Breaking the Surface

This Friday, I’m leading a workshop at the Power of Words Conference in Maine. I’m really excited to get way inside some longer form writing with a group of new people who are not yet tired of listening to me talk. Just kidding. No one ever tires of me. Right, Ma?

Next week on Tuesday (8/16) I’m reading at Bryant Park in New York with some geniuses, and I’m thrilled. Info on both of those readings is on the Events page. You should come. There’s still time to register for a day of the conference. The reading in New York is FREEEEEEEE! And Karl is coming with me!*

My beautiful friend C, who is a stunning writer and just a golden pool of light, is coming to the workshop Friday. You would get to hear her snorting laugh if you came to that. I’m so excited to have the bonus of a big old cuddle and a long walk on the beach with her and my little lookalike sidekick who also loves her.

Sometimes I feel a high sadness count–like 500 sph (sadnesses per hour). It’s just how the day goes, how my mind goes sometimes. The other week, I had a high sph day (we’re making that a thing) and went to the market to get a single slice of lasagna for dinner.** While I was there, I had the flash of the thought, What I really want is lots of wine and some bad decisions. Uh-oh, right? But the next thing I thought was, When I really want wine, that’s probably the last thing I need. So I went home, popped open a seltzer water and called a far away friend, who is hilarious and loves me and is at enough of a remove from my sadnesses to safely store them away for me.

The part of our brain that experiences desire or want is separate from the part of our brain that experiences pleasure. Which means that what we think we want isn’t always what we need–or even what will make us happy. This is the downside of our developed minds. We are so often far removed from what we actually need, what will actually help us thrive and be our best, or what will repair the places where we feel broken.

It’s been an intense week and it’s only Wednesday. People are struggling hard. The love I have for the people who expose their truth to me, even fleetingly, is a ferocious, wonderful thing. As painful and exhausting as it sometimes can be, I think this is the whole point of my life. My heart will expand and expand in this way, until it outgrows my body and I, hopefully an old lady who has loved and loved and loved, will leave my body behind, and my chickens will mourn, but whatever this love is will just go on in the air. The other week, I devoted some time to sending little thoughts out into the sky for people I have love and good wishes for. I do this sometimes. Often, actually. The next day one such person, who I’d thought of fondly, hoping he was happy and well (and worrying a little because I worry), sent me this week’s prompt, in the photo below. If this isn’t proof of the magic, I don’t know what is.

your prompt is the phrase: “what we need most lives…”

What Whales and Infants Know, by Kim Connell

 

*as soon as I post this, I’m going to text Karl, “I read on the Internet that you’re coming to New York with me!” He’ll have to do it, because it was written. It’s a no-fail peer pressure plan.

**One of the great absolute wins of my life is that you can buy just a single home (as opposed to restaurant) sized slice of lasagna at certain delis. That’s all I want sometimes. The kids don’t really like lasagna (I found this out too late to sever ties; I already loved them by the time they told me), which used to mean I had to either make a tray and eat it all, or never eat lasagna on the couch–until I discovered this single slice thing.

 

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