sun_set_bravely: (Indigo Here We Go-oh)
I remember reading this letter soon after she wrote it back in 2003. Someone around here posted it, I think. It was a huge balm to me in those difficult times -- the first rocky national and global period I would experience as an adult living on her own. Now, those difficult times are 16 years in the past, and we have come upon many new ones since then. (I can't believe I'm old enough for this to have happened.)

I thought for sure I posted this here the first time around, but I can't find it. So here it is again, in its entirety, for the hearts reading these words, with love:

Do Not Lose Heart: A Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés • Colorado

Mis estimados: Do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now. It is true, one has to have strong cojones and ovarios to withstand much of what passes for "good" in our culture today. Abject disregard of what the soul finds most precious and irreplaceable and the corruption of principled ideals have become, in some large societal arenas, "the new normal," the grotesquerie of the week. It is hard to say which one of the current egregious matters has rocked people's worlds and beliefs more. Ours is a time of almost daily jaw-dropping astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

...You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet ... I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is — we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement. I cannot tell you often enough that we are definitely the leaders we have been waiting for, and that we have been raised since childhood for this time precisely.

...I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able crafts in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind. I would like to take your hands for a moment and assure you that you are built well for these times. Despite your stints of doubt, your frustrations in arighting all that needs change right now, or even feeling you have lost the map entirely, you are not without resource, you are not alone. Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. In your deepest bones, you have always known this is so. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

...We have been in training for a dark time such as this, since the day we assented to come to Earth. For many decades, worldwide, souls just like us have been felled and left for dead in so many ways over and over — brought down by naiveté, by lack of love, by suddenly realizing one deadly thing or another, by not realizing something else soon enough, by being ambushed and assaulted by various cultural and personal shocks in the extreme. We have a history of being gutted, and yet remember this especially ... we have also, of necessity, perfected the knack of resurrection. Over and over again we have been the living proof that that which has been exiled, lost, or foundered — can be restored to life again. This is as true and sturdy a prognosis for the destroyed worlds around us as it was for our own once mortally wounded selves.

...Though we are not invulnerable, our risibility supports us to laugh in the face of cynics who say "fat chance," and "management before mercy," and other evidences of complete absence of soul sense. This, and our having been to Hell and back on at least one momentous occasion, makes us seasoned vessels for certain. Even if you do not feel that you are, you are. Even if your puny little ego wants to contest the enormity of your soul, that smaller self can never for long subordinate the larger Self. In matters of death and rebirth, you have surpassed the benchmarks many times. Believe the evidence of any one of your past testings and trials. Here it is: Are you still standing? The answer is, Yes! (And no adverbs like "barely" are allowed here). If you are still standing, ragged flags or no, you are able. Thus, you have passed the bar. And even raised it. You are seaworthy.

...In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. Do not make yourself ill with overwhelm. There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by perseverating on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater? You have all the resource you need to ride any wave, to surface from any trough.

...In the language of aviators and sailors, ours is to sail forward now, all balls out. Understand the paradox: If you study the physics of a waterspout, you will see that the outer vortex whirls far more quickly than the inner one. To calm the storm means to quiet the outer layer, to cause it, by whatever countervailing means, to swirl much less, to more evenly match the velocity of the inner, far less volatile core — till whatever has been lifted into such a vicious funnel falls back to Earth, lays down, is peaceable again. One of the most important steps you can take to help calm the storm is to not allow yourself to be taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or despair — thereby accidentally contributing to the swale and the swirl. Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts — adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take "everyone on Earth" to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

...One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires ... causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both– are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

...There will always be times in the midst of "success right around the corner, but as yet still unseen" when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But ... that is not what great ships are built for.

