Monday, May 29, 2006

the geography of being

what is in this trench coat of humanity?
what is this crazy make-up we call living?

so much stuff is running through my head
and i'm rummaging through it tonight.

i guess there's a couple things we humans have in common.
we all have our strategies (for coping).
we all have the stuff we are hiding.
we all have our barriers to loving.

+ then we all have our infinite capacities (we can do/be anything).

gandhi said:
"the difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems."

how can we access the infinite and move beyond everything we've created to block growth and love?

share stuff
sit in the sunlight
touch eachother
be kind
keep our ish
in perspective
in perspective
in perspective
approach each day with intention:
(today i will: listen to a stranger, walk slower, pay attention to the colors in the sky, watch the sun set and rise)

get it?

Sunday, May 14, 2006



i'm reading this book right now (OK OK i'll forewarn you of an approaching cheeze-factor)
"Creating a Life Worth Living" by Carol Lloyd.
actually i've kind of been reading it in pieces for years.
i should finish it already!
anyways, yeah, it's a cheezed out title, but the book's purpose is to get us in tune with both our strong and our weaker elements, in order to fortify ourselves, and to make our life meaningful.

it is important to critically examine our own tendencies (i'm not sayin' it's easy!) and to honestly acknowledge what we are good at, and what could use a lil' work.
so i would encourage each of you to look at yourself and your life.
what are you good at?
what do you do that cultivates joy and wonder?
when do you feel the most alive and on fire for life?

and conversely, it's important to look at the stuff we aren't too hot at.
maybe it's finances, maybe it's our relationships, maybe it's our sense of general well being.

from there, it is important to find a way to hold ourselves accountable, and to create an atmosphere of people around us who will lovingly carry us and support us.

the internet is a great resource for this. it is so easy to find an online or in-the-flesh community of people who are into what you're into, who can become a support system and a source of inspiration.

+ from then it's important to make the changes. and "to do the work" as they say in my MFA program.

we all create lies of barriers within ourselves, and we're on own worst enemies.
the sooner one realizes this, the quicker we can all capture and nurture our inner beauty and potential, and we can offer ourselves openly to life.


last night i saw this incredible-on-a-quick-path-ta-super-indy-stardom band called grand ole' party. i went with my friend and he bought three CD's + now he's going to their show at The Echo up in LA monday!
yup. they're that good.
Kristin, the lead singer, has been called a nouveau Patty Smith and the band's been compared to the likes of The White Stripes.

their sound is indy, metal, garage, broken, raw, it almost gnaws at ya, but in a good way :)
+ Kristin's vocals possess an ancience and an intensity that her sweet soft speaking voice defies.
the lyrics are colorful sensual defiant and in your effing face.
this new band is about to pop ya'll.... check this ish out QUICK!!!!!!!!
remember it's grand ole' party!!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006


i've been meaning to write this blog for a minute.
the other day at Voz Alta and there was this photo/poetry exhibit of kids. it was their poems in their voices.
they were telling their stories, their histories, their origins.
Voz Alta is giving voices to the voiceless.
their words still echo (in me)

i took lotsa notes of the kids’ words at the exhibition. + i'll share some of the stuff i wrote down below. for those of you who are local, i encourage you to head down to Voz Alta and check out this moving exhibition for yo'selves.

these are the kids words. i don't have permission to use them yet, but i really really have been wanting to share :)

I am from....
where the people share their feelings
where people help each other
i am from that beautiful place
where the nights are so dark you can’t see yourself where the sky is full of stars and the luna is so bright.
(unknown author)

i am from the projects and the ghettos
from the hoods and the streets
from the street poets and urban clothes
from polluted air
and corrupt government

i am from where laws don’t matter
and god is your only strength
where you live by the gun
and die by the gun
from broken hearts and patched wounds
and scared feelings
(Jose Perez AKA Browney)

I am from a place where smiles and giggles are essential to life
(Mariana Pulido)

I am from the richness of happiness
(Erika, migrant education student)

+ this:
I kept looking for somebody to solve the problem, then I realized I am somebody.
(author unknown)

sustainability and the underworld (waste-less)

this morning i saw a semi truck driving hundreds of thousands of smashed coke cans, all squashed into symmetrical squares, around town.

i don’t recycle just for this reason.

a couple years ago i read an article in The Utne Reader (a very very lefty/ liberal-leaning publication for those of you who aren't familiar).
the article basically exposed the scam of recycling. how americans and europeans think they are doing the world some good by putting bottles and cans and papers into the recycling bin, only for these products to be shipped across the globe on massive freight ships (fossil fuel burning of course), and on large semis such as the one i saw today... and how often these well-intended “recyclables” have no place to go, and they get moved from one developing country to the next.

