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On This Day, Reaction to the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

May 07, 2011 By: admin Category: Meditation, Mom

This (below) is EXACTLY how I felt this morning, and I was there on 9/11. Smoke and human remains-filled ash flew into my Brooklyn apt windows. On that day the weather was still warm enough to have the windows open. On that day, if I hadn’t decided to work from home for only the 2nd time in my whole life, I would very likely have been trapped underground on the 2/3 train as it headed near the Trade Center on it’s way uptown. All the trains were fine on that day, but Mom and Dad and all of you wouldn’t have known where I was until hours later, and then only if I had been able to get a cell signal out. On that day, by 9:30am, cell service was barraged and many many many calls didn’t get through until the afternoon.

When I heard the news this morning I burst out crying. Not for Bin Laden, but for our country and all those who celebrate(d) his death. It’s a sad day when anyone rejoices over the death of another. I also cried because all of the stresses of that day, and the many many months afterward for NYC, were so hard and changed us so much and were called back by this news of today.

I’m glad I’m alive, and I’m glad he’s dead. I just don’t think we (or anyone) has to gloat. That’s not honorable.

Much love, and thanks for reading,

Alexia

Osama bin Laden is dead. One Buddhist’s response.

“In the Shambhala warrior tradition, we say you should only have to kill an enemy once every thousand years.” –Chogyam Trungpa

So, Osama bin Laden is dead. We killed him. There really was no choice. We were clearly in an “us or them” situation and if we didn’t kill him, he was going to continue to do everything in his power to kill us.

As Buddhists, we are supposed to abhor all killing, but what do you do when someone is trying to kill you? Obviously great theologians have pondered this question for millennia and I’m not going to try to pile on with my point of view, which would be totally useless.

Instead, I’ll pose this question: How do you kill your enemy in a way that puts a stop to violence rather than escalates it?

Strangely, I keep coming back to the same rather ordinary conclusion: the answer is in our ability to face our emotions. When we know how to relate to our anger, hatred, despair, and frustration fully and properly, they self-liberate. When we don’t, when we can’t tolerate them and therefore act them out, we create enormous sorrow and confusion.

Look at your own reaction this morning.

Was there even a hint of vengefulness or gladness at Osama bin Laden’s death? If so, that is a real problem. Whatever suffering he may have experienced cannot reverse even one moment of the suffering he caused. If you believe his death is a form of compensation, you are deluded.

There has been an outpouring of misdirected jubilation, as if a contest had been won. Nothing has been won. Unlike winning a sporting event, this doesn’t mean that our team has triumphed. Far from it. There is only one team and it is us.

One of us is gone, one horrific, terrible, vicious one of us…is gone. I don’t feel regret for him or about this. I’m regretful for the rest of us who are now left thinking that this is a cause for celebration. It is not.  It is a cause for sorrow at our continued inability to realize that there is no such thing as us and them; that whatever we do to cause harm to one will harm us all.

When we hate, we cause hate. When we think we have won by vanquishing our enemy, we have lost. In killing Osama bin Laden, “they” lose because one of their leaders is gone. But we lose too, because we have deepened the causes and conditions that lead to more hatred and its consequences. This is not over.

Then, what to do? I don’t really know, but for me, rather than cheering on this day, I’m going to rededicate myself to the idea of brotherhood towards all, even those that want me dead—and not because I’m some kind of really good person. I’m not. Because I know it’s the only way to stay alive—in the only kind of world I want to inhabit.

Perhaps the way to kill your enemy as a way of putting a stop to violence rather than escalating is to shift our view of “enemy” altogether. Our enemy is not one person or country or belief system. It is our unwillingness to feel the sorrow of others—who are none other than us.

So take aim at this enemy completely and precisely. Feel your sadness for us and them so fully and completely that all boundaries are dissolved and we are left standing face to face, human to human, each feeling the other’s rage and despair as our own, one world to care for.

