I wish this were a happier time in the world, my friend.
I wish there weren’t bombs and fires and families separated and so much uncertainty about so many things.
I’m sending out love to you, to your family, to your neighborhood, and to this worldwide community.
Let us be love.
I know that we’ve opened our hearts time and time again. And so many scary things have flown in.
I know, too, that those sweet little beating hearts of ours, want to beat in and out with love, with light, with tiny joys.
We are built to be resilient.
We are built to whisper words of hope.
Let us open our hearts and find ways to give our time, money, and resources to those who need it.
In last Sunday’s LoveGram, I read you a piece of writing that has to do with joy and generosity.
Some of you wrote to ask if I would send the actual text. Thank you. And, of course. (And by doing so, it fits in with the theme of repetition I was musing about in that LoveGram! Let’s not always be chasing after new things; we can revisit our own reflections/wisdom over and over to anchor it in!)
What follows (below the tiny stars) is a free-write from a prompt shared in a Wild Writing Group I’m in. I had set the timer for 15 minutes and was surprised by what came forth.
Sherry’s Free write:
Although the poem didn’t speak to me, Laurie did. You know how that happens, right? You click play on the video, you listen, and your little pumpkin heart squeaks, “That. That. I want to talk about that.”
Okay, you say, patting its head, looking directly into its eager eyes. Okay.
Laurie said, “We’re letting go of our shallow aspirations.”
I say, “Whaaat? No way.” I’m gathering all of my shallow aspirations and building them a house. I’m collecting shallow aspirations and lining them up in my china cabinet, dusting them off regularly, proudly showing them to dinner guests.
I can’t wait to wear that jaunty little burlesque hat with the big feather sploosh that Maya surprised me with a few years ago. The one with a tiny string that goes under the jaw, so it can sit askew on my head.
I can’t wait to don the black and red fingerless lace gloves, the beaded purse, the little lacy anklet socks.
I can’t wait to waltz with Ian at the Edwardian Ball.
I can’t wait to sip cappuccino at the ferry building, the sun bright in the sky and all the tourists smiling because they are alive and the ground is solid beneath them. I can’t wait to hear the cheerful clang, clang, clang of the trolley.
I can’t wait to use excessive amounts of those lavender bath salts Tricia gave me. I can’t wait for the bath to be extra hot. I am aspiring to use the soft white washcloth my mother embroidered with colorful flowers.
My shallow aspirations are all lining up.
They are dialing my number all day long. They knock on the door and sing silly songs while they wait for me to come to them.
My shallow aspirations are wearing my pink combat boots and the cherry blossom hat. They’re putting on colorful gloves and a furry coat. They’re riding the tandem bicycle at Golden Gate Park. They’re waving to strangers and smiling big, even beneath the mask.
My shallow aspirations are walking from one magnolia marker to another in the Botanical Gardens. This white one from China. This purple beauty from Nepal. This hybrid of white and pink created by a man in 1908 who had an eye for making more beauty.
My shallow aspirations take long deep breaths, noticing how one magnolia is cinnamony and another more sweet.
My shallow aspirations invite me to dinner. They put out the linens and use the fun sun napkin rings. They light candles. They make silly signs that make my family laugh. They giggle. They fart out loud and blush wildly. They strip the bed and wash the sheets and sprinkle sweet powders. They use all the best things that we’ve always saved for good.
I’m holding tight to all my shallow aspirations. I give them pet names. I put them in all my pockets. I kiss their tiny, sea-shell ears. I listen when they whisper at night or on the bridge.
I write down their poems. I learn to speak their language. I ask them to plan parties and when they do, I nudge them to play all the rollicking piano tunes.
My shallow aspirations fold up the rug, kick off their shoes, and dance — each to their own unique beat.
My shallow aspirations crowd the house and make joyful noise. They drop pastry crumbs on the floor and turn the music up louder and their dress straps fall off, revealing lacy purple bras and silky other underthings.
Let go of my shallow aspirations? Oh, no. Never, my dear.
I’m writing love letters to each and every one. I’m buying them train tickets to my house. I’m putting flowers in all the guest rooms. I’m stocking up on pinwheels and poetry. I’m holding each one tight as she arrives. And whispering “yes, yes, yes” to every single one.
Because, my friend, you must know this: when the terrible winds kick in and the rains come, when our neighbors’ swimming pools fill with tears, we must be strong enough to bail and bail and bail.
We must grow our arms even longer to hold up everyone who can no longer stand.
We must make enough food for those who are hungry and sew clothes for those who are cold.
We must taste a little bit like sugar. We must smell a little like lilac.
We must play the music of their ancestors and crochet rainbow love around their sweetest hearts.
We must grow gardens of all our shallow aspirations so we can gobble them up to fuel ourselves for the impossible mission ahead.
Let those shallow aspirations be the jumper cables for our clunker car hearts. Let them turn us into honey to sweeten oceans of bitter tea. Let them make us into snow white butterflies who flit by, bringing winged hope to those who cry for help.
“We must grow gardens of all our shallow aspirations so we can gobble them up to fuel ourselves for the impossible mission ahead.”
I believe that we cannot deprive ourselves of joy, even when it feels shallow against the backdrop of so much suffering.
I believe our joy fuels us to help others.
What do YOU think? What is YOUR experience?
Thank you for being here. Side by side. Holding hands.
Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,