the article ultimately proved that one would actually have produced LESS waste if they would have just trashed their “recyclables” ... now i don’t know the absolute accuracy or inaccuracy of this article. sadly, i never gave it another thought i just stopped recycling then and there.
and i got heaps of grief from all my hippy friends of course :)

but lately this concept of sustainability has been coming to me.
i’m one of the worst in terms of waste production, i can assure you. i drive like 60 miles a day. i drink multiple starbucks(es) a day and i never bring my own cup. i do a lot of unsustainable crap like this.

but i must admit i am getting ashamed of my ways.

i read an article by Julia Butterfly Hill (yes, that girl who made herself famous/infamous by living hold-up in a tree for a year :)
anyway, i read an article on sustainability by her a couple of years ago, and it has been coming back to me lately.

the main point of the article was that we DON’T have to live in the jungle and abandon the world as we know it to make a difference.
she listed tons of little minute changes we can implement into our daily lives that can collectively make a difference.

so i thought i’d do a little research, and share how we can make small changes each day and do the world some good.

Ways to Reuse
-Using durable coffee mugs.
-Using cloth napkins or towels.
-Refilling bottles.
-Reusing boxes.
-Turning empty jars into containers for leftover food.
-Purchasing refillable pens and pencils.
-Participating in a paint collection and reuse program.
-Buying Recycled products
-get books from used book stores and from YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY!!!
-take the stairs
-choose the soft light of candles and natural light

ALSO here’s a blog i just found on sustainability and reducing consumption and waste. it’s really awesome.....

There are many things we can do in our own lifestyles. A simple thing that can be done is simply to look for and buy products that have less packaging. In getting food, this can entail anything from planting your own vegetables to going to a farmers market or even just browsing the supermarket for less packaged varieties. Containers and bags can be reused. Cloth napkins and dishtowels can replace paper ones. Broken appliances can sometimes be repaired instead of simply being thrown out and replaced. Paper can be used on both sides before it is recycled. These are just a few ways to personally reduce waste--the options and opportunities are endless. On a more global scale, large initiatives like the campaign in the UK can be supported and funded. Local companies can be encouraged to reduce their waste production.

Recycling and composting are important, but it is also important to get to the root of the problem and to work on reducing waste production. There are many ways this can be done in your own home and on a local and global scale. In the three Rs (Recylce, Re-use, Reduce) lets not forget the most important one: reduce!
source: ES 1051 Blog titled Critical Thinking in Environmental Science

some shame-less self promo

OK so those pics of the band i took? yeah. there just about done.
and i REALLY think ya'lls should check'-em out!!!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

voices chimes

this morning on my drive up to LA i was listening to This American Life. a radio program that documents “everyday” Americans and their simple little lives.

except that none of the stories ever come across as simple or little.

these are stories of desperation, destitution, hope, obscenity, obscurity, love, fear.

the show cuts open the chest and the wounds of what it means to be human. with a scalpel it inspects our relationships our vocations our unspoken inner workings. it’s a documentation of stories nobody else will take the time to document.

today’s show’s central theme was prisons within america.
prison life/ a prisoner’s guide to survival/ female prisoners (80% of which are single mothers) and their affected children.

and this:
a Houston public radio program that airs friday nights where relatives of prisoners call in and communicate to their loved ones in the slammer.

no joke. it actually happens.

according to this program, prisoners are only entitled to use the telephone once every 90 days.

so for this texas prison, the primary way that relatives communicate with loved ones in jail is by calling in every friday night and telling their loved ones, and everybody else listening to Houston public radio at that time, what they have to say.

a third of the callers call rarely. they disclose (typically devastating) news like the death of a loved one, or the retelling of a recent trauma. (the show has become notorious for girlfriends and wives calling and breaking up with boyfriends and husbands).
another third are regulars. they call to say hello, and i love you, and they mention the news of family and friends; the occurrences of their daily lives.
and the rest call to say “i can’t come this weekend,” or to communicate timely information to an inmate.

but my explanation just isn’t giving it justice.

these individuals, these callers, launch into the transgressions and realities of their lives almost without hesitation. there is a spontaneous quality to their awkward monologues, it’s like we shouldn’t be hearing what we’re hearing, we’re eavesdroppers by default:

a kid tells his father “daddy, i just got my school schedule. i’m taking shop.”
the listener can picture the dad smiling when he hears the words.

