31 December 2010

Save Your Resolutions For Your Never New Year

"There is only one solution I can see here."

So tonight is the end of another year. I'm older and wiser and... more mature? Why not. We'll run with that. I have a cute little dress, a party full of my nearest and dearest.. Honestly, this year has been an amazing one, I kind of pretend it started in September of 2009 and run from there. In Peru is where my life really started over and Italy is where I really got most of myself back, thanks to one of the most wonderful families ever to be. 2010 brought me back to who and where I was meant to be, not just physically but in all the ways that aren't physical as well. I am delighted to tell you all that I am happy. Ridiculously and absurdly happy. And I would love for this all to carry into 2011 and the rest of my life... yes, please. And now for Resolutions!

As my most delightful friend Nanners says: "Don't judge me monkey!"

I've actually never really made New Years Resolutions and so, I am starting a new tradition. Although, I won't lie, they are more "Christmas Resolutions" as I created them on Christmas Day. There are seven because, if you know me at all, you know that I function in the land of green and sevens.

1. Love on everyone to the highest degree I am capable.
2. Be as honest as possible and don't hold back what I feel.
3. Remember to have a spontaneous adventure about once a week so I don't get "jumper syndrome."
4. Try to blog daily... maybe.
5. Do yoga every morning, consider getting certified as an instructor.
6. Use my Starbucks cards to purchase coffee for unsuspecting strangers in the drivethru line!
7. Make time to spend more time with friends.

Pretty simple. There are probably more teeny ones, but those are the ones I really want to focus on. I think, other than loving on everyone, the two biggest are making sure I adventure constantly so I don't get fidgety here in the PNW and blogging. Not that blogging in itself is all that important, but I have difficulty creating consistency for myself so that ((plus classes)) will be a good way to have a semblance of it. Let's see how well Malia has gotten to know herself. Actually, if I know myself at all? February will be the time to be rather careful... I should probably plan a get away. Maybe New Mexico or Cali. Somewhere warm and ridiculous to tide me over for another 6 months. Oh planning, how you illude me. I shall capture you yet!

PS, you know you have fallen into family bliss when you come home to your parents swing dancing to the Burlesque soundtrack in the kitchen and make you join in. When your baby brother sits on the floor next to your computer to tell you about his day. When your little brother takes your advice to get a mohawk and then you argue about who loves the other more. I love them.

Hauoli makahiki hou and a happy fricken New Year to you kidds.

Peace be.

29 December 2010


I followed that star right up to my front door
There's nothing like Christmas to make me want more.
If I've been dreaming, don't you dare let me wake
And, Angels, protect me with each small snowflake.
I care not for the future if it does not exist
This moment is what I aim for and I can't miss.
My past is littered with careless effigies
Of a battered heart and brutal honestys.
I can say without hesistation that I
Have often been short changed or passed by
But I am not afraid of what the future might bring
In the sun or the rain, I'll continue to sing.
Cause despite all the pain, I still find sheer joy
And I'll continue to find happiness to employ.
I know all the rumors and I'll put them to rhyme
We can't all be perfect and so I won't try.
There's a spark where I stand open here in the dark
The vunerability is so blatent and stark
Against the black skyline I'll burn with a fire
For a Love and a Life I'll continually admire
This isn't a game and so, I won't play
There is more to this life, today is the day.

I didn't used to be able to picture myself with short hair. Even after I cut it, I still had the image of myself with long brown hair in my head. I would look in the mirror, cocking my head right and then left, not seeing it. Not seeing me. I wasn't too worried about it, but it did make me think about who was in the mirror versus who was standing in front of it. There is a cool scene in the latest Chronicles of Narnia film, Voyages of The Dawn Treader, where Lucy reads a spell to make her beautiful. She transforms into her sister and while looking into the mirror, pushes it forward and walks through as if it were a door. But once she is on the other side she realizes that by becoming her elder sister, she has erased herself from existence. I wonder if we do that sometimes in real life... If we try so hard to become what we want to see in the mirror that we erase ourselves from existence.

I was told this afternoon that I was glowing. By a stranger. When a stranger tells you you're glowing, there are two possibilities. Either A. You need to check into some facility for coming into contact with radioactive or nuclear material OR B. You are genuinely happy. And I am. I am usually a pretty happy, easy going human but something has changed in the past couple weeks. I learned to really let go of things, truly forgive people and myself for our many mistakes, and love on them unconditionally. Even the people I am not so fond of. They suck at life, but I'll love them anyway. When the number of people you'd take a bullet for jumps from 12 to 7 Billion? There is definite change happening in you. I am excited about attending Uni as of next week. I am excited about my mentors and bouncing ideas off of them. I'm excited to share with those I love. I am excited for New Years and for the new year. I am excited that I have people in my life who tell me when what I'm doing is awesome and when it might not be the healthiest. I am excited that everyone in my life makes me laugh and I make them laugh. I'm excited that I'm so excited.