If you’d like to try to generate such a switch, please try loving kindness meditation. Here is audio instruction in the practice.

“…when you do not produce another force of hatred, the opposing force collapses.”– Chogyam Trungpa

 

Sometimes…

April 22, 2011 By: admin Category: Love

Sometimes you just have to let go. It’s horrible, dreadful, you love this person… but they’re gone… even when they’re still alive. Sometimes.

I haven’t been able to write. Where do I start? So many emotional commitments now… Who will read this and think the wrong thing and not have the courage to contact me to ask?

Years from now I’ll start writing this backstory, fill in the blanks. But for the moment, please know that I did all I could for you. There’s so much more, but you’re not in a place to take it in…. and so I’ll take it all into the future with me and keep it safe. For when you’re ready.

“A Vision In A Dream. A Fragment.”

January 20, 2011 By: admin Category: Boston Beats, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, House, iPhone, Living, Love, Meditation, Michael, Unemployment, Video

This will be a very “meta” post, as I originally wrote part of the below in an email to my aunt, and then added to it a preface that I then, along with the email, published onto Facebook. It now here, in it’s entirety, with yet a new preface. A Pre-preface?

Anyway, I think the message contained herein should be shared far and wide, and so I’m publishing on the interwebs in the two places where I know it’ll do the most good. :) Enjoy.

“Hey everyone. This is my first FB note. It’s actually an email I wrote to my aunt who is a dream worker. I am adding it here because my situation is universal, and I thought maybe some of you are feeling the same way. I thought sharing might help some of you to not feel so alone and scared–as I do sometimes–and might help me let go of some of the hope I have that I will be able to keep my sweet, safe life exactly the way it is right now: sweet & safe. I’ve been studying Buddhist meditation and philosophy for over a year and have been resisting the concept of impermanence since the beginning. :) I guess sharing this note is my way of finally accepting it.

Anyway, I hope you can get something out of this. This is a terrible, terrible time for so many of us, but something I’ve learned recently is that the love in the artist community here in Boston is a-s-t-o-u-n-d-i-n-g. You all have helped me so much I almost don’t know what to say except that I am grateful. You are all so beautiful it actually brings tears to my eyes as I write this, and makes it sooooo clear to me why I’m a filmmaker: I have a classic excuse to stare at all of you FOR HOURS, and have the skills necessary to help share your beauty with the world. :)

Enjoy, and thank you so much for your grace and vulnerability. We are giants. :)

With love,

Alexia

“I had an intense dream the other night that I haven’t been able to forget. Thats impressive for two reasons: 1-I haven’t been dreaming much in the last few weeks, and 2-I think I can count on one hand the dreams that have lingered in my mind days after having had them.

The dream is very simple in imagery: my iPhone broke. That’s it. Here are the details…. I was talking with someone about the iPhone being very rugged, and that I’d dropped it a lot and had only incurred minor scratches and cracks. As I was talking I accidentally (truly an accident) dropped my phone. It crashed to the floor and looked fine from my vantage point of just bending my head to look. But then I bent my whole body to pick it up, and when I grasped it I saw that it had been split in two, vertically. This is almost completely impossible for an iPhone. In order to achieve this kind of break, you’d have to put the phone between two vice grips and forcibly snap it. Even then, you’d never get the straight-up-and-down break that I got.

I picked up the phone and rose. The edges of the breaks were jagged, but I could still push the pieces together and have them fit. So I did just that, and what do you know, the phone still worked. I had to hold the pieces together very tightly, but my friend and I thought it was pretty amazing that it still worked even in that scenario. Still within the dream, as I looked down at the blinking, broken phone, I thought to myself, ‘Well, there it is, I have to get the new iPhone 4.’ 😉

That was the end of the dream.

