Saturday, March 27, 2010

When Our Identity Changes.

Today, I think about a friend of mine. 

She and I met a long time ago and I remember the way she would tell me that when I was as old as she was, "things would be so different."

She was 27 and I was 22.

We saw each other through a lot, she and I. 

Our friendship went through a few incarnations and was always made of a tough type of fabric, the kind that could stand years of no communication but could get started up with a phone call. 

Many years ago, following such a phone call, she saved me from a tough financial spell by giving me a highly paid job at her fashion photo studio. Our bond was renewed within minutes. 

Yet something felt odd. 

She acted strangely.

I asked and she said that all was fine - she might be a little anemic was all. 

As her impromptu agent, I became more and more concerned as she would leave me in the studio alone for days on end and would not accept the bookings I got her. 

After a few months, she decided to close the studio for the summer and our paths separated again for a while as she seemed to be asking for space. 

Then on January 2, she called me and told me that she had a job for me.

She asked me to take care of her as she and her husband went through Rapid Heroin Detox.

All of a sudden, it all made sense.

Not knowing what I was committing to, I said yes.

And I did. 

The three of us booked ourselves into a hotel room as they both took turns going through a process the doctors only very briefly explained to me.

The notion of time went away and years later, I only think of it as a blur made up of a lot of pain and some sweetness, too. Singing The Rolling Stones' "Angie" over and over to her in the middle of the night remains one of my life's treasured memories.

When it was time to go home I dropped both of them off and kissed her goodbye. 

And that was, I believe, the last time I saw her.

We spoke a few times, since, mainly when I have called her and been able to reach her.

She has divorced, remarried, had babies and well, has grown a new identity for herself. She is now a mom, happy and I am guessing that I remind her of a time that she would rather forget. 

I get it. I do.

And most of the time, I am fully fine with it, knowing that the way I feel about her has little to do with being in the same room with her. 

I also remember how, when my life and identity changed drastically, following my divorce, there were a few people I could not take with me. I remember that it caused some of them a lot of hurt.

But today, I just miss my friend.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Little by Little

One of the joys of my life is my office and the building where my office is.

One hundred years old or so, it simply feeds me. Every time I walk up the (many) steps to my little spot, I am blissed and I feel blessed. I can tell the passage of the hours as the smells and sounds change. From some Mexican breakfast scent in the kitchen very early (most likely Gustavo's) to the voices of kids learning to sing and play music after school... I just LOVE it.

About two weeks ago, I found Maria - who owns the building and serves as a bit of a den mother to us all - wearing her impeccable skirt and kneeling down with a brush as she was applying paint to the third story's wooden floor.

I thought she was just doing a little touch up.

The next morning, there she was again, adding brushstrokes of paint next  to the ones she had made yesterday.

Jokingly, I asked if she was going to paint the whole floor this way.

"Oh sure" she said.


My mind instantly went into efficient mode. I was about to suggest a roller. I was about to suggest 5 rollers, in fact. I just knew that with a couple of phone calls I could get a few teenagers up here getting the job done in an hour.

But then she said: "Little by little. That's my style."

I could feel my whole body and mind shift as I knew that she was sharing something important with me. Something foreign, too.

So, it has been about two weeks and every morning I get to discover a new little patch of fresh paint and a new place for the "Wet Paint" sign.

No rush, no stress - the building IS 100 years old, really. What's the hurry?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You know?

You know that feeling you get when you are walking out of the hairdresser's and you CAN'T wait to be alone with a mirror? Yes, that one.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A BIG whiff of us!

I am going to take my kids and lock us all in our car for a week. Driving is almost optional but South is always a good way to go. 

I want some some laughing, some singing and even a little arguing. 

I want to breathe in a BIG whiff of that essence of us before life starts moving really fast.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Al's Partnership Vows.

During the course of the last episode of our seven-week "Relationship Wisdom Series," Al  mentioned to notion of "mini marriage vows." It was his contribution to my idea of "setting the intent" for a specific situation, maybe a potentially challenging discussion that needs to take place or  - in the case of Chris and me - ... a full day of shared creative work ahead of us. 

On that note, Al told me that he had just written a "Partnership  Vow" - inspired by his work.

Here it is.

(can you find the pieces that made the Relationship Wisdom Series so powerful: Safety, Reliable Membership, Diversity, Autonomy and Purpose?)

I really like it. 


I, John to take you Amy to be my partner on this journey of life.  I commit to grow and learn until I know how to create safety/trust for us both and recover it when it is lost. I guarantee I will get there with you.

I commit to your needs for space - even from me. I will continue to work so that whenever you need a break from anyone or from me, I will help you get it.  I also commit myself to your connection needs. I will continue to work so that even when we are apart you will be able to trust that I will come back to you.  I will grow/learn until we create a reliable partnership that supplies both our needs for connection.  I guarantee I will get there with you.

I commit myself to your needs to be different and to sharing your differing ways of seeing and valuing everything.  I will continue to work until we both feel safely connected in a space where we treasure how different we are and will always be. I guarantee I will get there with you.

I commit myself to your need to always make your own choices for yourself, your body, your property, your thoughts, your emotions, your time and your worth. I will continue to work until both of us experience full respect from each other. I guarantee I will get there with you.

And I commit myself to being a partner in nurturing your soul, its purpose, and its journey on this earth.  I will continue to work to help make this world a better place for us both having been in it, together and separately. I guarantee I will get there with you.

I commit myself to building and recovering love with you for the rest of our lives. I guarantee I will get there with you.  I will do my best.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Yesterday morning, I watched my son walk away from the car, guitar in hand. He was heading out to the 5 minute ferry that would take him to another island for part of the day. There, he would play his guitar for passersby and - as it turns out - come home with a good chunk of cash.

Last night, I asked him if he ever felt self-conscious about performing in front of people (he has only been playing for less than a year and is not yet 12 years old). He asked me what "self-conscious" meant.

I reached inside my brain for an equivalent term that would be familiar to him. "Embarrassed. Do you ever feel embarrassed?"

He seemed confused. "I am playing music. What's embarrassing about that?"

Ok. I get it.

But I still wonder.

So I try again: "Funny. Does it ever feel funny to you to play while people watch?"

So he says - still looking confused: "I go there so people WILL watch me play. So why would I feel funny?"

Purrrrtty Clean.