a man tells his brother, “we got your letter. you kept telling us that you are so blessed to have us in your life. but no. no. we’re the ones who are blessed to have you.”

a woman calls her son regularly. then she tells him she got cancer and she’s sick and the chemo’s not working. then she stops calling. then a sister calls and says, “momma passed a couple weeks back.”

i can’t really say just how moving this was.

i live in a world with no prisons.
my family and my friends are free.
or so i think.

this program made me question (more than ever) our justice system.
and it made me realize no matter who you are or what one defining and deafening act somebody may have engaged in, that doesn’t mean we should stop loving them, stop fighting for them, stop hearing their voices and valuing their lives.

i live in a world with prisons
i live in a world with sad voices
with children
whose mommas
get incarcerated for the drug deals
their boyfriends did.

i live in a world with meadows and madness
with yellow flowers and wind chimes.

Friday, May 05, 2006

koans and cringing

i had a meeting with my teacher at the Zen Center of San Diego today. she basically deconstructed all this stuff i thought to be true.
she gave me a koan to work with:
who am i?
who am i?
who am i?
the more one works with this the more our identities and beliefs decompose into a series of contradictions.

she said for a while this might bring about more pain.


but then we get left with the molecules of our bodies. the banana we ate for breakfast. our thoughts and our reactions.

observing and noticing.

"being just this moment, compassion's way."

Thursday, May 04, 2006


as·pi·ra·tion (sp-rshn) noun

1. Expulsion of breath in speech.
2. The act of breathing in; inhalation.
3. a. A strong desire for high achievement.
b. An object of such desire; an ambition.

i've been thinking a lot about this concept/ideology/intangible lately: aspiration. to aspire.
it seems like some sort of innate human component. we all have plans, goals, desires, yearnings, visions. they drive us, they keep us up at night. for some of it is a compulsive sort of thing. a thing that gnaws at our ability to be present in this moment. we're always caught up in what we SHOULD be doing to contribute to OUR goals and plans and all the IMPORTANT STUFF WE'VE GOT GOIN' ON. for others it is a quiet tendency, maybe habitual or ritualistic or ingrained within our nature. a practice we have developed over time that is a source of joy and contentment. for others, maybe it’s a little bit of both.

but i feel like aspiration is something separate to all of this. aspiration is the little phantom of purpose, of the need for purpose, the need to offer a contribution.
it seems to be so hard to pay attention to this little phantom. to give it a voice and a say in the turmoil, friction, and chaos of our daily lives.

i've been thinking about what engenders aspiration. what feeds it and calls it out? how can we place aspiration, and the intention to contribute purposefully to life and to fellow hu-mans first? because our goals and plans and activities, i believe, are really driven by this desire to give back and offer something with our life.

i guess there isn’t a one-word answer or formulaic remedy. everybody’s got so many things in their life (discovered and still undiscovered) that speaks to their sense of purpose, and awakens this inside them.
i can only offer small recommendations, based upon my own experience, that inspire aspiration, and call me to the bigger things.

-friends, and keeping good company...
-developing a community of people around you, with people who are “into the things you’re into” so that you can share your experiences, ideas, and projects with others, and collaborate and assist one another.
-get outside, even just for a five minute stroll. noticing bugs and snails and details of our external environment wakes us up to the bigger stuff. and it all feels more interconnected. and maybe we don’t feel so alone.
-read inspiring quotes or books or listen to enlivening music
-be warm or as my dad says, “bring cheer”
-be patient
-be thankful
-show love.

these are just a couple things that have helped me out + seem to awaken aspiration within me. they also just make our engagement with life more pleasant and fun!
+ like attracts like, so the more ripples of good we put out, the more we will get in return.
xoxoxoxo - - KT

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

inspired (wikis and oreos)

i need inspiration somethin' fierce ya'll. life feels stifling. sad. devastating. cold. blAAAAAAAAH. not cool. so not cool.
what do we need in these moments of desperation and discontentment.
a friend
a joke to tell or listen to
a warm body to lay (next to)
hot cocoa or cold chocoloate milk (whatever strikes ur fancy)
symbols of strength
body-moving activities
somebody to share stuff with.
back bends
something humbling (thinkin' global)
being thankful for what's there instead of agonizing over what ain't.
and love.
yeah, love.
you gotta give it to get-get it.
and pictures
and photos
and movies
and paying attention to the delicate little things that are always all around (leaves, textures, pillows, colors, fellow-humans and their features, tastes)
yeah. the delicate.