Close Your Eyes And Dance

Although I’m dancing in a room full of people on a hardwood floor, I’m really alone, my toes gripping carpet as I twirl around and around, arms outstretched. I’m a little girl, wearing pink spandex shorts and a tank top, my pixie haircut grazing the arc of my ears. Sunlight cascades in golden beams from the skylight, dappled by tree boughs. It warms my face as I dance free, swinging arms and lengthy legs in awkward unison. I’m all elbows and knees. But I don’t care. I’m humming along and my eyes are closed. If I can’t see anyone, then no one can see me.

My parents’ 45 spins on the record player in the living room. I crank up the volume.


In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle, the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight

Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh

I wiggle my hips and bob my head. I stamp my toes. I reach my hands to the sky and sing aloud with the chorus.

Hush my darling, don’t fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight

I move like the spirit’s in me. And it is. And it always was. And that’s what I realized tonight in my 27-year-old body still wiggling and dipping to the beat, pretending like no one else is in the room.

When the song ends and another begins, I open my eyes. I see a room full of bodies moving joyfully. Every dancer is unique. Each movement is flavored with emotion and a personal story. The music liberates us all a little deeper and the air vibrates with aliveness.

I don’t know if I’ll ever see that living room again, the place that was my dance stage during all those early years, but what moves me to dance doesn’t rely on a place, or age, or any other condition.

The same goes for you. You can bring the playful, carefree dancer in you wherever you go, and through whatever circumstances life has you face. Whenever music draws up in you some fiery passion that commands your soul to express itself, that’s the dancer. It can always be accessed, and it doesn’t grow old. Even though the way you move might change over time, the essence of dance is an act of surrender. It only requires that you let go (elbows, knees, warts and all) and let yourself express what’s inside.

Just remember, if you start to feel shy, close your eyes! Works every time.

Three Red Dots – The Constellation of Existing

The wind brushes its playful fingertips across my temple and cheek bones, my lips and eyelids. I hear its song from the wind chimes and then the birds and the laughter of a couple walking by holding hands. When I close my eyes, I see three red dots glowing like the embers of a fire.

The sun is standing on the horizon with arms stretched up to the sky, just as she did in a photograph before she died. I feel the arms, her arms, like rays of love, beaming across my skin. It’s that time of day when half of life is splashed in vibrant color and half in blue shadow, as the sun makes her unconditional dance toward the other side of the globe.

Behind my eyelids, I notice the space between each of the dots, and I can tell they’re inextricably linked, like three pearls on a thread of grass, waving gently in the wind, each swaying in sync with the others. As long as they stay connected, I say. As long as the they speak to one another.

Song, wings, breath, memory, sunlight. This is the constellation of existing — when we pause in a moment perfectly balanced on the ballpoint tip of time, allowing it to fill the veins of the soul like blood fanning into every artery and cell, so that we won’t forget it; So that the moment becomes a part of us before it blooms into something else — dusk perhaps: when everything will certainly change, but where there is undoubtedly an equal magic to discover.

The light of a single moment can be much greater than time can measure.

The light of a single moment can be much greater than time could ever measure.

26 Love Letters for My 26th Year

Today I turn 26 years old.

It was a rainy day on Thursday, but there was an unusual quality to the light that morning – as if the clouds were being lit from inside and the sky was a burning candle. I trotted up the street to a little coffee shop where you can get a slice of pie with your joe. I talked on the phone with my Dad on the way, and our conversation got me thinking…Thinking about turning 26 and how far I’ve come. Thinking of how even though I’ve struggled at times, the world manages to keep on showing me unimaginable beauty in the littlest of things. Thinking of all the people who contribute to my happiness and well-being — my family, my friends, even complete strangers who do something as simple and as important as smile back. Thinking “damn, I’m SO grateful!” And then I was hit smack-dab in the face with an idea. Right away, I knew it was a good one because it made my toes feel tingly and my heart uplifted.

I texted my housemate, Amber, to see if she’d help me. I received an energetic ‘Yes!’ and so the project began: 26 hand-written love letters to represent 26 beautiful years of living on this planet.

An organization in New York City called The World Needs More Love Letters is doing some pretty fantastic things, and when I happened across their website, I was struck with inspiration!

Writing letters felt like the perfect way to celebrate my birthday and to express my gratitude for the kindness and general magic I’ve been very blessed to receive over the years. What I want out of the project is this: to spread more goodness and touch hearts.

Amber and I began crafting letters to strangers at our dining room table, filling them with words of encouragement, wisdom and love (plus some pretty awesome doodles and stamps). We signed them “from a friend you have yet to meet” or “from a stranger who cares.” They’re anonymous and meant for whoever finds them, destined to fall into the hands who need them most in any given moment in time. They’re intended to represent little signs of life’s blessings. And we like to believe they could have the power to change the course of someone’s day, maybe even life. You never know! It could happen.

I even got my co-workers to help me out with the project. During a break at the office, we pulled out colored pens and scrawled love-words onto blank pages. We drew hearts. We laughed as we read them aloud to each other before folding them up and daydreaming about who would open them.

Today Amber and I set out to scatter the letters. It was a day full of smiles as we completed stealth love-letter missions, hiding them all over the city. We put a letter in a row of seed packets at the Portland Nursery and another in a garden fairy scene, tucked between tiny houses and lanterns. We hid them between movies in our favorite foreign film sections of the video store. We tucked them into books that held significance for us at Powell’s and in rows of greeting cards. We even taped one letter to a coffee shop’s bathroom mirror.

My favorite letter delivery of the day was when we drove up to Mt. Tabor (a lovely nature getaway in Southeast Portland) intending to leave a note in a plastic ziplock bag on a hiker’s car. Unfortunately, the rain had kept hikers away and there weren’t any cars, so Amber set out to leave the note near the trailhead. That’s when, out of the blue, a lone runner came jogging toward her; she glanced back at me, a question mark on her face. “Do it!” I yelled, cheering her on. And so just as he was about to run past her, she stuck her hand out and passed him the note. Back in the car, we grinned through the rain-freckled window as we watched the runner saunter down the trail and take a peek at the letter he was now carrying in his right hand. It was a rush of good feelings as we drove away, nodding our heads to the music. Success.

The 26 letters project has been so much fun and created such a memorable day. I enjoyed it so much, I think I’m going to do it again next year.

Nah, I don’t want to wait that long!! I’ll do it sooner. 🙂 After all, there’s nothing as sweet as writing a love letter.

Overall this has been one of the best birthdays yet and I’m feeling really good about the year ahead!

If you would like to write your own love letters (which I highly recommend!!), check out this web page for some good tips:

Here are some photos of the project and a great quote about letter-writing…enjoy, and thanks for reading!

“How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.” ― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood


caught in the act

caught in the act