There was an ominousness to that last thought, however funny, about needing to get the new phone. This thought has it’s origins in my very scary economic situation… For two years I haven’t been buying anything. At all. Food and gas and the occasional beer. That’s it. I haven’t gone out to eat, haven’t gone to the movies, haven’t bought a book, haven’t gone to see any of my friends’ bands play if there was a cover charge. The only times I’ve left the house, actually, have been when I was able to arrange for several meetings and events to occur on the same day so I wouldn’t waste gas. You get the idea… My current iPhone-a used one given as a gift to me from Michael (my brother)-has been testy and slow for over a year. I have needed a replacement for a long, long time, but haven’t dared spend $300 to get it for fear of not being able to make the following month’s mortgage payment. This is a fear that’s been with me for a while. It’s no longer a paralytic fear, but still there none-the-less.

Anyway, the fateful day has finally come: it’s January 20th and I don’t have enough money to pay for February’s mortgage so I have to open up one of my retirement accounts. I only have two and the one I’ll be opening was started for me in 2003 when I was at Harvard-Smithsonian. They contributed to the fund, I never did, so, in a sense, all the money in there is “free.” Taking any of it out, though, before I’m 65, will incur a tax penalty. So for something like $4000 I have to remove $5000 and lose $1000. Again, as this is essentially “free money” I’m not stressing too much. I AM stressing about what will happen if I don’t get a job before April 1st. Because if that happens, then it will mean that I have to go into my second retirement account, the only one I have left, the one I’ve been adding to and growing since I was 23, and the one that I hoped would be my nest egg. If I have to go into that one, then the small life I have come to know, the tiny life here that I have worked and saved so long to build around me, will slowly evaporate.

In the dream, when I looked down at my phone I thought: ‘If you hold it together very tightly, it’s definitely still a phone, but you can’t ignore that if you let go… it just won’t work any more…’ “

Hell In A Handbasket

January 19, 2011 By: admin Category: sustainability

I know that extreme weather events are endemic to our world, so this isn’t going to be an whiny, alarmist “Oh, holy shit, climate change is going to fuck us all in the ass within MY LIFETIME!” post. No. Because what I’ve been reading in the last few months has more to do with unprepared our designed world is than what Mother Nature is bringing down the pike.

New Orleans, Nashville, Brisbane, Brazil, California, California, California. These are places where extreme weather events have happend and caused multimillions in damages, and many deaths. But these events didn’t happen only because weather patterns are becoming more extreme and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, they happened because our urban infrastructures aren’t designed to collaborate with these events.

That’s right, I wrote “collaborate.”

If you haven’t yet, please read Dan Hill’s long, but very worth the time article about the Brisbane flood: http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2011/01/flood.html#more Dan spells out clearly that the major issues of the flood were ones of human engineering hubris rather than devastating water. Specifically: 1. building a city on a massive flood plain, 2. building houses and other structures in designs not allowing for water to pass by or through.

You see, we have to work with the rest of nature, as all of the rest of nature has always worked with each other. After all, we are as much as part of nature as plants and animals. We are organic beings. In a flood, unless we’re weighed-down, crushed by something, or unconscious, we’ll float. We can also climb trees and run away. And, we’re smart. We can design living structures and communities that deal with any amount of water or wind or mud. We have the tools to save ourselves, but we have to rethink how we live and implement those designs NOW.

Dan Hill said something which really floored me with respect to “collaborating” with the rest of nature. Regarding the Brisbane flood, he said only the humans were suffering “devastating” effects from the water. All other living things, especially the drought-plagued earth, were thriving. Critters and bugs were floating on the water and cooling off and plants were drinking and drinking and drinking. Makes you think. Well, it makes me think, anyway.

We have “evolved” in many ways as a species, yes, but now it’s time to look backward at logical designs and evaluate possible collaborations with them and everything we know now about materials and design engineering. The worse the weather gets, the better it could be for our understanding of ourselves and our world.

Touchdown

December 20, 2010 By: admin Category: Coal, Filmmaking, Love, Meditation

The first stop on what has been a very, very, very long journey came yesterday. I finished the stringout/1st roughcut of my second documentary, “The Dirty Truth About Coal.”