I write the word "LOVE" on every paper bill I get. And when I purchase things, I purchase them with love rather than cash. Everyone looks at me kind of funny, but nobody asks why the word "LOVE" is scrawled in red sharpie across the dollar bill in their hand. It's okay that they don't, I just hope it spreads and makes somebody smile. But I hope someone does ask and I have the opportunity to tell them. It's because you're loved, by me! A complete and total stranger. I love you, Stranger. I'll be as honest as I can with you, I will never judge you, and I will love you through everything you are with everything that I am. It won't be perfect and sometimes I might miss a step, but it will be the best I can give. So, always know that there is someone out there who loves you, even when it feels like there is no one. Why, you ask? Better question for you, Why not? Big smile now.

A lot of people want to know what's next for their traveling fiend. The answer is simple, I do not! know. And I won't know. I can tell you what I guess, but the truth is I don't know. Just because I'm back in the 425 doesn't mean I've changed who I am at the core. I have no plan. So don't ask me for one. What am I going to do? I'm going to attend Uni classes at Shepherds and do some Yoga. I am going to continue volunteering, singing, and participating in 3 different churches. I'd like to maybe do a walking trip. I'm going to leave the country and travel the world again, this time with a companion. I am going to climb mountains and hang out with ridiculously poor people, not because I can give them anything but because what they could give me would be life changing. I am going to get married, I am going to have kids, I am going to take that family around the world. I am going to sing, to dance, to laugh, to cry, to speak funny languages, to travel, to love, to learn for every and no reason at all. I am going to live and then I am going to have the greatest adventure of all. And I am going to enjoy every minute. How's that for what's next? That would be the "50 Year Plan," Ladies and Gents, and there is no insurance policy on it.

I think that's all for now, kidds. Celebrate the New Year in style. Love on one another. Glow.

17 December 2010

A Letter

Estrela bela,
Natal feliz, Estrela. I hope this season is finding you well. You are greatly missed on the back streets of Porto. Maddy and I have taken up Alvaros old flat, along with Diego. Diego is adjusting to Portugal alright, I think he wishes he had chosen an internship in Colombia. Hes freezing his south american bagana off, but enjoying the hospital here. Maddy is still at his bank and is dating someone new, you will be very proud to know that they have been together for three entire weeks! Yesterday we all went into the fountain in the park you love so much, except for Diego who said we were out of our heads. Maddy called him a cadela and dragged him under the water. It was 6C. As for me, I am slowly working towards normalcy. I tried dating awhile back, but Im just not ready. I recently purchased a small building to create a gallery with the money I made from my exhibit. I have my first featured artist there starting in January. Looks like my art degree really will help me make my way in the world. I regret to inform you that I passed up several offers on the artwork of yours I displayed there, but I couldnt bring myself to part with yours or Alvaros work. I think once I have made a bit more, I could have reproductions made and sold in my new gallery shop, sending you the earnings? I feel the earnings from Alvaros art should go to finding a cure for SIDA/VIH, I have seen quite a bit of research on stem cell surgery possibly curing it. I have a small amount of resentment about a cure, and yet? Hope.
There is a poet I love, Fernando Pessoa, who once wrote:
"To feel today what one felt yesterday isnt to feel at all - its to remember today what was felt yesterday, to be todays living corpse of what yesterday was lived and lost."
It doesnt make the same sense to me in English as it does in Portuguese, but it means something of this. There is no excuse to live in the past. To remain feeling the same things you felt yesterday is to remain in yesterday and never move forward. For that pain to grow? For it to swell inside you and then subdue itself in the recesses of your mind is to truly move on, to live in today. We cannot hold onto things in the same way we held them yesterday, we must let them change. Grow or shrink, it makes no difference, but we must allow them to change and, in that, change us. I am learning this more and more as time passes. Diego said the other day that he "does not imagine real beauty to exist in the things, people that make our heads turn, but rather in the things that we dont realize are beautiful until we know them so well that we are very suddenly surprised to find them stunning." I believe that is true. Going from engaged to single, I feel that all the things I once saw as beautiful are nothing but superficial art. And you know how I hate that so. Sometimes I wonder how often we pass the things by that seep with pure beauty because we cannot make sense of it in a modern way. You can be sure that any popular idea must have some stupidity laced in it.
At first, after the engagement, I felt it necessary to stand up straight. To not speak of the event or even of B. Eventually I degraded into a spout of slurs against her, with the assistance of friends and alcohol, like any good self-respecting portuguese boy. And then I quieted myself, I should have known better than that. I recognized my own faults in the matter, saw my own hand at play in the game. I was holding too much to the idea that it was only my concept of right and wrong that mattered. I was grasping at maintaining my appearance in the world of friends and, though I am sorry to admit, wealth. "Words were not given to man in order to conceal his thoughts.” Jose Saramago. I should have known better than that. I think you are the only person who could understand these things about me, comprehend what I am enduring.
I think of you often. I wish you could be here to mull these things over with, as we did before. But I know you are seeking your own path. You do not know this, but how different you are than you were. And, each day, you grow more so towards whoever it is you are meant to be. It is so beautiful to behold. I imagine this is how angels grow into their light. Your wings are stretched across continents, Estrela. I think you dont realize your affect on others, the way you weave yourself ever so carefully into other peoples lives is like the most beautiful art. You tie yourself to others, loving them wholeheartedly. Even from afar. How jealous I am of this capacity you have. To love unconditionally is a gift rarely given, and even more rarely recognized. I hope you know how proud we are of you in all your endeavors. Your seeking heart will surely not go unanswered. If there was ever a creature to make me believe in a God, it would be you.
“In the end we discover the only condition for living is to die.” Jose Saramago. And so, live unreservedly, Estrela sua. We all miss you terribly and love you lawlessly.


