life is a puzzle; you are a piece

It isn’t how big of a piece you are of the puzzle. It’s that you fit. We all fit together. You can’t focus too much on your one piece or you’ll miss the big picture. Sometimes a painting is so beautiful, but it’s not beautiful because you spend your day painting broad strokes. You appreciate the fine strokes that add character, that add definition. Puzzles are often challenging and sometimes you need different pieces. There are corner and side pieces that give you a framework to build with; there are the groups of similar pieces that form a part of the picture. Further in, when the picture is almost complete, it can be hard to find those few last pieces that complete the landscape. These can make it very difficult to want to finish, but they can also make finishing the puzzle worth it. And when you think you find just where that one piece will fit, it doesn’t. Or you make it. Life’s not a perfect puzzle. A perfect puzzle is only one path. To live for that one perfect puzzle or that one perfect piece is to miss the entire adventure that is the whole picture. Life is wandering and finding the pieces that fit best. Sometimes they find you.

love has wings

There is something about a heron, unlike anything else. It’s as big as an eagle, but it flies as low as a goose. When you are walking through the woods and you come across a stream or a lake, you may miss the heron entirely – it knows how to be completely still. It’s strong; every beat from its wings is of power, so too its stance. It so simply is. If you’ve ever been by a heron nest, you know how big the nests can be by how loud the baby herons are. For some reason, they are so loud, but their parents are so quiet. I think that says something about the love of a parent or grandparent or uncle or cousin or niece…love is an action and a silence. It is a fireworks display or a house built of gold. It is unique and universal and special. It is flying low from the peace of the water to the noisy, bustling nest of twigs and branches.

I come to you as I am

I’m inside again today. (I must be if I’m writing this). Anyhow, I’ve had plenty of time to think in this transition period. Sometimes you need to take all the pieces apart to remember that they fit together. Formula 1 race team mechanics routinely take apart and put together the car engines so that the cars run optimally – I wonder if the same is true of the drivers.

Right now I’m reading Living, Loving & Learning by Leo Buscaglia. Lent to me from my Auntie Mo, this is such a transformative book. The book is a compilation of transcripts from various lectures that he gave around the world. Like the work of Carl Rogers, I think it is a true insight into what it means to be human and live. Sometimes we forget what or who we are. It is those we choose to surround ourselves with who guide us back to who we are. It doesn’t matter how many minutes of the film that you chase the one you love, it is the continual, dynamic memory that stays with you after you have long left the theatre. It is the kiss that lasts a moment, but lives forever. It is holding hands because you’re crossing the street, but you’re crossing the street because you’re holding hands.

what you are (to me)

i’ve got my closure but
that does not mean that i
will not cry
i will not ask why (not)
and wonder if that night
we would have got caught
or wish you the best that
everything in heaven and earth
can afford
hang on every wall in my memory
your every word
and laugh at you
kisses-in-between-sweet-kisses
laughing at me
because i did something
so you would look
so you would see
that you are everything
(because you are everything)
beautiful.

12:21

Today I’ve been mostly inside the house. Curling up to a good book, and some therapeutic music. Times have been kind of interesting lately. Not to divulge too much personal information, but I have been grieving and relieving and feeling up and feeling down and feeling up again. Life seems to have this vitality about it; no matter what you do, you can’t escape creation. The smallest moments in life become memories. It’s felt difficult to let some things go, but I am amazed at how quickly it fills with growth. Free up a little space and watch what grows; there is a place for everything in nature. Following the tracks of a moose: a deer, a raccoon, a person, a mouse, an acorn, a grouse. Carve a path through the field and the trees grow huge around it.

Three Tips for Writing a Love Letter

Not too long ago in my English class, I had a group project. Our assignment was to creatively demonstrate how to write better. One group chose to show how to write a winning resume, the other group did a skit on how to write a letter of resignation. Our group did a presentation on “How to write an 18th Century love letter.”

My task in the group was to write a demo letter and to briefly discuss the relevance of a love letter’s place in the 18th century, and in today’s setting. Three tips I learned about writing love letters:

1. Speak (with) your mind, but speak from your heart. This means be authentic and open about your feelings, but don’t dumb yourself down to be liked. Both intellect and emotion have their roles in making you a healthy human being. Intellect outlines the shape of the picture, giving reasons for what to say. Emotion colours the picture, fueling why you are writing a love letter. Through the utilization of both intellectual and emotional centres, you can write a letter communicating how you really feel inside, in a way visible outside.

2. Understand her and tell her (how) you understand her. Though in the project I assumed the role of a man writing a love letter to a woman, the same principle applies to any relationship whether it is man to man, woman to woman, woman to man, man to woman: to expect someone to listen, you must first let them know that you listen and have listened. No one in a relationship is ever wrong for being who they are or the way they are, although they reserve the right to be. For someone to say they would love another if that other person changed is to negate the very essence of love itself. Love is understanding – both noun and verb. Like with any writing, consider who your audience is.

3. Expect replies, but not answers. Although you deserve to be heard, the person you decide to send the love letter to still reserves the right of how to act or react. A love letter should be sent as an intention of love, honour, and respect, with the expectation that it may be reciprocated, but also of the knowledge and understanding that a response may result for reasons to respect. You may not like your partner’s decision, but by learning to accept it you will make your life a lot more enjoyable and limitless, instead of limiting. Your partner’s decision is only what your partner decided, not who your partner is.

Though you can’t choose how the person – partner, friend, lover, crush – will take the letter, you can still choose how to most clearly present yourself. They may not understand, even if you understand them, but this is the work of the relationship: that with trust and patience, you can learn from your differences. In any relationship, you have to trust your partner and yourself, and having patience with both will only serve you the greatest good (which can feel like the greatest bad at times, but sometimes a current bad is really a later good in disguise).

After all, you may not even decide to send the letter; perhaps there was some insight through writing the letter that led you to see where you could change. Don’t be too proud to not accept that you have aspects you can change yourself, but don’t be too hard on yourself either. Get writing and find out.

No man is an island

In this world, sometimes it seems that there is more value in receiving than giving. I do not agree. It is the artist that unveils his masterpiece, his magnum opus, his project that grew from the seeds of a dream to a towering statue of actualized potential…it is he who “gives” this to everybody. You give support, you give love, you give care. This is for sure enjoyable to receive, but I think what lacks in our society is the acknowledgment of the (at least) equally fulfilling act of giving.

Life and love are a kind of flow. To keep both healthy, one must have an open channel: one open to giving and one to receiving. That is the natural balance of life. A plant is healthy because it takes in carbon dioxide and because it releases oxygen.

It is also important to give things to yourself such as time and opportunity and slack; sometimes giving feels so good that it makes it hard to receive. The world is beautiful because people receive, too. That is also a form of giving, a giving of attention and respect. By openly receiving a gift, you exude warmth as you show the giver you welcome them into your heart. This must be why hugs make you feel so complete. (And don’t forget, even people who care give a shit or give a damn!)