Advice from a Volcano

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Earlier this year I had the great blessing to get to spend some time on the Big Island of Hawaii. While I was there, I was able to visit Volcanoes National Park. Even though the lava wasn’t flowing, and I only saw the reddish glow in a pouring rain storm at night…it was a magical experience. I picked up a shirt with the above graphic while I was at the gift shop that morning. It’s a good set of reminders right now, while I’m going through a difficult time. I’m wearing it today and focusing on the good of the moments I’ve had.  Going to try and go with the flow…

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Santas Lap at the NASSCO Boat Yard.

I love traditions. When I was little, Christmas Eve meant exchanging a single present with my brother before my Mom sat us down to read Clement Clarke Moore’s classic. The past few years, it’s meant being inside a Christmas card, full of love and family warmth. This year there is no fireplace or endless trays of desserts, but there is still love and warmth. I am so grateful to be with my friend today, to know how loved I am. It is a season of transition this year, a season of evolving my traditions. I can create whatever I want from this holiday. What will happen next?

Dear Tori…

Dear Tori,

I know you are hurting right now. I know that you are feeling loss. I want to wrap my arms around you little girl. I want to whisper to you. It will be okay. I will take care of you.

I know that you are struggling. I watch you searching for validation and acknowledgement. You are taking words into your heart like a sponge to drown the sadness, but I know it’s not enough. You are not going to be satisfied. You still feel the loss in the chorus of voices. I want you to try and listen to me though. Please, hear me. You matter. Take these words now and simply carry them in your pocket until you can pick them up. You are enough.

I know your heart is tender. I know you are questioning. I want you to stop searching. You don’t need the answers. You don’t have to ask. You do not need permission to own your truth. Your story is yours to tell. Your intentions made it real. Your path built the you of today. Your history makes you who you are. You are allowed to find happiness in your memories. No one can deny you the change and growth brought by your past. You are never a fool for loving. You should never regret the pureness of that motivation in living. Be proud that you gave so much. Celebrate that you held nothing back. You could not have been more. You do not need to be more.

You are wonderful. I know you cannot see all that you are right now. I hear you trying to define yourself by your shortcomings. There is no fault with you to fix. You do not deserve less love because you are human. You are not experiencing loss because you’re broken. You did not cause this because you are lacking. You are capable of being loved. You are more than the challenges in your life. You have had trauma in your life, and you grew. You have not shriveled, you have grown. You offer more than you cost. You are not a burden. You are allowed to be imperfect. You are doing your work. You live and love with everything in you. Do not find shame in that. Do not shelter your heart. Do not stop giving the world all of you. You give so much of you. Don’t change that. You have a rich life to share with the world. I will help you see that again. I will keep saying these things to you until you can hear me.

Be kind to yourself. Keep asking for help. It will get better. Someone will hold your hand again. You will not walk this path alone.

You are a beautiful soul sweet, little girl. You have had so much hurt. You have had a challenging road to get to where you are. Today that place feels heavy and dark, but the clouds will clear and you will see. The sky will open and you will see the world that you have built for yourself. It is truly amazing what you have created. You will open your eyes and see yourself again. You will see why we all love you so much. I know this is hard. I am so proud of you. We will get through this. We will do amazing things.

Live loud. Life is long.

Capable.

You are an amazing person - Seen in Austin

It’s been a challenging time lately. Professionally and privately, I’m being challenged with some pretty weighty personal growth opportunities. There has been a lot of self-examination and doubt. Do I really have what it takes to be successful in my desired path? What if my best isn’t enough? It’s a heavy burden of thought to carry recently. But, sometime in the grey and rain of yesterday, I remembered something. I remembered I’m capable.

ca·pa·ble  /ˈkāpəbəl/
Able to achieve efficiently whatever one has to do; competent.

Striding on the elliptical machine at the gym, staring out the window through the rain to a point on a building in the distance, I remembered. Somewhere between ‘The Cave’ and ‘Castles in the Sand’ while I was wiping away sweat, somewhere around mile 2, I remembered that I always do what I have to do. I make things happen. I do things. I’m capable of things. I’m capable of many things.

I am a girl that’s capable of making her body go 13.1 miles in less than 3 hours, multiple times within the same year:
Running Running Running
I am the girl that’s capable of taking a kick ass self portrait in a dust storm at Burning Man:
Dust Storm Diva!  Burning Man 2007
I’m actually extra capable at the self portrait thing. This may have taken 100 shots on the self timer while I was traveling alone in Puerto Vallarta, but this single shot is fantastic:
Puerto Vallerta
I’m capable of venturing out of the resort and ziplining on a solo vacation to Mexico:
Los Veranos Canopy Tour
I’m capable of riding a Mechanical Bull in San Antonio on Valentine’s Day with the girls:
Sexy Lady a ridin'!
I’m also capable of participating in large flash mob pillow fights on Valentine’s Day with the girls:
San Francisco Valentines Day Pillow Fight 2009
I’m capable of surviving New York City alone. I went there alone as a 30th birthday present to myself, as part of my Project 30 celebration and it was one of the best decisions ever:
Me & the Statue of Liberty
I’m capable of roadtripping by myself:
Road Tripper!
In fact, I sing in the car and I’m not shy about how absolutely capable of that I am:
52 Weeks: Week 28: My Biggest Joy - Singing in the Car
I’m even capable of camping by myself (and can start my own fires):
Grover Hot Springs State Park
I am capable of traveling internationally and navigating foreign cities by myself. A guy came and asked me if I wanted his help taking this, because I was standing there struggling to line it up right with my timer by myself. I had just spent the entire day walking all over the city by myself until I had so many blisters I couldn’t take another step. This day was so special:
Me in Paris!
I’m even capable of dining alone in international places. Having a moment alone with this tomato soup in Amsterdam is one of my most favorite life moments:
Amsterdam
I am capable of growing things. It may be extra challenging at times, but I have maintained a really awesome garden for 3 years:
Garden 2011
I want to keep remembering. No matter how many things there are lately that make me question myself, I want to remember that I am capable of many, many things.

Things I Love…This Picture.

I keep a running set of the “Most Interesting” public pictures in my Flickr account, and many of them have very sentimental moments attached to them for me. I think about some of them frequently, have others printed around my house. I want to tell their stories here. Here’s one of them…

The Most Beautiful Note in the Rain

A few years ago, I was walking in the rain down a corridor between the parking garage and a building here in Santa Cruz, when I found this note and took a picture. Almost an intrusion into a private moment between two people to not only read but document, it’s become something I have always been so very grateful to have experienced.  It has inspired me to know that type and intensity of love for a partnership and parenthood exists in this world. Thank you Za and David, where ever you are, for unintentionally helping me believe in love…and I hope that your love and family has continued to thrive.  I only hope to find something even remotely as beautiful for my future.