Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Love will solve all your problems, Love will only let you down."

my thoughts constantly revolve around love and relationships and my future since I returned from Japan. I believe that I am absolutely in love with the man that I am dating right now, yet at the same time I still can't help but feel restless and unsure about our future together.
i am so confused about love and our relationship and I am constantly searching for words to help me make sense of it all.
one poet I turn to for inspiration when I am feeling lost in life is Khalil Gibran. He's definitely in my circle (more about my circle in a later blog). Here is his poem on love...


Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of Love."

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.

And with a great voice he said:

When love beckons to you follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, I am in the heart of God."

And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

I love Khalil Gibran because his poetry feels balanced to me. He does not just focus on one aspect of an emotion, he always looks at both sides. I love that he exposes the good and the bad about an emotion. I hate it when people look at things with only rose colored glasses and I also can't stand it when people are complete pessimists. I like that Gibran finds the beauty in the entirety of an emotion.

These are my favorite lines:

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

I can completely relate since I have been in my relationship with Joe, and probably my first relationship where I truly feel I have been in love. Being in love with Joe has been one of the most wonderful and full experiences I have had in my life so far. It has also been something that has really forced me to begin examining what it is I want out of life.

I hope you enjoyed the poem and I hope you are inspired to check out more of Gibran's work...he rocks!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

this weekend's inspirations...

Joe and I went and saw a French film last night at the Embarcadero Center Cinema in the Financial District downtown (I was extra excited because it was across the street from the Fed :). The movie was called the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It was about a very successful man in his mid to late 30's who had a sudden and unexpected stroke and ends up being paralyzed from head to toe. He has "locked in" syndrome meaning he is unable to speak or communicate although he can completely understand everything that is going on around him. It ends up being a very poignant and uplifting story about how he overcomes the challenges of his situation.

Joe and I were talking about the movie as we were driving home and we ha very different takes on it. Joe told me that seeing a movie like that makes him scared about really indulging in some of the more extreme activities he would like to take part in (sky diving, bungee jumping, motorcylces) because he wouldn't want to do anything that could potentially put him in the same position, therefore causing his friends and family a lot of pain.

I see Joe's point but I got something very different from the movie. For me, it was a story about the resilience of the human spirit. How no matter what happens to us, our imaginations and minds and hearts are capable of overcoming is also proof to me that so many of our obstacles in life are self imposed and enhanced by our own minds and usually are in fact not as big of a deal as we make them out to be.

Another realization I had was that I so often take for granted the people that I love in my life. As Jean-Do(the main character) was laying in his hospital bed he was full of grief because he could no longer enjoy the simple physical pleasures of his relationships with people, being able to hug his children or rustle their hair. he could no longer openly express his thoughts and feelings nor inquire about the thoughts or feelings of the people he loved. I can't imagine living a life without physical contact or emotional connection with the people that I love. This may sound crazy but I feel so grateful today to be able to be sitting next to my boyfriend on the couch and to feel the warmth of his body next to mine and his arm around my shoulders. I feel so grateful that I can turn my neck at any moment to give him a kiss.

I stress so much everyday about what I am going to do with my life and how I am going to become the person i dream of becoming that I forget how lucky I am to be able to enjoy so many simple pleasures in life.

I got a really nice phone message from Niki this weekend. She was doing some thinking about life and was thinking about me and some of the issues I have been having and recently discussed with her. I have been stressing a bit about my relationship with Joe and wanting to know right now if we are meant to be together and trying to decide whether or not being with him means I would have to give up some of my dreams in life.

Niki called and said that maybe I should set a time period where I don't think so much about us and our future and just enjoy our relationship for what it is right now. I think that is a brilliant and very zen idea.

Niki made me remember one of my favorite authors...Rainer Maria Rilke. He wrote a book called Letters to a Young Poet which I strongly recommend. One of my favorite quotes fromt he book is, "Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and learn to love the questions themselves."

Niki and Rainer have been wonderful reminders for me this weekend that life is supposed to be enjoyed and not constantly stressed about.

She learned to love him before he thought it was even possible, so he didn't have a chance to hide & mess it up & while it was a little scary at times, mainly he could not even imagine the world without her there.

I first heard of the story people from my friend and basketball teammate Jen, in Tacoma. Recently, I was at a family friend's home in San Diego and saw this story people print on their wall. I like it because it makes me think of what I think true love is...I like that the man just couldn't imagine his life without this woman.

A friend and student of mine in Japan turned me onto this finnish designer. Marimekko is the name of the designer and they do all kinds of fun prints. These are a few of my favorites.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Coffee Shop Exploring..

Here is a glimpse into my favorite coffee shop so far in San Francisco. It is called Jovino and is on Union Street in the middle of a very yuppie little shopping district. I met up with an old UPS friend here and it was love at first chai :)--which is of course what I had to drink. The menu has all kinds of sandwiches and salads and coffee drinks and wine too though and I most definitey will be heading back to try something new soon. Another big plus is they have free wireless internet so you can bring along your laptop and camp out all day.

It's places like this that make me love the coffee shop culture and since I associate that with my time in Tacoma and Seattle, this place brought back wonderful memories of that part of my life. I was also totally inspired by the decor---total rustic look---old doors and wooden bordered frames and mirrors hanging in contrasting and warm colors.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I want to be Amy Tan....

Last week when I was subbing at South San Francisco high school I was reading the newspaper while the kids were doing work and came across an interesting article about a woman who is trying to start an online social network like facebook or myspace based upon books and authors. GENIUS I thought. It's called the Red Room. I went online to check it out and fell in love with it and signed up to be a member.

There are tons of great authors on the website, Salman Rushdie, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou and Amy Tan. I clicked on Amy Tan's name and it took me to her personal page. There is a link to her blog and I knew I liked Amy Tan but reading her blog made me realize again how much I like her. In fact, I realized that I want to be her, I want to write and travel and think and reflect!

Here is the link to the Red Room.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Discovered this great paper store in San Francisco last week with my sister. It's on Fillmore street and is called Paper Source.

I could've jumped for joy because they had WASHI, decorative Japanese paper that I really miss from Japan. In Shizuoka, I had a Washi store accross the street from my apartment and I frequented it. I am crazy I know, but I am so happy to have found washi in the states. I LOVE SAN FRANCISCO!!!

Here is a link to the Paper Store.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My new home...

Lots of changes in the past month, moved home from Japan, moved in with my boyfriend, moved to South San Francisco from San Diego and began the hunt for a new job.

I wasn't sure if I would regret coming home so soon, but I am happy to say that I am 100% happy with my decision!

I love the bay area and I love being close to my boyfriend instead of separated by an ocean and I am loving beginning my work to make this place home.

San Francisco is amazing!