NO SECOND HELPINGS I'm making my first matzoh ball ever and he's watching the news. What's running through this Holocaust survivor's mind? He's like a father to me now -- been cooking for and keeping him company for weeks. . Stirring, stirring then my soup made with love. Sigh. There's so much uncertainty boiling over in the world. . But I'm certain of this: dementia doesn't erase the horrors of the past. . And this: there's a first time to make matzoh balls, but never a first time for genocides, or even a second helping of inhumanity. . All I can think of is the little boy who narrowly escaped death in Lithuania in 1938, and how he lived long enough to witness again a plague of hate that should have been eradicated. . At least today he'll eat comfort food. Other Jews never had a chance, still don't have a chance.
TRUST IS A TREE Blue dawn's tangled hair, lungs of my earth stretch toward spring, each capillary is breathing you in, Beloved, sky filling roots of my soil, dark and soft as night.
ALL TIED UP oh come on, now ... how many times have you been tied up, wound up, felt roped in, anxious, wanting to tear it up, rip it apart, break free? Be honest now. . Think about it: you don't need ropes tied around your wrist to feel constriction in your body when something's not right. Your stomach ties in knots, you knit your brow. We're human. We form connections, and it's not all bad: we happily loop ribbons around gifts of devotion, and tie knots in marriage. . A friend of mine recently taught basic shibari knots and although it can be a kink practice, it's also a beautiful visceral meditation. . For me it was contemplative and peaceful to be in the moment, test boundaries and be comfortable with what is. There's exquisite power in surrender to heart truth, even when that truth is messy. . I should know. For years I suffered from crippling anxiety and agoraphobia -- a prisoner to fears. . I wish I had learned of this practice back then. Shibari could -- I thought as I nested in this posture -- also help calm the autonomic nervous system in a safe way. . It's easier for me to move through life with grace and serenity now, but only because I've learned to understand symptom as information. . I can stretch this rope, gauge the tensile strength of my relating to others in a way that strengthens bonds, ties up loose ends -- all instead of tugging so hard! Resistance snaps what's already brittle. . Though my hands were tied, for me this moment was a way to embody the deepest freedom of living in my truth. If you're going to be bound to anything, be bound to your truth.
A season of so many firsts for me, including this murmuration of starlings. Mesmerizing to see, for minutes on end. The soft sound of their wings caressed my ears, so soothing yet distant as the embrace of a lover never forgotten -- the beloved who falls in love with the infinite heart at the liminal hour
LOVE IS EVERYTHING A deep unknowing knowing happens when you hold space with a horse, witness a body in all its fierce strength, dive into those eyes, surrender to pools of wisdom. . How fortunate am I to tell this story? A stranger once galloped to me across a field, gazed, smelled my chest and gently licked my hand, trusting me as much as I trusted him, his breath so close, scented frost-grass. . And then I walked away. What else could I do? Back on the solitary path. . Later, the local horse whisperers smiled and said: oh, he likes you. . I washed the brown spit from my hands and thought of human love, and the stories we are fortunate to tell, if we -- born of love -- might ask of love stories that last a minute -- or a lifetime -- is that all there is? . No, child, that is everything there is.
Today was born the path of love.
OUR FATHERS WHO ART IN HEAVEN On this Christmas Eve, I think of all the kings and princes of my days, including the one who gave life to me, who last shared this date with me in 2015, and the one whose message of love and compassion breathes life into all of us, born many many stars of Bethlehem ago. . Many of the male figures who have appeared in my life since my father's passing have been stellar in there own ways, shoring up strength and integrity even in fragility. Such was my beloved father -- perfectly imperfect, tenderly stubborn. Though I am smiling in this photo, I was already letting him go, and yet remain tethered in my heart to the gift of unconditional love. . There is no greater teacher of forgiveness than death. Alzheimer's, too -- this disease of forgetting -- taught me to love quietly yet fiercely in the fleeting moment, everything we will always have, here, right now. . Some of my dear friends have recently lost fathers. To all of you who feel orphaned this holiday, consider yourself hugged. And to all of you in my life -- thank you for being you -- each and every blessed day of our living.
GRACE AND GARLIC Joining @brenherrera and friends behind the scenes this year to support her 4th annual #BrenandFriendsFeedDC serving over 500 hot meals to those in need on Christmas Day at Franklin Square, Columbia Heights, and Dupont Circle. Bren also adopted your wayward Miami Cuban two years in a row, and helped me feel en familia when I first arrived in the district. Here's to friendship and serving well-seasoned food with a little grace, a lot of garlic and heaps of love! 💛 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms. - 1 Peter 4:10
JOY TO MY WORLD It's been a season of one very special first for me! Growing up Cuban in Miami, I'd never been caroling -- unless you count singng burrito sabanero in the shower -- so yeah, this year, I fa la la'd myself silly on a sleigh pulled by a tractor! I thought of my parents so, as we sang to a few homebound elderly. My viejitos are looking down from heaven, grateful as I am to @andrewmcknightmusic and his family for participating in my adopt-a-cuban program, complete with early Noche Buena, Virginia-style! Andrew's beautiful, heartfelt project about ancestry, which includes original songs and an engaging book I've already had the pleasure to read during its editing stage, reminds me that kith and kin come in many delightful forms -- sometimes with hot cider and cookies, too! . Learn more at #treasuresinmychest