This journey began in August 2007 when I read an article that got me hopping mad. You can read all the backstory about the film on the website: www.thedirtytruthaboutcoal.com. I began researching everything I could about coal production and the dangerous and expensive options Big Coal and lobbied legislators were proposing for how to deal with the carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants that were contributing disproportionately to global warming. After a couple of months I realized how little the average American knew about the dangers associated with coal-fired power plants. We all know enough about the horrors of mining coal, but once it’s out of the ground the troubles are harder to see.

In September of that year I met the man who would change my life: Scott Terrell. Scott was from Truckee, CA and worked for the local branch of the major utility there. As a result of his job he heard that the utility was proposing to build a coal-fired power plant right there in Truckee. Scott freaked out. He knew about the dangers and so, putting his job in jeopardy, he told his neighbors, and before long a grassroots campaign sprang up to oppose the building of the coal plant. Here’s the kicker: they were successful.

I met Scott in San Francisco at a green building conference called “West Coast Green.” I was in the media room waiting for my next interview, which wasn’t for another hour. Scott walked in and said he had a story to tell about coal. I said, “have a seat.” And that’s where everything started.

At the end of the interview Scott connected me with Tim Wagner, then the head of the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club’s Clean Energy Campaign. He was living in Salt Lake City and traveling all over the state educating small communities about the dangers of coal-fired power plants, and helping them to organize protests. We talked over email for a few months and then I moved back to the East coast in June 2008. On my way driving cross-country, I stopped in Salt Lake and interviewed Tim and a bunch of local farmer activists. And got some amazing and horrific b roll of HUGE coal-fired power plants in otherwise gorgeous and unspoiled rugged terrain of rural Utah. Some of that footage is in the current roughcut. On that trip I also stopped in Chicago and interviewed a young activist, Dorian Breuer of Chicago’s P.E.R.R.O. activist group, who would tell me about Dr. Jonathan Levy, a public health scientist at Harvard who had written a definitive report on the effects on public health of emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Up until that interview with Dorian, I had no idea that the pollution from the coal stacks was so harmful.

At a media conference in Boston in February the following year, I met the VP of programming for PBS’ wonderful series, “POV.” I pitched her the film, which at that point was very broad but did include what I had discovered from reading Dr. Levy’s report. I told the VP that it was likely that anyone under the age of 50 in the United States hadn’t take a clean breath of air in their lives. Immediately, I saw her eyes sparkle. “This is definitely something we would be interested in,” she said, but also advised me to review the coal-related films POV had already aired and see if I could come up with something new.

Terrified, but up for the challenge given her interest, I did more research on the health effects of pollution… and the rest, they say, is history. :)

I’ve been editing the film for just over one year. In October, 2009 I went back to Chicago and captured three of the interviews that would become crucial aspects to the current film: Brian Urbaszewski (Respiratory Health Association of Metro Chicago); Dr. Susan Buchanan (MD with specialty in enviro health); and Kim Wasserman, coordinator of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization–a neighborhood youth org. that educates the low-income community of Little Village about air and other kinds of pollution in their neighborhood. Little Village sits 100 feet (across the street) from the Fisk Generating Station (coal plant). I have footage taken from a public park across from Fisk where kids play on a jungle gym in the shadow of the stack.

Even after all these interviews and then finding the legal activist treasure-trove of Conservation Law Foundation here in Boston, I still didn’t really think that I would actually figure out how to make a film that would have a real impact on society. After all, I thought, I’m not Spike Lee, this isn’t “When The Levees Broke.”

And yet, it is.

Somehow, after a year of editing and more interviews, and researching, and white-boarding and finally deciding to settle on a trajectory, I have finished the first roughcut… and it’s fucking GREAT.