“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you.” A A Milne, The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

I miss you too.

11 December 2010

Abandon Religion

Warning: This blog? Will probably offend you.
Just sayin.
I feel like there's a trend:
"Jesus is cool, it's just that they've fucked with Jesus. Christianity was at it's best when it was secret and hidden and you could die for it." Tattoo Artist in San Francisco
"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Mahatma Gandhi
"Very simply, Jesus expected to be obeyed. He did not present esoteric theory of God or the afterlife merely to stimulate intellect." Mark Scandrette
"What if Jesus meant what he said?" Shane Claiborne
"Possibly the worst thing that has happened to The Church is that it has become widely accepted." Chris Haw

"Jesus did not support a government nor did he claim to be on any side of war, he publicly rebuked heads of state and religion, calling them out. He is not behind any man carrying a gun, but holding those who suffer innocently." Ex Soldier of the US Marines.
"The Good News is not that Jesus died for your sins, you selfish being. It is that the Kingdom is come and this news belongs to those who are misfits and broken. It does not belong to the rich, white, elite, or even the pious." Ryan Bolger
"How can you worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?" Simple Way
"Even if you didn't believe Jesus was the Son of God, you gotta admit, that man was just as badass as  those we revere and respect today, the Gandhi's and Martin Luther King Jr's. He stood up against the empire of empires, the ultimate renegade." KP
"Despite our war-lust in this 21st century, we do not respect those who fight violence with violence, but set up shrines to those who fight violence with Love."
"The bottom line is that real love always shows itself in action. Nothing happens or changes in this world unless, by faith, we actually do something." Mike Yankoski
"A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” Thomas Merton
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” CS Lewis
Ah yes, that's it.
It would be foolish to believe I was the first to want this revolution, but I do want to continue it. The Church is not a building, it is the people. And with all the Sunday morning routines, God-incorporated governments, and lifestyles created for nothing but comfort? Jesus would not be our homeboy. He would tell us we're all fucking stupid. Christianity has singlehandedly invalidated itself. It has lost all credibility and so it is the perfect moment to abandon it. The God of Christ is not one of religion. He is a God of the homeless. He is a God of the refugees. He is a God of the fuckups and the misfits, the awkward and the unsure. Of the children and the lost. Jesus didn't hang out with the Suburban families or the upper class kids who went to the temple every Sunday. He hung out with prostitutes, lepers, and the impoverished. He chilled at the houses of liars and cheaters. His best friends were the uneducated, low working class. Who are you to judge these people if Jesus did not? And further still, who am I to judge you for living in that way? No one.
I write this not to condemn but to reveal the nature of what "Christianity" has become. I am bound by no such religion as exists for the justification of judgement and hypocrisy, but rather? A humble follower of The Way. A consistent fuckup just trying to Love on other people. A broken sinner lucky enough to be saved by grace with the amazing opportunity to bring Love back to this messed up world. How will you react to this? Will you abandon the excuse used for centuries to persecute, judge, and conform? Will you take up the burden of the original task?
Well, that's that. I could say I'm sorry if I offended you, but honestly? I hope I did.
That means you were paying attention.

08 December 2010

Killing Hallmark

I say conspire.

Can you even imagine? If we reconnected with one another on a human level rather than a commercial one? I say conspire! Be a piece of restoring this crazy world. So I'll put it to ya'll like this, lets throw it out there that you celbrate Christmas purely because of the Hallmark nature of the holiday. Merely because you grew up giving gifts on December 25th ((which is, not gonna lie, kind of a random date)). There was just always a christmas tree, wreaths, lights, and a plate of cookies and milk under the stockings for Saint Nick ((and perhaps a carrot for the reindeer)). And, purely due to the state of the economy ((around the world, yes, but specifically here in the US of A)), would it not be better to give the gift of time rather than plastic? Anddd, would it not amount to more if you made something from scratch and gave it to someone, telling them that they are worth more than a $20 gift card? Wouldn't giving your time and energy show somone how much they mean to you better than whatever is onsale after Thanksgiving?

