Monthly Archives: December 2011

Love in the room from the floor to the ceiling; it’s that time of year.

I have been struggling to find words for some things I have been feeling in recent weeks, but hopefully this whirlwind of words will add up to something cohesive, coherent, and cathartic. ūüôā

I am surrounded by the loveliest, lovingest, loveablest (and love-blessed) people in the world.  Nay, universe.

I have no idea why the fates have had their way with me in such a delightful, positive manner, but I have been overflowing with love from so, so many people the past several weeks. ¬†And, as implied in my opening sentence, I’ve been letting it flow through me with no good way to release it into the world in a reflective way. ¬†I actually started this draft on 4 December (note: that’s 16 days ago). ¬†Whoops.

But since then, my life has been a whirlwind of obligations, visits from all over the world (!!!), self-care time involving immersion into several ridiculously enjoyable books, one-on-ones, fruitful and incredibly supportive e-correspondence with groups of VIPs in my life, and (thankfully) good ol’ quality SLEEP. ¬†It wasn’t until tonight when my spectacular roomie tweeted from her bed a passage from a book she’s reading (it also happens to be by my favorite author) that something inside me sparked and made me want to finish what I’d started more than 2 weeks ago. ¬†Her tweet:

“You invite things to happen. ¬†You open the door. ¬†You inhale. ¬†And if you inhale the chaos, you give the chaos, the chaos gives back.”

And, conversely, if you invite the love, if you invite the strengthening of friendships and relationships and sharing vulnerable parts of oneself and breaking bread and defining community and widening your circle and always hoping for more for others and refusing to settle for the disappointing or sad or standard or boring and seeking growth for your own person and refusing to limit your own horizons because of a little 4-letter “f” word (f-e-a-r), and if you do all of that GENUINELY and INTENTIONALLY and DAILY and RELENTLESSLY, then that, my friends, is exactly the fruit your life will bear.

I can attest that there is no sweeter fruit upon which to feast and nurture oneself.  Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, I have felt so renewed and empowered as of late.

And now, a bullet-pointed shout-out to the many things that have brought me back to the person I want to be recently:

  • “Wine Club,” est. Nov 2011
  • The magic of Bethlehem Farm, tangible all the way in Chicago during their 2011 Winter Benefit (assist by the lyrics of “All are Welcome” & Loyola Companions memories)
  • The most incredible young women I know who uphold an email chain, conquer PT school, earn 2 Master’s degrees, enjoy engagement, and advocate for women everywhere…all #whilewearingstilettos)
  • My Schols & the lingering feeling of how it felt to experience true community
  • Sisters (again, blood and soul)
  • Hand-crafted gifts and organically-woven tales from Macedonia
  • My g-chat life, resurrected
  • More Love Letters
  • Using dimes to get my shoes shined
  • Little ones that are now grown ones and oh-so-pride-worthy
  • Seeing people follow their passion and make incredible things happen (like my friend and DigDeepWater)
  • La nourriture exceptionelle
  • ¬†Shared joy for good (and great!) news
  • Embracing the unknown
  • Small intimate gestures to say “thank you”
  • Walk-offs to Robyn with friends new & old
  • The versatility of chick peas
  • Visitors, visitors, being able to practice hospitality, visitors.

Mmhmm. ¬†I could go on for even longer, but there are a few very special memories that I’m keeping preserved in my own special collection in my heart. ūüôā

Last night, while making goofy and beautiful holiday cookies with one of my most treasured friends of life, I felt the holiday spirit well up inside of me. ¬†I am not normally a sucker for anything holiday– I believe Christmas often promotes commercial overkill, a return to half-hearted theology and spirituality, and a style of giving that is temporary and forgettable– ¬†but the smell of gingerbread in a cheery light-filled kitchen with a great friend humbled me to a place where I could be open to receiving the season’s graceful simplicity. ¬†As we listed to his years-perfected Pandora station for Christmas music, we shared a knowing smile as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” began to be crooned. It’s not my favorite song of the season by any stretch of the word. ¬†The older I get, though, the more I am touched and inspired by one line that expresses so fully a common theme in my life, one that I hope will be a very long-lasting montage with which I can identify. ¬†Sinatra sang, “through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow,” and every part of me paused to pay tribute to the beautiful web of support I couldn’t untangle myself from even if I tried (which I have no desire to do anyway).

I am filled to my brim with endless refills for everything those fates have allowed, for all the time and compassion my dearest have invested in my relationships with them, and for the luxuriously rich life I lead which enables me to so actively pursue the simple, pure act of knowing people in their truest forms.

Happy days of celebrating, whatever your cause(s) may be.

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THE SCIENTIFIC WAY TO…

Work With Others (From Wired Nov 2011):

Looking out for number one is not a great survival strategy. ¬†We know this intuitively or we wouldn’t tip waiters or stop at red lights. ¬†Game theorists discovered years ago that cooperative strategies usually produce the most success. ¬†Computer models show that the top dog isn’t the most ruthless; it’s the one who reciprocates. ¬†Math proves the golden rule.

There were conditions, of course. ¬†If you’re “nice”– that is, if you cooperate– but your competition responds with lying or cheating, you have to retaliate. ¬†(Forgiveness is part of the equation, too, though. ¬†Slap the wrist and move on.)

The theory got more support when evolutionary biologists started noticing how important cooperation is to evolution. ¬†“If I am willing to let others have a slightly bigger share of the pie, then people will want to share pies with me,” wrote Harvard researcher Martin Nowak. ¬†“Generosity bakes successful deals.” ¬†In other words, a social group that plays by these rules becomes a kind of superorganism. ¬†(Like an any colony– or Twitter.) ¬†That’s especially true in a globally integrated world. ¬†So unless you’ve got a ship packed for Mars, best to play nice.