Monday, February 8, 2010

Endure. Then Celebrate.

A year ago my heart and life were broken into pieces, and I wasn't sure life was worth living. Pema Chodron, my amazing therapist, my friends and family, literature, art and music helped me move to a new level of appreciation of life.

How can it be that now I'm full of joie de vivre? How can it be that I love to dance around alone or with friends in my apartment? How can it be that I'm open to new love? And to travelling, and cooking, and hiking and running, and the life of sensual pleasures? I enjoy being alone, and I enjoy being with my new love. I'm challenged by, and appreciating, my new classes. I can see my students have whole worlds they swirl in, worlds that can teach me as much as I can teach them.

Perhaps it takes coming close to death to love life at a new level?

Of course, there's wisdom of friends that always strikes to the depths. Here's an example. My friend Mike wrote this poem after I told him about my new relationship:

For Kathleen

I hate to say I told you so.
But I will. Because I did.
Of course, you know I'm lying
I love to say I told you so.

Go work your wiles on them
Said I. Snap your fingers and
Strike them blind if you don't
Like them. Fuck them if you do.

While you're whirling around
You'll bump into one that closes
Your eyes and opens your soul.
That's your man. I told you so.

I'm in love with the possibilities of life. I feel that there's barely enough time to do all I want to do. And at the same time, I remind myself to stop and appreciate the moment. The moment, after all, is all we really have. Perhaps this is aging, an accumulation of wisdom. Don't get me wrong. I don't have it all figured out. It's just that I can experience the richness, and ambiguities, and complexities of life in a way that I didn't in my teens, twenties and thirties. In a way that I didn't pre-divorce.

Probably in a related vein, creativity has been infusing my life lately--a strange attractor, to be sure. It's as though my new life energy is a magnet for all kinds of exciting creative acts. Here are some of the things on tap:

Feb. 27 (Saturday), 3 p.m, Fremont Area Writers talk at Mountain Mike's Pizza, 35760 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA.

March 11 (Thursday), 4 p.m in the MLK Library, I'm doing a joint reading with Cecilia Woloch. I'll be talking about the function of poetry in my new novel, Complementary Colors.

March 27 (Saturday), 9 a.m. at the Quilts & Textiles Museum in San Jose, I'm giving a 3-hour workshop for SWAN Day:
"Nothing happens, and nothing happens, and then everything happens." -- Fay Weldon
A lot of life feels like we are traveling on a familiar road. Then, suddenly, by choice or not, we face a crossroads: a place where multiple, unfamiliar roads converge. We all have periods in our lives that we can identify in the moment, or in retrospect, as "at the crossroads." These times can be painful, exhilarating, or both. No matter the feelings stirred up, being at the crossroads is a rich time. A time of possibility. Of transformation. In this workshop, we will engage with, capture, illuminate and explore life's transformations through writing. We will also probe intersections among poetry, prose and visual art: creativity's crossroads. In this vein, we will engage with the exhibition of poetry and quilt art of acclaimed artist Joan Schultz. Participants will be provided with opportunities to share their writing and discoveries.

April 7 (Wednesday) at 7 p.m., I'm doing a reading from my new novel, Complementary Colors, at the MLK library at 7 p.m.

April 10 (Saturday) at 1 p.m., I'm doing a poetry reading with a number of other San Jose poets at the San Jose Museum of Art. The reading is based on poetry written by various Bay Area poets in response to one of the museum's exhibits. We were all invited into this project by Nils Peterson, our county's poet laureate.

Life is not to be given up on. Sometimes it's to be endured until we can celebrate it.