This month I’ll add some placeholder b roll to cover all the talking heads, and then will send that out for the first round of feedback. I’ll also submit the film to festivals and grants. This is going to be quite a few months…

In the midst of all this there have been other changes and today brings about punctuation points to them too. Sometimes we have to let things go. It’s not giving up, persay, it’s saying to yourself, “This is no longer something that is helping me to see clearly,” and so if you have the courage you stand up and face your fear about leaving this thing by the side of the road. I’ve done that in a few small ways this past week and already feel lighter. I reorganized my bookshelves, picked stuff up off the floor, ate the leftovers, and sat down for ten hours and cranked out a film. As a result of letting some things go, I am seeing more clearly.

It’s important to remember that losses aren’t deaths. They’re just losses. We should take from what was what helps us and leave the rest. Not even deaths are deaths. The idea that death means the end of someone is silly. People live forever in our hearts and memories, and, if we choose, in actions we perform to honor them and the gifts they gave us. Today I choose to honor those I’ve lost by staying in the present moment and really seeing everything I see.

I also want to thank all of you who read this for your incredible support over these last years. It has made ALL the difference. :)

Happy Solstice!

Love,

Alexia

Bitte

October 30, 2010 By: admin Category: Italy & France Oct/Nov. 2010

This is the photo that defines my firs day in Tuscany: David, Carolyn, and the owner at Il Vinaio, a wine & olive oil shop.

The moment I slid into my seat on the Luftansa flight from Boston to Munich, my body and mind relaxed. I dont know what was in the air on that plane, but it was the most comfortable flight I’ve ever been on. Might have been my attitude, but the food and in-flight service were also excellent. Lastly, I met my seat neighbor, a Saudi name Mahjdi (pronounced “MEHJ-dee”), and we talked for nearly the entire flight, making the time whiz by. I wasn’t at all bugged about the length of the flight, though. It was just over seven hours, but given that my last two international flights were to India, I laughed a little bit about how easy 7 hours was going to be… :)

Mahjdi told me all kinds of things I didn’t know about life in Riyadh, and peaked my interest and shame-of-ignorance enough that I’m considering learning Arabic after Italian, which is now A MUST. :)

Tuscany.

Yesterday was my first day in Tuscany. Carolyn and David have a small, but very well appointed apartment in Pieve di Cerreto, a tiny village outside the larger, Cerreto about 1.5 hours outside Pisa. When we got to the apt. around 2:00pm we wasted no time. I grabbed my camera for a nice, long walk. I bought olive oil for gifts for the French folks, and wine for the three of us for dinners/loungings in the apt. We met their neighbors and chatted in our broken Italian. Turns I actually HAVE some broken Italian. Being here yesterday and trying to communicate with people rebit me with the language bug. I feel awful that I’m not fluent in Italian. It’s such an easy language for me to learn! Once I get home I’m definitely taking a class…

After our walk, I showered, changed and read for a bit while noshing on appetizers of pesto & truffle butter smeared fresh focaccia with prosciutto on top chased by the local wine we’d bought earlier. That was at about 6:00pm. The Italians eat late so our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:00pm.

Dinner @ Osteria i Macelli.

A young guy and his wife run this small, inexpensive restaurant tucked into a valley down the hill from Carolyn & David’s place. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. food. I had vegetable soup, pasta white white truffle sauce–the first time i ate truffles!–duck, wild board, wine and Limoncello. The wine was local too. Macea (Mah-CHAY-ah) is the vineyard/label.

More tomorrow! Lucca!

The Lute Player

October 17, 2010 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

In ten more days I’ll be on my way to Europe. I haven’t been there since 2001, when I worked at Oxygen. It was Italy, and I had been sent there to cover a women’s snowboarding competition. It was the second time in one and a half months that I’d been in Italy. The previous trip had been to Rome for the Italian Open of tennis. We had followed a tennis player as she gave us a tour of Rome, so I’d seen all the major sites. For the snowboarding trip, our boss had given us an extra day, in Rome, to recover from what had been a tough assignment.

