebrate Plant a Kiss Day. After you blog bop, I'd love it if you'd come back here and tell me all about your experience! I wanna hear about what resonated with you, what surprised you, what made you smile ...
Bubble Flash Mob 2013
In the case of my own Plant a Kiss Day activity, I think the photos tell it better than I ever could! I will say this, one of the many many moments that had me grinning was at the end of the day, back home over dinner, when my son said to me, "Mom, I had a great time today. And did you see all those people smiling? Did you see all the little kids running around and giggling? You made a lot of people happy. I'd say that's a very good thing."
A very good thing, indeed. Big thanks to my niece Tara for doing the publicity, to Ian for making all the really big bubbles, to Bob for doing the photography, to Kayne for videotaping and juggling (that's him in the last photo, interviewing me), and to the Executive Bubble Committee of San Francisco for surprising us with tons of bubbly fun! Also, special thanks to all the foks who came out to join us and create a beautiful bubbly community!
It was really amazing and uplifting to see how something as simple as bubbles could connect all of us and make life feel so magical!
If you're ever feeling lonely and in need of community, simply go to a public place with a basket full of bubble to hand out and watch what happens!
Celebrate Plant a Kiss Day
April 29, 2013
Plant a Kiss Day was created to celebrate the message and spirit behind Amy Krouse Rosenthal's work and the whimsical book she created, "Plant a Kiss," which is beautifully illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.
"In this gentle tale about hope, kindness, and sharing, see how one small acts blooms into something grander than anyone ever could have imagined."
What small act could you set forth to bloom? Join us!
How to Participate in Plant a Kiss Day
1. Consider doing something on Sunday, April 28 or Monday the 29th, which would spread a little color, connection, poetry, art, or magic in the world. Get inspiration here:
*The scope of what you do isn't what is important. It is the intention and the consciousness you bring to it. So, for example, posting one piece of colorful art in a public restroom could take you just a few minutes, but if you are present to what it feels like to intentionally want to bring joy to strangers, the impact can be really powerful. For you and for the unknown folks who will be touched by it.
2. If you're a blogger, write about what you did and how it felt. Post your blog to go live on May 1, link to it on our official Plant a Kiss 2013 Page, and join our Blog Hop Party!
3. If you'e not a blogger, you can still participate either by posting about your "Kiss" on the Simply Celebrate Facebook Page or by hopping around from blog to blog to simply get inspired by all the Plant a Kiss Day acts and events happening around the country.
Questions? Email me!
This morning I was led to Jamie Ridler's website, and in particular, her "Wishcasting Wednesday." Every Wednesday she leaves a prompt and folks can respond via their blogs. I love the simplicity of it. I love the community. Most of all, I love the intention behind it.
It's been my experience that simply turning my attention to something is the first step in calling that something into my life. And having the courage to call what we want into our lives is one of the most profound ways of celebrating who we are.
Today, the prompt is: what do you wish to tend?
My wish is this: I want to tend a deep belief in myself. One which transcends all the monkey mind chatter that constantly tries to undermine my efforts to live the life that awaits, just beyond the door of disbelief.
If you have a wish for yourself that you want to share, leave it in the comments; I'd love to hear!
- Create that technicolor feeling in your daily life
- Is there something in your life that you really want to learn to do, but squirrel-mind is keeping you from it?
- Can you let yourself be fully alive and expressive — whether that looks like joy, confusion, despair, bliss, or grief?
- The secret to living an extraordinary life can be found in tiny, ordinary moments.
- How can we love the one we’re with when either —or both— of us is not quite exemplifying star-quality at the moment?
- Confessions of a packrat
- Do I have a deeper relationship with the person I think I should be than the person I really am?
- Andrea Scher
- Art by Gregory Bracken
- Britt Bravo
- Cheri Huber
- Cassandra Rae
- Christine Mason Miller
- Gregory Bracken
- Jen Gray
- Jillian Todd
- Jill Salahub
- Kelley Walker
- Kelly Rae Roberts
- Keri Nola
- Kind Over Matter
- Laurie Wagner
- Living Compassion
- Mary Jane Ryan
- Maya Stein
- Nancy Lefko
- Pamela Sterling
- Rich German
- Stefanie Renee
- Stacy Morrison
- Superhero Journal
- Tiffany Dyer Bird
- Unforgattable Elegance