Gate 4-A (poem by Naomi Shihab Nye)

 

Gate 4-A by Naomi Shihab Nye

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been detained four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well – one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate.

I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. “Help,” said the Flight Service Person. “Talk to her. What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke to her haltingly. “Shu dow-a, Shu-bid-uck Habibti? Stani schway, Min fadlick, Shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “You’re fine, you’ll get there, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.” We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and would ride next to her – Southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for fun. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her?

This all took up about two hours. She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies – little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts – out of her bag – and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo – we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers and two little girls from our flight ran around serving us all apple juice and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend – by now we were holding hands – had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, this is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in this gate – once the crying of confusion stopped – seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too. This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

 

 

[audio] Always we hope

 

Always We Hope — Lao Tzu

Always we hope
someone else has the answer,
some other place will be better,
some other time,
it will turn out.

This is it.

No one else has the answer,
no other place will be better,
and it has already turned out.

At the center of your being,
you have the answer:
you know who you are and
you know what you want.

There is no need to run outside
for better seeing,
nor to peer from a window.
Rather abide at the center of your being:
for the more you leave it,
the less you learn.

Search your heart and see
the way to do is to be.

Abide at the center of your being.

 

 

Dreams and divine timing (and Mondo Beyondo starts today!)

dahlia_purple_close_600

Some dreams take a long time to percolate. I love the idea of trusting in the divine timing of dreams– the notion that they always arrive at exactly the right time. But who has that much faith? Usually, I wonder if I’ve missed my chance, if I’m falling behind, if I didn’t strike while the iron was hot, or if it’s just too late for me.

It always makes sense looking back. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” Steve Jobs famously said, “only backwards.” You can see how you weren’t ready, or this needed to happen before that, or you needed to cultivate a particular skill first or meet that one person… It always makes sense looking back. Nothing is lost. No time is wasted.

Dreams pull us toward a new version of ourselves. If our aim is to fully become who we are, then our dreams are like a moon pulling the tides. Even before we achieve a dream, we are becoming the kind of person who makes those kinds of dreams come true.

What if every single thing you did, every experience you have ever had led you to this moment? I wrote a letter recently that was incredibly hard to write, but I have never been more proud of myself than I after I put my pen down. I felt peaceful. The kind of peace you feel when you’ve told the truth, with love and gentleness. I felt like my entire life (every book I have ever read, every course I have ever taken, every painful experience, an entire lifetime of dedicating myself to personal growth) prepared me to write this one letter.

How do you know when it’s time to step into your dream?

  • When the signs are everywhere.
  • When that nagging thought won’t leave you alone.
  • When doors are opening by themselves.
  • When there is serendipity in the air.
  • When you ask yourself: If I only had five years to live, what would I want to do? and that dream is right there on the list.
  • When you have prepared enough (you really have) and you just need to be brave and take the leap.
  • When you’ve got nothing to lose.
  • When you find you are jealous of others who are achieving your long-held dream. (This means you are closer than you think.)
  • If these people are your friends, then you are dangerously close.  Celebrate them and begin.

 

myriam_moon_badge_383

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Mondo Beyondo is a great first step to take in the dreaming process. If you feel like it’s time to get clear about what your dreams are and/or take those first brave steps, I would love to have you join me! The fun starts today!!

It was an egg for love.

prisma_andrea

I was lonely last night as my head hit the pillow. At first I didn’t know what it was- this agitated sort of feeling- but I  got curious about it. “This is lonely,” I said to myself, feeling more like an anthropologist than anything else. Where do you feel it in your body?” I whispered aloud. I put my hand on my heart where I felt the ache. “This is lonely,” I said to myself again. “What’s it like?” And I felt that it was a longing for connection, for touch, to be held. It was an ache for love. And it wasn’t scary to simply feel it- it just was what it was – an ache for love. (By the way, my computer just auto-corrected that last line and said, “It was an egg for love” which made me smile)

Then I imagined my future beloved right there with me. I held his face before mine and tried to see him, squinted my eyes in the dark to see what he looked like. “When are you coming?” I asked him and an answer popped into my mind. “How will you find me?” I asked the dark. And a friend (someone I only see occasionally) came to mind. Then I wondered if I made it up or if it was my intuition speaking. I will keep you posted.

I remember reading a story about how the writer Roger Housden met his wife. She came to him first in a dream- one that felt like a visitation- her face over him like an angel. And then when he met her many months later – it was that woman, that same face, and he knew she was real.

Once, many years ago, I was having a really hard season. I had just been laid off from a job I loved and had started my jewelry business. Problem was, there weren’t a whole lot of sales yet and there was everything and nothing to do. I spent entire days by myself in a big Victorian house in San Francisco, working in an attic and feeling lonely. Just me and a cat named Enki. I cried to a friend one morning who stopped me mid-conversation, “You need to do a mitzvah today! You need to get out of your own head. Is there anywhere you can volunteer?”

michael_andrea

I had been volunteering for years at a place called Creativity Explored – an art center for adults with developmental disabilities- so I immediately hung up the phone and raced over there. One of the things I loved about that place was that there was never any preamble or formalities. You didn’t have to explain yourself, you just dove right into what was happening in the moment. It was indeed the perfect way to step out of my own little mental drama.

I sat next to my dear friend Michael Bernard Loggins while he drew and we did our usual routine: “Okay, Andrea. Ask me questions and then write down what I say. Then I want you to read them back to me.” We both loved this.

Without me saying anything about myself though, he paused, looked me in the eyes and said, “Andrea, you’re not alone. Allura makes jewelry too.” He pointed to one of the other artists in the room- a soft-spoken woman in a wheelchair making day-glo bracelets. “If you’re both making jewelry then you’re not alone!”

Then he smiled, satisfied with himself, and continued to draw. I was stunned, forever changed by that moment of grace.

My word of the year for 2017! + some yummy news.

 

Thank you for listening! As you can see, I’m very excited about having a microphone… Look out world! Share your words of the year in the comments below! And let me know what guests you’d like to have on the brand new show!

Some notes:

Manifesting 2017: Instant access mini-course to help you complete your year + create 2017 with intention. $20
Mondo Beyondo: Dream big + in alignment with your heart and spirit. The fun begins January 9th, 2017! $99

P.S. You can join me in Bali again this May 2017! It is a place that is overflowing with beauty, kindness and spirituality. What could be better?