...This comes with much love and prayer that you remember who you came from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth,

©2003 C.P. Estés, All rights reserved.
sun_set_bravely: (Indigo Here We Go-oh)
Ooh, I like this! From Rob Brezsny.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In her late twenties, J. K. Rowling was a single mother living on welfare. That's when she began work on her Harry Potter books. Craig Newmark had turned 42 by the time he founded Craigslist. One of the world's most oft-visited websites is, which Arianna Huffington established when she was 54. As for Harland Sanders, creator of KFC: He didn't begin building the global empire of fried-chicken restaurants until the age of 65. I hope the preceding serves as a pep talk, Virgo, reminding you that it's never to late to instigate the project of a lifetime. The time between now and your birthday in 2016 will be an especially favorable phase to do so. Start ruminating on what it might be.
sun_set_bravely: (Indigo Here We Go-oh)
I won't be in person at either event, but I will be there in spirit. Much love to everyone who's missing her, especially Soren and her family. <3

Originally posted by [ profile] fimbrethil at Velma's Services in New York and Seattle
Here is the information for the two services. Please spread the word if you are in touch with any of Velma's friends and/or the Rose's Turn crowd. Reposting appreciated. Thank you


We are planning a memorial gathering for Velma on Saturday, November 8, at 1:30 p.m., at Washington Hall in Seattle. Everyone is welcome.

There’s no formal officiant. Instead, this is an opportunity for her family and friends to get up and share our memories of Velma. We’re still working on the details of the planning. If you know you’ll want to get up and speak, please tell Vicki, by email at Or if you just want to be with people, please let Vicki know you’re likely to attend so we can get a head-count for food and drink.

Washington Hall is in the Central District, at 153 14th Ave Seattle, WA 98122. We will be in the Lodge Room. The space is wheelchair-accessible and easily accessible by mass transit; there is also a parking lot. We have the room from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., including set-up and clean-up time; if you want to come early and help with set-up, please let Vicki know.

RSVPs to Vicki at please.

New York

A memorial service for Velma deSelby-Bowen will be held Tuesday, November 18, in the theatre of St. James Presbyterian Church, 409 W 141 St (corner of 141 St and St Nicholas Ave) in Manhattan. The service will begin at 6 pm and will be followed with a light repast.

NOTE: If you plan to attend, please confirm by email to, so that adequate preparations can be made to accommodate everyone at the service. (If you forward or repost this notice, please include this information as well. Thank you.)

sun_set_bravely: (Indigo Here We Go-oh)
This LiveJournal, it is a rare and beautiful place. It was even more so in its heyday, maybe 2002-2005, when a few connections expanded my world and I met marvelous humans whom I might not have bumped into otherwise.

[ profile] roadnotes was one of those humans. On Saturday, she passed away. Cancer.

We met perhaps twice in person while we were both still living in Brooklyn, once in 2003 at the piano bar Rose's Turn. She was quiet and marvelous, and we mostly sat together in comfortable, warm silence while others in our group chatted. We spoke about fountain pens, a shared obsession (one that she mentored me in). I never had the chance to sing with her at a piano bar, but I relished her stories of nights spent singing Sondheim at Rose's Turn or Marie's Crisis. Online, she was a generous witness to my heartbreak and falling in love. I can only hope that I was as present for her as she was for me.

Last night, [ profile] freak1c and I stood together at the front of the Erasure concert, where we talked with other fans. One man told a fantastic story of meeting Stephen Sondheim by thanking a young woman at his side profusely for helping him get Stephen's attention. (The young woman turned out to be Sondheim's daughter.) His friend mentioned that she used to work at Marie's Crisis. I mentioned Velma to her; she didn't recognize her name at first so I didn't share the news that she had died. But later, as she scanned Facebook, she looked up at me with a stricken face. "The Velma who just passed away? Yes, I remember her."

In honor of Velma, I spent the entire concert singing my lungs out and I danced, danced, danced.

Her LJ "name" right now is listed as "but ain't no gyroscope can spin forever...." I don't know when she changed it to this, but it strikes me in the heart now. Her spin was fantastic and inspired so many.

