This is a print I bought from Alexandra Miller, a young artist I met in 2015. I remember her being almost painfully introverted as we completed the transaction, perhaps surprised that I’d taken such an interest in this print. It’s a piece that I imagine most find heavy, almost grotesque.
The second I saw it, I told others that I saw hope.
Continue reading Becoming untethered
Each morning I’m home, I follow the same ritual. I clean the coffee maker, grind the beans, fill the water reservoir, and press BREW. I reach into the cabinet to choose from double stacked memories, from coffee mug mementos that remind me of events, experiences, and eras of my life.
Aside from photos, I don’t keep many physical reminders of my past, but the coffee mugs are an ever-present exception. I wake up my brain and fuel my morning from these vessels, sipping from the emotions and lessons they still hold.
Continue reading Sipping a little memory each morning
I woke this morning to a fresh coat of snow on my balcony that sculpted the pots from my summer garden into frosted cupcakes. It reminded me of how my former garden would look covered in snow. I could almost feel those virgin steps into a pristine tundra full of serendipity.
For the first time in a while, I missed having a garden whose winter bones called me into the cold to capture its quiet beauty. Someday soon, perhaps I’ll have another plot to call my own. My soul seems to be beckoning nourishment from the soil once again.
For most of my adult life, I thought I possessed a critical character flaw because I don’t have close, lifelong friends. I’d look at people whose inner circle of friends knows what they were like in grade school, high school, or even college — and wonder what was wrong with me.
I look back on the ages of 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45, and my inner circle looks completely different at each milestone, with very little thread between. I remember the moments of the purest, most intense connection with people who now exist mostly in memory or the periphery of life. I’m often overcome with a nostalgic sadness and regret that those moments are no longer on the center stage of my life.
It’s taken me nearly 47 years to understand, but the impermanence of nearly all of our connections is a good thing.
Continue reading Making room for what’s next
My work parking lot is adjacent to a large cemetery. This morning, a dense fog enveloped the trees and headstones, and reminded me of the way the memories of those lost fade with time. It’s up to us to honor them by sharing their story along with our own.
Life rarely goes according to plan, does it? This is especially true in our careers. As we move up the ladder, we gain more influence but our widening scope includes more variables that can steer our ship in unforeseen and unwanted directions — away from our intended targets. The position we dreamed of doesn’t materialize. The project we heralded gets bogged down in politics and bureaucracy.
There’s an old adage — don’t waste a good crisis — that encourages us to take those moments of chaos to usher in change faster than we could during more stable periods. I’d argue that we don’t have to wait for crisis to find our opportunities. We just have to effectively see the opportunity in our reality, even when that reality isn’t what we envisioned.
Continue reading Finding opportunity in our reality
The pain was excruciating.
It felt like someone was grabbing a muscle in the middle of my back.
Then squeezing it.
Then twisting it.
Then stabbing it.
Over and over again.
Continue reading Too young to feel old