hay moon

There’s a full moon a-coming. It’s practically already here, set to be in its fullness today by 3:57pst.

Catherine J Kim art

See more amazingness by Catherine J Kim HERE

So what, right?

Go ahead and ignore it again if you like, I certainly have. Or pay attention to the free gift that you are receiving. Imagine a time when the only light we had in the darkness was from the moon. Remember that, in darkness, the light of the moon is seen. In our own dark times may we see the light of our truest selves shining brilliantly. Remind yourself of who you are, not in relation to others (your friends, your family) but in relation to the universe (the planets, the stars, that satellite that has reached Jupiter).

I’m taking this full moon as an opportunity to cleanse my mind and spirit. I’ve even suckered in a couple of friends to join me. If you’d like to join me too, here’s what we can do together from wherever you are:

Peace Ritual

July 4th celebrates the Roman day of Pax, goddess of peace. Many of us may be feeling the the irony of this in light of the gripping horrors we have experienced in our communities and plastered all over media outlets. We need to remember to speak of peace. We need to ask for peace, demand for peace, plea for peace, act for peace. I’m not saying that “thoughts and prayers” are as effective as political reform. But tonight is an opportunity for us as individuals to at least reset our minds on a path of peace that will influence our actions long after the ritual has ended.

Burn jasmine incense and light a blue candle. Say a few words, from a book or from within. “Sit quietly and visualize a blue cloud of healing and peace slowly covering the entire earth… Send out vibrations of love, understanding, cooperation, and peace. Don’t visualize how this is to come about, just that it will.”(Moon Magick)

Of course, a prayer or ritual is step one to creating peace. It is our responsibility to continue the efforts and physically manifest peace around us. Reach out to your community, donate to a worthy cause, help a friend or stranger in need, or even raise your voice on social media in the name of peace (as long as it truly is with peaceful intention and not masking anger and hate).

Go ahead, take a moment to check in and remind yourself that you are not alone. In this unexpected life, some things remain constant.

ma belle soeur

Sydney got married last week. She looked so lovely. I don’t have any photos of the ceremony but I do have some “behind-the-scenes” favorites:

syd_web1 syd_web2 syd_web3 syd_web4 syd_web5 syd_web6 syd_web7 syd_web8 syd_web9

joyful journey

I was surprised to find that my new year’s decision to start running helped me this week to cope with what had happened.

The last thing I wanted to do was put on some running shoes and be alone in my thoughts.  But I think it saved me from climbing into that dark hole.

I mean, it’s a simple fact that exercise makes you feel better.  It balances emotions, pumps you full of endorphins, and gives you energy.  Obviously there are serious exceptions to the rule, and sometimes we need more than just a run and we need serious help, but let me use this post to simply talk about the amazing power we all have within ourselves to be happy.

It is easy sometimes to self-soothe with pity and bitterness.  We fall down and demand that others to carry us.  I’ve done this plenty of times.  But I have been recently amazed at how we, as humans in our fragile forms, can be stronger than anything emotional that could hit us.

What my friend taught me, more than anything, is that we have no excuse to be sad.  There’s too much that we have the capacity to do to make our lives better.  Feeling helpless and resigned to our fate is simply selfish and lazy.

I heard someone say on the radio that “bitterness is amplified self-pity”.  That was a wonderful realization for me.  It was quite a kick in the pants.  Furthermore, I think sadness is a lack of awareness or a lack of willingness to see the greater world around you.

My friend’s favorite author, once told a story that begins:

“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. The story [“thing”] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of the genre, but if you’re worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don’t be. I am not the wise old fish. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about …

“It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

‘This is water.’

‘This is water.'”

The full speech by David Foster Wallace is here.  I recommend reading the thing in its entirety.  But if not, hopefully the point is made clear enough from what I’ve extracted.  Life really is too short to forget how important it is that we take advantage of every moment that we live it.

I’m afraid I might end many of my next few posts on more of a rant than was intended.  Forgive me for the time being.

dear tommy

This is really fucking hard.

I found out on Monday that you had died in a motorcycle accident the evening before.

It starts out quiet.  Then I think of the way you’d break an uncomfortable silence with some horribly lewd sound.  Or how you’d attack me out of the blue and say “stop crying” in a mock threatening voice.  Your voice is always in my head, coming and going as you please.

You were always there to make me mock my fears and face the world head on.  When I needed you, no matter where you were, you came.  You were there at my first open-mic, my first show, you came up to see me whenever I was feeling lost and alone in LA.  You came to my last show.  You came with me to parties we both were uncomfortable attending but knew we had to.

I need you now, why won’t you come?

