from “Black Sun”

Nothing can erase this night
but there’s still light with you.

– Osip Mandelstam, trans. Clarence Brown and W. S. Merwin


from “Living with the News”

Can I get used to it day after day
a little at a time while the tide keeps
coming in faster the waves get bigger
building on each other breaking records
this is not the world that I remember …

– W.S. Merwin

For K.P. – I am so sorry.


Even if I now saw you
Only once,
I would long for you
Through worlds,

– Izumi Shikibu

a few lessons

  1. stop preaching moderation. for many of us, there is no moderation. a little isn’t enough and a little only makes us crave more and feel unsatisfied. when this is a healthy thing, be it love or honesty or a career risk or heart racing intimacy or hard introspection or a delicious book or a third bowl of soup, moderation shows self-doubt and insecurity, as if we don’t deserve more of this wonderful thing because we’re not enough. when it’s not a healthy thing we crave, like fickle, conditional love or the doughnuts in the break room or 14 hours hiding in bed or tequila when you’re sad or the attention of someone disingenuous or shaming self-talk or heroin, a little “moderation” is an ugly, deep, dark way to chip away at your better self.
  2. you will be successful if you show up to your life and live with calm confidence. if you show up, you will suffer and change and have to be honest and you will experience so much beauty around you … in you. and if you show up with calm confidence, realizing that most things don’t need your opinion, that your reaction to anything is your most useful power, and that most things that hurt us have nothing to do with who we are, you will find your freedom. you don’t need approval. you are precious, vast, and probably underestimate how brave and pure and happy your heart is, if you’d only just open it.
  3. look ’em in the eye and hug ’em.
  4. if there is something that stirs you and makes you uncomfortable and tests you in seemingly unrelated ways, that thing that won’t let you go, you must confront it. in the words of e.roosevelt, “you must do the thing you think you cannot do.” this will define you whether you confront it or not, so be bold. you are stronger than you know.
  5. make mistakes and don’t expect perfection. ask forgiveness and forgive easily.
  6. the neglect and bullying of a child is unacceptable. stand up for the kids in your life, on your block, all the ones at your kid’s school, the ones at the grocery store, on the street, at the park. just one purposeful, positive, caring adult who steps up or steps in for the difficult ones, the rebels, the drop outs, the marginalized, the abused, and the overlooked can save lives, turn the odds, and off-set the shit they’ve been through.
  7. secrets rarely help. say your truth out loud. you owe the people who love you that much.
  8. inactivity will kill you. when you lose something – a person, a dream, a chance – at some point you have to move on and that change, that forward grieving movement is the most painful, necessary thing you must do to save the rest of your life. inactivity can kill your body, too. go outside and walk. breath deep. stretch. run or compete or adventure or lift heavy things if you can. appreciate the body you have and don’t take it for granted.
  9. trust your golden heart and give your light away. you are good, worthy of grace, and have nothing to prove.
  10. “If you were to press your heart close up against somebody else’s heart eventually your hearts will start beating at the same time. And two little babies in an incubator, their hearts will beat at the same time. Love that. So if you have somebody in your life that is prone to anxiety, like myself, and if you happen to be a calm person, you could come up and hug me heart to heart and my heart hopefully would slow to yours. And I just love that idea. Or maybe yours would speed up to mine. But either way, we’ll be there together.” – Andrea Gibson