Yesterday the world lost Mary Oliver, a person who taught me how to write and how to live. Rest In Poetry, Mary. We will certain rest in yours.
Don’t Hesitate by Mary Oliver
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate.
Give in to it.
There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be.
We are not wise, and not very often kind.
And much can never be redeemed.
Still life has some possibility left.
Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world.
It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case.
Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty.
Joy is not made to be a crumb.
Remember that a fire can also be a kiln. Whether it consumes you or improves you is all about your perspective. I’ve had a very difficult 24 hours. This point-of-view and great friends got me through. If you’re going through a tough time, I hope this idea helps you, too. Sending you love.
“The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30. You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” ~Tina Fey
Strongly feeling this sentiment from the great Tina Fey as I get ready to begin grad school in biomimicry on Monday. A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have been so dang supportive of this whole process. It’s really overwhelming and exciting and mind-boggling that I’m standing on this precipice and taking the leap. I’m scared and happy and nervous and thrilled and in awe that this all worked out as it did. All the feels.
I couldn’t have dreamed a better next step. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and I’m going to work my tookus off to do the very best I can. And to think this is all happening right now because Alie Ward interviewed a shark expert on the Ologies podcast about the healing properties of its mucus. Goodness, I will never forget that moment when I was on Broadway across the street from Lincoln Center walking to work, completely enthralled with the idea of finding a class or workshop in biomimicry. I never thought I’d find a whole damn Master of Science in this discipline and that I’d get in. Magic is everywhere; it’s all around us all the time.
If you’re starting something new in this new year, I hope this quote by Tina Fey helps you, too. Be scared and do it anyway, whatever it is. We’re all in this together. We’re all just walking each other home.
Did you know that Rockefeller Center now rises on a plot of land in the middle of Manhattan that once served as the site of the country’s first public botanical garden? I had no idea about this New York City secret until yesterday when I listened to an episode of the Science Friday podcast.
Author Victoria Johnson wrote about it in her gorgeous book, American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic. New York City will never stop amazing me because there will always be new stories to discover here, histories and achievements and inspirations literally buried underground, waiting to be unearthed by a curious soul. What a joy! What a gift!
“Time’s chief beauty is you can’t waste it in advance. The next year, day, hour lie ready for you, perfect, unspoiled, as if you’d never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose” -Arnold Bennett
Today you get a whole new start. You’ll also get a fresh start in an hour, even in a minute. You are never stuck. Every moment is a chance and a choice to change.
My year of yes in 2018 was a year of doing things that scared the hell out of me. And I’m proud of myself for getting through it. I pitched creative projects more often than I ever have in my life. I went places and did things that I never imagined I would have the courage to do. I met amazing people who inspire me and raise my spirits and sense of hope. I kicked rejection to the curb after some serious self-doubt every single day. I’ve built up a powerful immunity to rejection that I know is going to serve me well. It was hard-won and not easy, but I’m glad I dedicated myself to it. Sure, rejection still hurts but the sting isn’t quite as strong and it doesn’t last as long. And for that, I’m grateful.
And if I’m honest with myself, I also did a lot of things that I didn’t necessarily want to do or need to do in 2018. There was definitely some time wasted saying yes that I wish I could get back. Some of the things I did I absolutely didn’t enjoy. I did run myself a little ragged, which is my natural tendency. I don’t rest easily nor often. It’s against my nature. I wish it weren’t but this is the raw material of me I have to work with, and so I work it.
Some time in November, my friend, Ashley Semrick, put up a post on Instagram in which she asked people to send her their favorite words. Mine: brilliant and joyous. And as soon as I articulated that second word—joyous—I started seeing joy everywhere from the grocery store to outdoor advertisements. It was everywhere I looked. Now, you could argue that the last couple months of the year are all about the joy of the holidays. And that’s true but I also think there’s something more. I think that word kept showing up persistently for me as a sign. Joy is a filter I can use in this coming year to do what my friend, John Bucher, calls focusing on the great rather than being distracted by the good.
My best days are ahead of me. They’re ahead of you, too. I’m proud of the work I’ve done up to this point; I’ve gotten so much further in life than I ever dared to dream possible not that long ago. And. And. In 2019, I’m going to press my luck on the joy meter even further. If something (or someone) doesn’t bring me joy, then I can’t focus my time or energy or talent there. We have a very short amount of time on this very strange third rock from the sun, and that time has to be used wisely, now more so than ever.
So that’s the promise I’m making to myself in this new year: to look for, seek out, create, and celebrate joy. I’ll be talking about the joys of my life, big and small, right here on this blog, and on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I’m looking forward to this journey of joy more than I’ve ever looked forward to any journey before. My hope is that I will find what I seek, and that by this time next year I’ll be a little less tired and that my life will have more joy. That’s the goal.
What are you looking forward to in 2019? Happy New Year!
The greatest part of being an adult is that you get to define who you are. That’s your domain, your choice, and yours alone. Rest and revel in your authenticity. It’s all yours. Happy weekend.
“When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it.” ~Boris Pasternak
I used to wait for big moments, sign posts from the universe, that I was on the right track, doing the right thing, making the right choices. Poor Brian has listened to me prattle on endlessly in my sessions with him about my plans A, B, and C, followed swiftly by the making of plans D, E, and F.
“Because what if I get it wrong?” I would say.
To which he always replies, “You need to trust yourself enough to know that no matter what happens, you’re going to make it work. You always have, and you always will.”
And he’s right. Dammit, he’s always right.
In these many years of trying to figure it all out, I’ve learned exactly one thing—that the big moments are never dressed up as big moments. I have to get very quiet to hear them; I have to stare at them for a long time to really see them for what they are. And I often have to do things that my mind doesn’t understand because my heart knows exactly what needs to be done. And my mind catches up with my heart, eventually.
My hope for you today is that you find a single moment to get very quiet, to hear the beating of your heart so that you can see the tremendously opportunity in this day. And then I hope you make the leap to make the most of it. I’m cheering for you. I’m always cheering for you.
My 2018 resolution can be summed up in one word: Yes. My friend, Ria, recently told me about an article she read in which the author explained that when you commit to saying yes, your day ends up in a completely different place than where it started. And I’m all for that. Yes to:
I’m going to make 2018 the best year of my life so far in every way. And I’m going to lift others as I rise. We’re doing this.
“Sometimes we fall down because there is something down there we’re supposed to find.” ~Unknown
This week I wrote a guest blog post related to my book that details the journey that led me to find Emerson. I had to take a long and winding road to meet her, and that road was often difficult to navigate. During the rough times, I would have given anything to have them end as quickly and painlessly as possible. Now in hindsight, I can see why they were necessary. The difficulties gave me so much more than they took away. The things they took from me needed to leave my life, and what I learned and the people I met in the process of my healing are now some of the very greatest gifts of my life. Experience is funny that way; it’s only with time and distance—sometimes a very healthy dose of each—that we see our difficulties for the treasures that they are.
If you’re going through a difficult time right now, I want you to know this: eventually, maybe years from now, you will look back on this very moment and I promise you that it will make sense. You will come to appreciate it as much as you appreciate every joy in your life. The road out of your difficulty may not be easy, but the strength you get from that climb and the view that you will find at the end of that road will make it all worthwhile. So keep going. One foot in front of the other. One moment after another. Breath to breath. That’s the best any of us can do, and it’s enough.