Saturday, August 30, 2014


The ocean doesn’t want you.

She rejects you time and again when you attempt to enter her depths. But then . . . an act of faith, a submersion, a push, and you are past her angst—you are in her. There you are nothing—a head bobbing on water, no duty, no service. Not waiting for anything to happen, but living in the happening, being the happening. Cool blue, nothing in the distance but that place where the sea meets the sky—the horizon. When you’re feeling dizzy, prevailing wisdom says, look at the horizon to regain your equilibrium.

You know something about who you are in that moment. Who you really are when you don’t have to be anything to anyone. A truth. And even if you don’t understand the truth, it’s still there—waiting to be grasped, accepted. Behind you are the screams of those in the shallow as waves pound their bodies, but you are safe, you are deep enough.

You can’t stay forever in her depths, promises forbid it. Life doesn’t all happen in the depths: some happens in the shallows, some on shifting sand, some on solid ground. When you’re ready, she shoots you out again—a messy, ungainly rebirth—crawling back to the life you made for yourself.

Monday, August 11, 2014


My house is high on the rim of a volcanic crater. This is a good thing when you live in a tropical environment and you don’t check the weather for temperature and chance of rain (sunny, 80’s, 10% chance), but for tradewinds and the occasional tropical storm threat. This is also a good thing when you need to get in shape.

I took my lazy body for a run around my neighborhood, which dips to the valley and rises around the crater again in a three mile loop. I started strong on my one mile downhill with an exhilarating, almost childlike love of running, having a fleeting desire to hold my arms out and holler, “Wheeee!” and continued running on the flat valley where I started to feel the many weeks of inactivity in my muscles. I decided I would walk back up the crater and when the climb started, I smiled and marveled at the nature around me and felt blessed to live in such a place.

But the mountain would not end. It would not stop going up. My legs started to give out, my head was fuzzy from heat, I needed water. I worked to keep my torso upright, but kept wanting to slouch, even crawl, the rest of the way home. So, I did what I always do when I’m uncomfortable…I looked for a way out of it.

There was no way out.

The only way through was up.

There was no giving up. I couldn’t turn back, there was another mountain that way too. It was literally uphill both ways. But then it hit me. It was just like life. I have to climb the mountain to do anything, I have no choice. The only way through is up.

I had to conquer the mountain, and suddenly I had to conquer my unfounded fears too—three inch flying cockroaches and customer service reps and parallel parking. And yes, I've been trying to get a book published for six years, but that’s okay, because the only way through is up.

Then it happened, I made it to the top of the mountain. Sprinklers went off beside me and cooled my skin as I strolled along the grass-lined sidewalk. I turned a corner and saw it—another hill looming in the distance. Just when I think I've made it to the top, there’s another challenge to overcome. I will never really arrive. And the only way through is up.

My fingers started to swell on this last hill, my shirt was soaked with sweat, and when I finally saw my house, Spaceman came on my iPod, like some kind of iPod ESP. “Spaceman says everybody look down, it’s all in your mind.”