Velma deSelby Bowen, you were loved deeply and will be missed just the same.
sun_set_bravely: (Indigo Here We Go-oh)

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Dogs have a superb sense of smell, much better than we humans. But ours isn't bad. We can detect certain odors that have been diluted to one part in five billion. For example, if you were standing next to two Olympic-sized swimming pools, and only one contained a few drops of the chemical ethyl mercaptan, you would know which one it was. I'm now calling on you to exercise that level of sensitivity, Virgo. There's a situation in the early stages of unfolding that would ultimately emanate a big stink if you allowed it to keep developing. There is a second unripe situation, on the other hand, that would eventually yield fragrant blooms. I advise you to either quash or escape from the first, even as you cultivate and treasure the second.

~ ~ ~

Now that is some titillating advice. I'm going to think on this one.

sun_set_bravely: (Indigo Here We Go-oh)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): One of Beethoven's music teachers said, "As a composer, he is hopeless." When Thomas Edison was a kid, a teacher told him he was "too stupid to learn anything." Walt Disney worked at a newspaper when he was young, but his editor fired him because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." I'm sure there was a person like that in your past -- someone who disparaged and discouraged you. But I'm happy to report that 2014 will be the best year ever for neutralizing and overcoming that naysayer's curse. If you have not yet launched your holy crusade, begin now.

~ ~ ~

Rob, I like you so much.
sun_set_bravely: (Indigo Here We Go-oh)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I predict that you will commit no major acts of self-sabotage in 2014. Congrats! I also foresee that you will be exceptionally careful not to hurt or damage yourself. Hooray! More good news: You won't be as critical of yourself as you have sometimes been in the past. The judgmental little voice in the back of your head won't be nearly as active. Yay! Even your negative emotions will diminish in frequency and intensity. Hallelujah! Whoopee! Abracadabra!

~ ~ ~


Age Meme

Apr. 6th, 2013 11:03 pm
sun_set_bravely: (Indigo Here We Go-oh)
It's been too long since I participated in an LJ meme. So here we go!

How this works:

You comment, I give you an age (please tell me how old you currently are so I don't inadvertently move you into the future) and you respond to the meme questions with what applied to you back then, and what's true now.

[ profile] tsarina gave me age 24.

I lived in: the nicest apartment I ever inhabited in NYC and my first real apartment out of college. A Fort Greene, Brooklyn, duplex, with a washer/dryer, two bedrooms, a gorgeous view of the park, and a formerly excellent view of downtown Manhattan, including the Twin Towers. At the beginning of my 24th year, I lived with [ profile] freak1c, who was simply my roommate at the time. At the end of my 24th year, I was not speaking with [ profile] freak1c -- we'd fallen in love over that year while I was still dating someone else, and the ensuing break-up was intensely painful for everyone involved. When I turned 25, I was living with a new (female) roommate who became a dear friend.

Now: [ profile] freak1c and I just celebrated our fourth year in our own home, the first house we have owned, in Austin. It's small, built in the 1960s, and is surrounded by three gorgeous, huge trees. A large yard in the back is currently strewn with dog toys, fallen leaves, and little divots where either the dog or our son have dug holes. Our guest bedroom is also a karaoke room, complete with big speaker, LED light ball, and glittering walls.

I drove: I took the subway everywhere, and loved it.

Now: A hybrid crossover, a used car that we bought from a Land Rover dealership (not a Land Rover). [ profile] freak1c and I share a car, since we are both self-employed, don't want to be buying gas for two cars, and don't want another car payment.

I was in a relationship with: At the beginning of my 24th year, I was dating Christopher, my college boyfriend who was transitioning from acting to poetry and was unemployed and depressed about it. Over the year, our relationship deteriorated and then when [ profile] freak1c moved to Boston for a job after grad school, he and I realized that we were in love with each other. Soon after, I broke up with Christopher and stopped talking to [ profile] freak1c so I could get clarity on what I wanted.