Since it had been so recently that I’d been in Rome I didn’t know how best to make use of this gift of a day, so I called home. My mother loved Rome and knew it fairly well. I asked her what she thought I should do and she said: “Find the Caravaggios.” Unbeknownst to me, the city was littered with Caravaggios. They were tucked away in random, secret palazzos, or hidden at the backs of smaller museums. If you wanted to find them, you had to know someone who knew where they were. My mother, long a lover of Cavaggio’s work, thought the best way for me to spend an exciting day in Rome, was to hunt for art. :)

Leaving my hotel after talking with Mom, I headed straight for the Pantheon. I figured, if anyone in Rome knows where the secret Caravaggios are, it’s going to be someone who works at one of the oldest and most famous icons of art that there is. When I got there, though, the only two people on duty were a young couple, and the boy wasn’t really on duty. He’d just stopped by to pick up something he’d left on his previous shift. Still, I approached them and, a bit embarrassed, asked if they had any clue how I might “the lost Caravaggios.” After some translation-stumbling the boy’s eyes widened and a huge, amazed smile broke across his face. He knew EXACTLY where they all were. He was a Caravaggio buff.

He took my map in his hands and excitedly grabbed a ballpoint pen from under the desk. He marked dots all over the city and then handed the map back to me with a proud grin…

On that day the Caravaggios were the least impressive or important things I saw. I saw unmarked palazzos tucked down deep and dark alley streets, met a policeman who told me where there was a series of studies Caravaggio had done of the hands of The Lute Player, saw a young couple-just married-unable to keep their hands off of each other as they wandered through a small museum, pretending to be interested in the art.

I found my center on that day, and have since been moving slowly away from it. I so look forward to this next trip, when I can again lose myself in an ancient city full of answers.

You Can Smell Onions From The Plane

October 13, 2010 By: admin Category: Happiness, Living, Love, Molly, Music, Nik

There’s something that used to happen to older Macintosh computers. They would lock up/crash in a way that would require the user to perform a fixit action called “de-fragging.” De-fragging was actually beautiful. All the colors of the spectrum would appear on the computer’s screen in little rectangles. They would push forward and forward until the whole screen was filled with colored blocks. The different colors represented different things that were wrong with the machine, and the progression of them across the screen was the “de-fragging” action trying to fix them. You literally watched a broken thing try to fix itself.

I always liked watching the de-fragging process, even though it meant that my computer was probably pretty fucked. I was so hopeful that the colors meant the process was going really well and that my machine would emerge like new. But that didn’t usually happen. Once the de-fragging process was finished the computer would display a message basically saying, “I’m really fucked. You need to do something drastic or I’m going to die.”

Well, it looks like I need a little de-fragging myself. You saw that one coming, didn’t ya? :) This morning I got another “Alexia was abusive and an aggressive and insurmountable horror in our relationship” song from Molly. Seems to be no end of them and their message has finally done it’s work and wiped me out. I’ve hit bottom and literally can’t take any more negativity being thrown at me. Molly’s morning email came on the heels of a night of fighting with Nikki, with whom I haven’t been in a relationship for months. She’s mad as hell at me too and let it out last night. So I’ll be going to Europe in a couple of weeks to see if I can’t reconnect with the lovely person I was then and find a little joy. There’s none for me here at the moment. Boston is all tangled up and needs to be de-fragged.

Enter Title Here

September 14, 2010 By: admin Category: Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, PlumTV

I remember it clear as day. As if it was childhood I was calling back. For so long I lived alone without a care in the world…

But those were the days before The Economic Crisis, before “9/11,” before i lost my job, my relationship, and my home to a world falling apart.

How many of us are there? How many of us 40-somethings struggle to “put something together” to make a living? How many of us have moved back in with our aging parents? The luck ones, I think.