Allow me to believe that everything happens for a reason, as hard as that idea is right now.  Allow me to believe that you were there with me when I sang for you the last stupid song I wrote.  Allow me to believe that you gave me that because you knew I needed it because you knew what I’ve been through and you knew I never wanted to go through it again and now that you have made me you at least eased the pain by giving me just two more minutes with you.

You left us enough love to get through this once you were gone.

i’m no feminist but…

I’m a goddamn feminist.  And I hope to hell you are too.

So many girls my age cringe at that word and make sure to separate themselves from it when they are talking about how important their simple rights as a woman are threatened- in ways subtle and not- every day.

Excuse me, do you believe in equality?  Do you care about the rights of all genders and sexes?  Do you never want to be limited in your own abilities by the judgements of others?  Then I’m sorry, sweetheart.  You’re a goddamn feminist.

I mean seriously, why preface a sentence with, “I’m not like a feminist or anything but when he assumed I wasn’t going to succeed because I was a girl, that really pissed me off.”  Or how about, “I don’t mean to sound all ‘Gloria Steinem’ but women still struggle in the workplace fifty years later.”  Are you kidding me?  How would you not want to be considered a feminist?  Go on with your bad gloria-feminista-self.

Okay, I’m not being fair.  I know that unfortunately many people don’t even know what being a feminist means.  Too many people think it’s about being a feminazi lesbian we-hate-men marcher.  And yeah, there are those, and more power to them.  But you don’t even have to be (gasp) a woman to be a feminist.

Allow me to reference the all-knowing internet and cite Merriam-Webster Online, which defines feminism as, “the theory of economic, social, and political equality of the sexes.”  Um, yeah, I would say I subscribe to that.  Wikipedia actually has a great opening paragraph, defining feminism as “…a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women.[1][2][3] Its concepts overlap with those of women’s rights. Feminism is mainly focused on women’s issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, some feminists argue that men’s liberation is therefore a necessary part of feminism, and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles. Feminists are ‘person[s] whose beliefs and behavior[s] are based on feminism.’[4]

We’ve got amazing, feminine, determined, loving, strong women who are feminists in every sense of that definition.  Is it too much to assume that all women who strive for equality should embrace feminism?

From my simple google search entry of “feminism,” the two aforementioned internet references popped up, which I think are pretty trustworthy.  But let me point out that the fifth down the line is a (not by my definition) christian website condemning feminism with articles on how the Rockefellers engineered women and how the CIA created the feminist movement to destabilize the government…  Funny how more studies have shown that when we empower women in third world countries we see more economic growth and higher standards of living.  I noticed a link on this ranting, terribly misinformed website to another less offensive but also misinformed site called, “Ladies Against Feminism”.  Good grief…  Its inherent belief that feminism is just female domination over men is sadly what I think more intelligent women have been led to believe.  It gives a site like this power to have an argument that shouldn’t even exist.

Okay, I’m trying not to digress to a larger picture of the problems of misguided religious groups who end up hurting more through their miseducation.  Maybe I’ll blog about that if I haven’t already scared people away.

But back to my original and more pressing point because it’s something I think we deal with more on the day-to-day…  Dear fellow beautiful, independent, loving, passionate women.  I have never gone out picketing for women’s rights.  I shave my legs and like to wear heels.  I love cooking and I love cooking for my manly man.  But I love community among women.  And I think we are all powerful beyond measure.  And I’ll never back down from someone who thinks I’m less of a person because I’m a woman.  And I’ll fight anyone who tries to make me feel helpless.  And I’ll always encourage others to do the same…  So, ladies, please hear me out and start seeing the ways you are absolutely and undeniably a feminist.  Men, that goes for you too.

what’s in a name

I’m using my middle name more often these days.  I’ve even considered using it in my Health Counseling business.  It’s gotten me to think about how I never used my middle name but when I do I think about my parents, who would only say it when I was in trouble.  I still look fondly on that though… I rarely got in trouble 🙂

I admit, I really like when people say my name.  It was thoughtfully chosen by my parents and I feel very connected to it.  I have a lot of nicknames – most that I love and some that I hate – but sometimes when people don’t say my real name after a while, I forget if they know how to say it.  It’s not like it’s a crazy name but a lot of people don’t know how to say “Lah-Rah” and quite often people say my name wrong.  Laura (“Low-Rah”) is not my name.  Yet it’s more common so sometimes I just say screw it, call me what you will.

But when someone calls me by my own name, it is an expression of love.  Our names are important affirmations of our unique existence and place in this world.  Maybe we need to think about that the next time we say “hey babe” or “what’s up, dude” or “hello, cap’n”…

I remember a dear lovely friend telling me about a study where people put words and intentions on containers of water creating ice crystals and saw the shape of the crystal was affected by the word on the container.  The difference in shape between “Love” and “Sick” is incredible.  And it affirms my belief that words are powerful.  And yeah, they can beat out sticks and stones and swords.