Now: [ profile] frea1kc and I will celebrate our tenth year as romantic partners in October, and our 7th wedding anniversary in September.

I feared: That crazy D.C. sniper. More terrorism in NYC, like an anthrax attack. Hurting the ones I loved. Being stuck forever at the job I was starting to hate. Vomiting.

Now: Still fear vomiting, but much less since I've started to work to heal myself there. Something bad happening to our son. Never getting out of debt, having to declare bankruptcy, both of us having to get full time day jobs and put our son in full-time day care, since we have prioritized both of us being engaged in raising him at this early age.

I worked at: A Yiddish theater as an administrative assistant. I was also writing a screenplay with three friends for a major film director.

Now: Myself, as a writer, a marketing consultant, and a co-founder and co-owner of a social media and public health company with [ profile] freak1c and [ profile] bobbydrake007.

I wanted to be: a writer, a feminist thinker, a sensually alive person.

Now: a more body-mind-soul integrated woman, a present, mindful, and loving mother, a published novelist, a playful, joyful, loving and present partner and wife.

~ ~ ~

What's so lovely to me about the age that [ profile] tsarina gave me is that my 24th year is actually documented here on my LJ. From September 2002 through September 2003. It was one of the most tumultuous years of my 20s, and, in hindsight, one of the most alive.
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In the creation myths of Easter Island's native inhabitants, the god who made humanity was named Makemake. He was also their fertility deity. Today the name Makemake also belongs to a dwarf planet that was discovered beyond the orbit of Neptune in 2005. It's currently traveling through the sign of Virgo. I regard it as being the heavenly body that best symbolizes your own destiny in the coming months. In the spirit of the original Makemake, you will have the potential to be a powerful maker. In a sense you could even be the architect and founder of your own new world. Here's a suggestion: Look up the word "creator" in a thesaurus, write the words you find there on the back of your business card, and keep the card in a special place until May 2013.
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
"The Real Work" by Wendell Berry, from Standing by Words. © 1983

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

No words

Sep. 11th, 2011 06:26 pm
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
Here we are, 10 years later, and I have no real words to say that could touch on how I feel, what has changed, what hasn't. I came of age in the time between September 11, 2001, and September 11, 2011. The world entered a new era, or did it? Maybe we are still waiting for the new era.

Either way, I am glad I am here. I am grateful I am here. I remember those who are not, and I remember the self that I lost that morning, watching from my Brooklyn window. All we can do is love each other. I love you all.
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
Intrigued, and contemplating how my own safety and comfort have been guiding me, rather than my sense of adventure and fun.

"Guidance requires action, but it does not guarantee safety. While we measure our own success in terms of our personal comfort and security the universe measures our success by how much we have learned. So long as we use comfort and security as our criteria of success, we will fear our own intuitive guidance because by its very nature it directs us into new cycles of learning that are sometimes uncomfortable."
~Caroline Myss
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
"We must offer ourselves to God like a clean, smooth canvas and not worry ourselves about what God may choose to paint on it, but at each moment, feel only the stroke of His brush."
~Jean Pierre de Caussade
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The evil geniuses of the advertising industry are hard at work in their labs dreaming up seductive new mojo to artificially stimulate your consumer lusts. Meanwhile, the media's relentless campaign to get you to believe in debilitating fantasies and divert you from doing what's really good for you has reached a fever pitch. And here's the triple whammy: Even more than usual, some of your relatives and cohorts are angling to convince you that what pleases them is what pleases you. So is there any hope that you will be able to hone in on what truly excites you? (It's especially important that you do so right now.) The answer, in my opinion, is a qualified yes -- IF you're willing to conduct intensive research into the idiosyncratic secrets of what makes you happy; and IF you're not scared to discover who you are when you're turned on all the way.
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I need a break from watching you work your psyche to the bone. At least for now, I'm not willing to indulge you in your inclination to do your duty so exhaustively that you suffer. And as much as I admire your drive to get things perfect, I cannot in good conscience encourage you to do that, either. It is therefore with a sense of relief that I counsel you to take at least a week off from the behavior I described. Instead, try playful, messy experiments that are in service to your own needs. Be a freewheeling explorer, a wandering improviser.
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
Where do you get your fountain pens repaired? I have about 6 that need some lovin' to get going again. I found the Fountain Pen Network's forum with all kinds of tips on how to do it myself, but I don't want to. I'd rather pay an expert to do it right the first time. Is Richard Binder the main man, or are there others?