Check out ways you can spend less and give more at my friend Mike's No Cost//Low Cost Christmas Celebrations post! I encourage you to focus on "no cost" rather than "low cost" gifts. The most important thing you can give someone is Love which comes more readily in the form of time than objects. Juss sayin'.

Wikiwiki, change of PACE. Let's say you don't celebrate Christmas at all, not such a rarity, most of the world doesn't. So what if you spent the time you have off - not working or trying to reign in extra cash for things that you, face it, don't need - but instead! hanging out with family? Or maybe got together for an extra coffee date with a friend you don't see often enough? You have the time to love on people, so show 'em some! Purely for the sake of spreading joy in this world. We need it, that much is obvious.

Tis the season, we say. Season for what? This season is no different than any other season ((except the amount of rainfall we recieve in Washington goes up substancially)), we should love on one another and give our time rather than our money YEAR ROUND. This is basic stuff, kids. It's not hard to see that violence, that war, that anger - are all cycles. The "War on Terror?" Give me a break, you cannot beat violence with more violence. You cannot defeat terrorism with terror. You will never end war with war. Never. What defeats evil, what destroys violence, what desimates terror and war? Is Love. Oh yah, I'm gonna continue singing that one from the rafters. Love conquers all things. It has never been a war of "good" versus "evil" because "good" is perspective. It's a question of Love versus evil, always...

Buttt, I'm getting off topic and swinging around to my typical sermon of gushy crap, so I'll let you get back to what it was you were doing before so rudely interrupted by said blog.



06 December 2010

Hypocritical Me

Why are there homeless?
Why are there hungry, thirsty, sick, inflicted?
Why is there war?
Why is there genocide, persecution, discrimination, hatred?

I ask these question in earnesty. Why do these things exist? Do we genuinely believe that it is of some fault of the people suffering that these things exist? Or perhaps only because of the cruelty of "others," whoever they may be? Does this lead us to believe in a heartless, hypocritical God? Or no god whatsoever?

We are baffled by the images in our newspapers, on our televisions, on our homepages. We are disgusted and appalled at the world. We are angered by the injustice of it all! And we look to the sky, beyond which we know is a grand universe but are unsure of any "God" and we ask, nay, demand:


But I don't think we are listening for the response. For if we were, we might hear, ever so gently whispered in our ears:

how can you?

I am as guilty as anyone, just as hypocritical. How many times have I witnessed the suffering of others, be it small or large, slammed my fist down upon the table I was sitting at with anger and good intentions, then proceeded to do nothing? How many times have I said, "Oh, if only I could do something to help" instead of actually assisting those in need?

How. Many. Times.

We take luxury for granted. We live with shoes, with blankets, with water... Our hypocrisy runs deep. More so in the church that anywhere else. "Jesus loves you, so I don't have to!" the bumper sticker reads. We wear our best Sunday clothes and avoid anything, and anyone, who might soil our clothes, much less our lives. We worship a homeless guy on Sunday and ignore one on Monday.

Yah, but what can I do? we ask.

Give them a bible and tell people if they don't shape up! they are going to Hell. Pick up a weapon and try to take back the Holy Land. Kill anyone who looks, sounds, or act differently than you. Burn reading material that may suggest a different way of thinking. Go to war to create peace. I believe these are all popular methods of "helping out!" And, as evidence by history, these things are all very helpful in "defeating evil."

But what if...

What if we approached it in a different way? What if we told people we love them unconditionally ((which means there is nothing, and I mean nothing, they can do to make Him stop loving them))? Better yet, what if we showed them? What if we destroyed weapons? What if we handed out food and words of encouragement rather than judgement and violence? What if when someone wronged us, we sent them an apology? What if we stood in front of war machines, what if we forgave all debt, what if we smiled at strangers, and told random passerbys that we love them?! What if we did these things not because anyone asked but just because?! I do believe we would get a response of:

Uhm, What The Fuck?

And what a wonderful "what the fuck?" it will be! I refuse to have any "what if's" in my life, I want them to be reality. I want to spread love like violence. Like a disease that infects to the very core of a person, I want to love like that. It starts with you, with me, with the individual! But what is so great, what is so amazing? Is that it doesn't stay there. It continues to infect people, groups, humanity! We put so much faith in what is bigger than us, what if we put faith in us too?

I have faith in you.

The question is this; Will you do these things? Be these things?

These three things remain; Faith, Hope, and Love. And the greatest of these, is Love.