Anyway, the summer bandaid job has ended and I couldn’t be more relieved. I thought working at Oxygen, a startup REAL network, was tough, but the standard 16-hour days at Plum TV on Martha’s Vineyard put the big city network startup to shame. In my last week, the week where we covered the local film festival, I worked 82 hours, and then came back to the office and had my soon-to-be-ex boss tell me I took on too much, that I wasn’t a good delegator. Jeez, if she’d wanted the show to suck, she could have just told me. I would have happily delegated what she she’d wanted me to. But that wouldn’t have helped. Then I would have been beaten down and fired for not doing a good enough job.

Sometimes production is just hard, and if you’re not in production what’s even harder is understanding why it’s so hard. My EP is a good woman and a good manager, but she’s not a producer and I guess that’s where she and I got tripped up. There were just some things she wouldn’t understand unless she did them.

Anyway, greener pastures. In my own EPs words “At least you’re getting out.” Indeed. Plum is cute, but they’re spending their money unwisely, as I suppose many startups do. I hope I get a chance to start a company so I can how tough it really is. I’m curious because it seems as though if you’re detailed and efficient about how you spend your budget, and don’t let your ego get in the way, it should be fundamental.

Anyway, I’m off to pick up my fixed car. Then to the Mac store to pick up my new HDs, then back to the house to pack, clean and apply for an LEF grant for my next film “18 Months.” No, it’s never too early to start working on a new film. :)

There’s A Post I Won’t Publish

August 27, 2010 By: admin Category: Abandonment Journal, Coal, Faith, Family, Filmmaking, Going Home, Happiness, Health, House, India, Living, Love, Meditation, Molly, Mom, PlumTV, Uncategorized, Valet Battleship Parking

A few days ago I received a message about something very painful that happened in the past, something that I had done. The event was horrible and was my fault, but what had led up to it was just as horrible and hadn’t been my fault, but the message I got didn’t mention any of that. It just tore open the old wound for all to see.

I’ve been exhausted. Like, really, really, hit-the-wall kind of exhausted, and so when the note came I faltered a little bit because I didn’t have any resources, any strength, to bear up against it. Now, after a few days and some small successes, I’m feeling much better, much stronger, and the note doesn’t have the same impact. I can see it for what it is now: just a big mistake that will end up hurting the writer far more than it ever could me. That said, the note did change something profound in me. Something snapped and finally released, and as I finished reading I knew it was time to put some things away.

I’m apparently going on a long trip, but I think it’s one of mind and not of body. My meditation practice slipped in the last two weeks because we’ve been working just too damned hard. The President & First Family have been on-island and we’ve been all over them, filming, editing shows together quickly, and wringing ourselves out. Well, it’s done now. The “Obama Shows” have aired and the crazy summer season is drawing to a close–which is why I can write this from home at 9:30am on a Friday. :)

One of the things I have to put away are the cats. I spoke to the Animal Shelter here and will likely be dropping the cats off in another week and a half. This will be terribly difficult for me. I care for them very much and am not, as we know, at all good with letting go of things I love. But I don’t want to care for them any more. I just don’t want to. They’re hard in terms of upkeep, and remind me too much of a past I want to turn away from so I can finally move forward in a brand new direction. I’ve been in limbo for over two years. Two years. A lot of that was the economic crisis, but at least 50% was due to raw wounds that have been taking too long to heal.

In mid-Sept. I’ll finally “move” back home and have some serious time to work on the coal film. THAT’S where I live now: in my work. I’ll try to craft a happy life despite the hole in it where Mom used to be, but the main focus will be doing what I do: making stories that I hope will have some impact on even just a few people. And I’ll travel. I’ll go to all the places Mom always talked about but was too afraid to visit. I’ll stay longer than one does for “vacation,” and I’ll get to know new cultures.  I’ll read and I’ll write, and make sure–as much as I can–that my friends are healthy and know that I love them.

We’re all in limbo, in transition. Chogyam Trungpa, the late Buddhist teacher used to talk a lot about negative/uncomfortable emotions being preferable to straight-up happiness because there’s so much energy in them. He said it’s better to walk right into the center of ill feelings and just hang out quietly because what you’ll learn will blow your mind.

Bon voyage, everyone. :)