Anyone else who has a good resource, please chime in here, too!
sun_set_bravely: (kali)
You know what I hate? You know what fills me with firebrand rage?

Filmmakers -- usually male, simply because so damn many movies in the world are made by men, but surely some women filmmakers, too -- who portray violence against women in their movies with a certain relish.

You have seen this before, even if you didn't notice it.

It's almost imperceptible, and the violence is often portrayed in order to say, "See how *awful* men can be? See what terrible things men do?" (Like we didn't already know that. Like every single woman on this planet isn't aware that things like rape, domestic violence, sex slavery exist and could, under certain circumstances, be inflicted on her own body.)

For example, I'm 15 minutes into Luc Besson's The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. Not a classic or even good film, but one from a well-known filmmaker. Right off the bat, the English invade a French village. A British soldier captures Joan's sister, tears off her clothes, kills her, then rapes her. The audience is, presumably, supposed to be appalled at this horrible man's actions.

But did you notice? The thoroughness with which the director paints this scene. We see the soldiers, leering, close off every route of escape. We see all of their faces as the ringleader grabs the woman. Now, we know what's going to happen. Audiences are not stupid. The indicators of rape and torture are clear.

But this scene is not over. As the solider tears at her clothes, there are quick but definite shots of the woman's bare cleavage, her long neck, her naked thigh interspersed in this supposedly appalling moment.


For fuck's sake, WHY?

Why does a rape scene need to show such titillating parts of a woman's body? There could have been no doubt what was happening.

It's because the filmmakers have not checked their own misogyny at the door. They throw these images up on the screen without seeing how their own unresolved power issues thread through every female character's line and action.

I have this problem with Joss Whedon, often. In service of his desire to show women kicking ass, he frequently places them into awful, misogynist, violent situations. They usually fight their way out and triumph, but still -- we the viewers have to watch and take in the visual impact of men beating the shit out of women. It's why I stopped watching Dollhouse even before it was canceled. I haven't got the stomach to watch a man hunt a woman for prey anymore.

I understand that this drawn-out portrayal of violence often makes "good" storytelling by setting up just how bad it is before the situation turns.

But my tolerance for watching women get kicked around, blown up, pawed at, and on and on JUST FOR A PLOT POINT diminishes every time I watch another movie.

I can no longer collude with the habit of violence as entertainment.
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
Interesting - Murakami says something similar to the quote I posted from Flaubert back in November:

Haruki Murakami said, "I write weird stories. Myself, I'm a very realistic person ... I wake up at six in the morning and go to bed at 10, jogging every day and swimming, eating healthy food. ... But when I write, I write weird."

I like his style a bit better. I write weird -- I like that.
sun_set_bravely: (Default)
Please do yourself the Sunday favor of clicking on this photo to see the rest of the series. AHHHHHH

sun_set_bravely: (Default)
Flaubert. Paraphrased by Martin Amis in his intro to J.G. Ballard's Complete Short Stories as, "Writers should be orderly and predictable in their lives, so that they can be ferocious and sinister in their work."

Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire comme un bourgeois, afin d’être violent et original dans vos œuvres.

Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.
[Letter to Gertrude Tennant (December 25, 1876)]

Don't know if I agree with this, but it's certainly provocative and intriguing.
Page generated Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:11 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios