Have you thought about this? We each deserve to live our best life. We deserve love, but loving ourselves needs to come first. This wonderful role model serves as my cheer leader from deep in the internet, and maybe she can for you, too. Embrace your authenticity. Create your life. You deserve it. (Amanda Hite on Authentic Self)
I take a whole lot of high school kids on a community service trip every year (with a bunch of my friends) and we pretend to be highly functioning, organized, capable adult role models. I make a mix CD every year for the group, and attempt to throw a couple anthems on there that illustrate how we feel when we’re there…like a family, like people who Get $h1t Done.
This mix was made for a group including:
- adults with good to excellent taste in music
- teenagers with crappy to excellent taste in music (who require Top 40 to operate)
- non-religious people
- religious people
- people who need MOTIVATION at 0800 to WORK!
1. The Three Little Jigs - Enter the Haggis
2. Death to My Hometown - Bruce Springsteen
3. Joy to the World - Three Dog Night
4. What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction
5. Callin’ Out (Seattle Live Recording) - Lyrics Born
6. Rag and Bone - The White Stripes
7. Boomerang - Nabiha
8. We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae) - Fun.
9. Brand New Day - Trevor Hall
10. Get Fly - Atmosphere
11. I Got It (What You Need) - Galactic
12. Stomp (Remix) - Gods Property
13. Drive By - Train
14. Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
15. Keepin’ It Country - Jake Owen
16. Country Roads (Live) - John Denver
I (just now) had to write a short email about one of my favorite places I’ve traveled. Since this blog is meant to be a collection of my thoughts, I’m going to post it here for posterity. If you’re interested, there are more details about this part of my life back here.
I have to remember to write more. It’s important to me and makes me happy. So, why don’t I do it?
Note: I didn’t proof this. Ah well. Time…need more time…
I’ve only traveled a couple places outside the US, and I’ve been to a good deal of the US and Canada. Last year this time, I was able to take three months and go to Ireland. I woofed while I was there (World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming), which meant that I got to live with hosts, work for them, and learn their lifestyle and culture. In addition to traveling around the country in my off-time, I lived in four different locations around the country. I can say honestly that I fit in pretty darn well with rural Irish culture - having absolutely no Irish blood in me. They’re a culture of connection and community. They eat together, drink together, cry and laugh together. They barter and treat each other like family. It’s beautiful.
My favorite place was north-western County Mayo, on the coast. I lived with a woman named Jo in Tullaghanbawn, working with her horses - she is starting up an equine therapy center, and uses a naturopathic approach to treat horses with illnesses (from trauma to infection). It was a town with 75 people, tops, two pubs (two! one open during the day, and one at night), and beautiful coastline and scenery. It’s very strange to see a farm there, since the earth is so wet, so most of people’s income comes from livestock. In this particular area, it was mostly cattle. I’d be weeding in the front with the donkeys, miniature stallion and dogs keeping me company, and the farmers would go down the road closing the front gates to everyone’s drives. All of a sudden, hundreds of cattle would pass, running from pasture to pasture. In my head, the cows were yelling, “Faster! Gogogogoggo! Hungry! Grass! New grass! Weeeee!”
My third weekend at Jo’s I rented a car (a feat requiring something like three buses and a six hour journey to the nearest airport) and just drove. I had a map, but even on the formal maps all the roads aren’t on there. It’s just a whole lot of guess work, and stopping to meet people when you need directions. I managed to drive (where I had intended) to a place that seemed like it was at the end of nowhere. I hadn’t seen a car, person or house for probably two hours, and then I made a left hand turn, north, and kept going…all of a sudden, there was a beach in front of me, bordered by just a couple houses on the tops of the surrounding cliffs. The water was that bright blue color you only ever associate with the Caribbean, and the sand was so light. The cliffs on either side just fell right off, diving into the water. I got out of my car, careful to hold my door so it didn’t blow off it’s hinges, and started toward the water. The sand was completely undisturbed, and even my feet didn’t make a mark. It was so hard and packed from months (years?) of rain and wind, it was almost like you were walking on concrete. Like you were on the snow that has that crisp top, and you walk like at any moment you might break it and fall feet into a powder beneath. I stood on the beach, eyes open, listening to the silence around me, embracing my oneness and serenity, until I felt like I had recharged my soul enough to go find the next Perfect Thing.
Based on all practical evidence, my being back in the US is hindering my ability to update this blog. I was fine in Ireland, but in the US… not such a good showing. There are plenty of psychological (and physical (i.e. no internet)) reasons why, but I won’t go into them. Yet, anyway. I won’t go into them yet.
Instead, I’ll give you the track listing from the last mix CD I made, specifically for my friends B&H. Female-vocalist heavy and mostly upbeat, not-too-loud and pretty well balanced. This is to honor the last gasps of the summer sun, and gear up for bright, crisp fall colors. To get you in the mood for those last Saturday morning hikes/bikes/walks that you can start with only one layer, instead of three. There’s no hot-cider or curling-up-with-a-blanket stuff in here - that’s all yet to come (except for a tiny bit in tracks 8 and 11). Enjoy!
1. Crayola Doesn’t Make a Color for Your Eyes - Kristin Andreassen
2. Such a Colorful World - Max & Simon
3. My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors - Moxy Fruvous
4. Tightrope - Janelle Monae
5. L.O.V. - Fitz and the Tantrums
6. I Need a Dollar - Aloe Blacc
7. The Littlest Birds - The Be Good Tanyas
8. Losers - The Belle Brigade
9. Colors - Kira Willey
10. Rise Up - Indigo Girls
11. Barton Hollow - The Civil Wars
12. Morning Sun - Shayna Zaid & The Catch
13. Rise Up - Shemekia Copeland
14. Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine
15. Oh, Imagine That - Max & Simon
16. Magic Carpet Ride (Philip Steir Remix) - Steppenwolf
A note: I so desperately wanted to put June Rich’s “Sweet Thang” in here, but couldn’t get my hands on a recording. If you don’t already know it, you need to check it out. My recording is on a tape…bummer! I’ll find it yet, though.
So, I had two weeks off, during which I wrote nothing to commemorate my last week and change in Ireland, but boy - have the memories been flowing. There’s that strange feeling that happens when you do things that make you happy. All of a sudden a memory pops up, say, of you and a friend going on a totally awesome hike, and then you remember that it happened yesterday. And then, all over again, you get to recall how it felt. It’s wonderful.
Pardon me, for my English has been broken for the last few days. I’m not sure what’s up. Maybe I need more carrots in my diet or something.
Anyway, I spent an amazing week with family, a weekend with friends, another week with family and another, totally kickin’ weekend with friends. I’m off to a new farm now for the next two weeks. I’m headed up to New Hampshire, just north of the White Mountain National Forest. They’ve got chickens and pigs and goats, along with a whole lot of veggies and fruit. The experience will be different from my hosts in Ireland, since at this place the wwoofers sleep and eat separately from the hosts. I think there will be one other wwoofer there, and a bunch of people who work on the farm. I know CSA members can work off their shares, so they might be around, as well.
So, if northern NH is anything like Burlington, VT or Anytown, ME, I’m gonna like it a whole lot. Off I go!
I’ve got a good bit of writing to do about our time in Killarney National Park and it’s amazing surrounding areas, but it will have to wait. A teaser: we hiked the park and the Gap; had a few pints; listened to some good music; ate carrots, hummus and cheese; and my last night in Cork I slept on the beach in Kinsale, listening to the waves crashing on the shore underneath an almost-full moon.
I’m at the aerfort now, on my way home…or, to where family is. Home is where I am. Home was here in Ireland for awhile, and it’s time to bring it back to the place I love. Here’s to amazing people, healthy food, good drink and a lotta love. Slainte, all.
My last night on Sherkin Island…ping pong at the pub pre-dinner, Irish lamb and spuds for the meal, tea with some friends from the marine center, off to the pub for some more craic…Darragh gave me a last-night-in-town glass of prosecco, some craic with him and Martin, and a huge round of good conversation with Aurore, Lucille, Anouk and Max (Malachi).
Walking home with friends, teaching a French girl how to American hug, looking at the brighter-than-the-sun moon shining over a silhouetted hillside, with a dark cloud underlining more stars than I’ve ever seen anywhere else.
This is a good time. This makes me feel like I’m living what “it” should be.
“Home is portable, internal, connected to and enriched by people and memory. Every incarnation of a home carries gestures from a past one, but not only in the inevitable haul of curios, the statuettes and trays. I keep in touch with Balinese friends and still speak Indonesian to my kids. I also comfort other people’s children on the playground because that’s normal in Bali. These, too, are talismans of my home there. The danger in choosing not to make contact with others seems so much larger than the danger in doing so. Making room in our lives for more people is what we are meant to do, even if they eventually leave, or we do. Remaining open to what may come. Enlarging a sense of home, one small risk at a time.” Charlotte Bacon, Lessons From a Year in Bali, NY Times Pub Jul 6, 2011
“Home is portable, internal, connected to and enriched by people and memory. Every incarnation of a home carries gestures from a past one, but not only in the inevitable haul of curios, the statuettes and trays.
I keep in touch with Balinese friends and still speak Indonesian to my kids. I also comfort other people’s children on the playground because that’s normal in Bali. These, too, are talismans of my home there. The danger in choosing not to make contact with others seems so much larger than the danger in doing so. Making room in our lives for more people is what we are meant to do, even if they eventually leave, or we do. Remaining open to what may come. Enlarging a sense of home, one small risk at a time.”
Charlotte Bacon, Lessons From a Year in Bali, NY Times Pub Jul 6, 2011
I did some physical work this afternoon! Woohoo! Finally! I may potentially be sore tomorrow! I spent my first month+ in Ireland doing physically demanding work, which made me incredibly happy. Sweating and using my body - and getting something done in the meantime.
Since I’ve been here on the island, I’ve been doing all this housework - linens and cooking and cleaning and cooking. It’s somewhat satisfying, but there has been no balance. I missed being outside, so much so that I was starting to get depressed. A combination of being inside, and being around people who think women should be inside*…not good for my brain.
Today, I played outside with the boys, and was finally able to prove that I Can Do It Too. We lugged stone and gravel up the cliff from the beach, through the pasture and prep’ed a foundation for a new shed. And, when I say up a cliff, I mean up a ton of (totally geologically awesome) large rocks. Without anything in hand, it would take about 8 minutes to get from top to bottom. The opposite way, with 40-50 lb boxes of rocks, takes a wee bit longer. We did 4 runs, and I’m sore. I will be sore tomorrow. In a totally good way.
And g-d-it, I’m not complaining, and the 20-year old French rugby player is, the poor baby. So there.
*Reason Numero Uno I’m looking forward to home.