My dearest Jackie, who breaks all the rules, brought me a birthday gift tonight.  This rockin’ Celtic T-shirt fits me like a glove, and resonates at exactly the same frequency of my little Irish soul. I am never taking this shirt off!
The words around the heart say:  Like all things that are precious to us, we tend to keep our emotions under lock and key.  Love itself is far too beautiful a gift not to share with everyone.  

After a dinner of perfectly grilled kebabs, kick butt fish stew and the best carrot salad this side of north Africa, after a homemade ice cream cake that beat any other I have ever tasted, we sat in a circle and they, my beloved tribe helped me to create my list.  My list of things to do before I turn forty.  What’s beautiful about this exercise is that in adding an item to my list they pledged to do something (big or small) to help me get it done, to be my a co-conspirator, an angel to assist me, to hold my hands and jump feet first with me into the wild and messy river of my life.

In the spirit of love for them, in the spirit of my love for this life, I embrace this to do list, this plan.  I hearby pledge to wrap my heart around these items and sink into the joyfulness of them.

  1. Take a kayak lesson on the Potomac
  2. Learn to throw a pot
  3. Perform at an open mic night
  4. Sing a duet with  sweet Andy McD
  5. Learn to Irish step dance
  6. Go see Step Afrika
  7. Take Max to see Sweet Honey in the Rock
  8. Start to build my Goddess garden I have been dreaming of
  9. Paint my living room and hallway
  10. Create (and dare I say perfect) a gluten-free pizza dough recipe.  (Homemade pizza and Eric’s homemade bread are the only two things that will tempt me off my healthy gluten free path.  This gets me 50% of the way there! )
  11. Explore acupuncture and my calling as a healer
  12. Start that girls’ (age 8-11) knitting club I have been talking about
  13. Ride a roller coaster
  14. Stay a night at the Purple Fiddle
  15. Learn to swim
  16. Run a 10K
  17. Learn to count to ten in three African languages
  18. Finally master the f’in F chord
  19. Teach Max to knit (my sweet boy added this to my list, saying he would help by doing the learning!)
  20. Go out to hear live music at least ten times (this is an easy one which just makes me feel productive!)
  21. Figure out how to live migraine free

Wanna jump in with me?  What do you think I might do in this crazy wild messy year before I turn 40?  Lets do it together.

As the old year gives way to the new I have just a few wishes, a few dreams. 

Let me whisper them here, then so I can then let them go and welcome the New Year with all that it will bring.

This year I wish for LESS:

  1. Less stuff
  2. Less chaos
  3. Less worry & sadness
  4. Less noise
  5. Less weight
  6. Less drama
  7. Less inner monologue and self critique
  8. Less fear
  9. Less rushing
  10. Less conflict

And in the place of the things that leave I wish for this to fill the void:

  1. More community
  2. More stillness
  3. More laughter
  4. More music
  5. More health
  6. More silliness
  7. More silence 
  8. More love
  9. More long walks
  10. More connection

May your 2008 be blessed and beautiful–perfect in every imperfect way.

Happy New Year!

Last week, I discovered this groovy little post over at Cool People I Know.  I came to it by way of a challenge by the lovely Jen Lemen, urging us all to make a life list–to commit to paper 100 hearts desires you want to make come true.

Given that I had recently gone about rituals to shed myself of things I didn’t want (fear especially) I thought it would be a wonderful positive exercise to remind my heart of all I did want.  I set about creating my list here.  It took me a week.

In between loads of laundry, or heating up dinner I would steal away for 5 minutes to write down something else that had occurred to me during the day. 

When I first started out, I had no idea how on earth I would get to 100.  It was all I could do to admit that I really wanted the first 20 items.   Its so easy to get into a mode of self-denial–of telling myself I can’t have it, so don’t ask for it–don’t dare to even wish.  It dawned on me how incredibly limiting and well…crippling that can be.  Afterall, the first step to making our wildest and deepest darkest dreams come true is admitting that they are there.

But the assignment was to get to 100.  Stephanie and all the other cool people on this wiki were giving me permission, to go wild.  I threw off the self-repression and shone a light into the dark corners of my soul where old wishes lay dormant.  Pretty soon, I was cranking on my list.  I had turned on a spiggot and the ideas came flooding out.  Small aspirations and big wild messy dreams.  I had to really think and prioritize.  My top 100 dreams.  Just the most important.

I have my list now and am making a point of looking at it every day.  I ask myself how the actions I took today take me a tiny bit closer to crossing just one of those things off my list.  Its a little map for myself–a compass to keep me pointed in my hearts true direction.  I know that each dream crossed off will open the door for another to take its place and that is a beautiful thing.

In order to see my list you are going to need to create your own.  Do it–I double dog dare ya…

everyone I know read this post by Jen Lemen, picked something on it and did it by Saturday next.  I think the world would shift in small but amazing ways…I double dog dare ya…

My friend Jen Lemen recently posted on her blog her list of her 50 most favoritest things.  I have been singing the lyrics from the Sound of Music (raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…) all day as I tried to shake the Monday (end of beautiful weekend) blues.  As an exercise in focusing on the positive I decided to compose my very own list right here…right now to help me smile my way into Tuesday…

1.  Maxidoodle and friends deep in conversation or in the throngs of imaginary play.

2.  Taking a long quiet walk through the woods.

3.  Baking bread and then eating it.

4.   Armfuls of fresh cut flowers.

5.  Musicals of any kind, shape or variety but especially this one.

6.  Black tea  with milk and sugar made for me by my father (no one makes tea like dad).

7.  The smell of hyacith.

8.  A fresh breeze blowing through the house.

9.  The sound of a wooden screen door closing.

10.  The Rhode Island shore-any month of the year.

11.  The sound of my mom and aunt singing together.

12.  Flying Star feng shui

13.  Stationary, ribbons, stickers, journals.

14.  Office supplies (I know that’s wierd but I love them, especially little flags that you can put on things to mark them as significant) and the office supply stores where you buy them.

15.  A new notebook–preferably a college-rule composition book.

16.  Uniball Impact RT gel pens–in black.

17.  Music drifting in or out windows.

18.  Wandering around a city with Anne.

19.  Reading aloud and being read to.

20.  Staying up really late talking.

21.  First snowfalls.

22.  Dancing with Max to music cranked up WAY loud.

23.  The month of May.

24.  Yarn stores.

25.  Silk and bamboo.

26.  A week at the lake in Maine.

27.  Getting presents (just because).  Giving presents (just because).

28.  Spontaneous neighborhood get togethers.

29.  Friends who show up unannounced.

30.  Handwritten letters.

31. Following a stream.

32.  Silence.

33.  Getting up early before the world is awake.

34.  Grace O’Malley

35.  Bellydancing (in my kitchen or at class)

36.  The moment when the phone rings and the person you were just thinking about calls you.

37.  Cheese–especially gorgonzola.

38.  The Enneagram

39.  The library and used bookstores

40.  The sound of bells.

41.  Chai tea with steamed milk.

42.  Drinking tea (or wine) from those wonderful cups Jackie makes that fit perfectly in your hands.

43.  Dark chocolate with chili peppers and Oaxacan hot chocolate

44.  Ikea and anything Swedish

45.  Knitting, knitting and knitting

46.  Waking up to find Rosie the cat asleep on top of me

47.  Neighborhood cats and dogs who come by to say hello.

48.  Sitting on the beach with Erica.

49.  A good tough hike.

50.  Watching Max sleep

What do you love?  What warms your soul and brightens your day? If your life was a musical and you had to sing about your favorite things what would they be?