You can hear more music from the incredible Sean Hayes here!
No capes. Just courage.
You can hear more music from the incredible Sean Hayes here!
As I lay down in yoga recently, a line from a Rumi poem came to me:
Start a huge, foolish project
It makes absolutely no difference
what people think of you.
It felt like a message. Nothing short of divine. I had been feeling around in the dark all year for my next e-course but coming up short. I wanted to create something that would delight + energize me. Something that would be a huge gift to my community. Something that connected all of us in a meaningful way.
My body buzzed with excitement as I realized what my next offering would be– Start a Foolish Project! And by foolish, I mean awesome. Foolish projects are those things we do simply for the delight and the joy.
They are things like creating a wish tree or hosting a Storybowl. They might be organizing a bubble flash mob in the park or a book club for people who only read self-help books. A foolish project might be buying that pink ukulele that caught your eye and learning to play it. A foolish project could be deciding to make 10,000 hats and give them away.
I am going to gather a group of women here in Berkeley (you’re invited!), hire a choreographer and learn a cheesy dance routine. Emphasis on cheesy. Then, we’re going to flash mob it! Yes, like in those you tube videos. Doesn’t that sound like so much fun?!!!
Foolish projects appeal to my sense of play, my desire to feel alive + my love of stories. No matter what happens, you will always have the story about that time you were in a cheesy flash mob, right? Even if it was a total disaster. It really doesn’t matter.
Maybe you do something like my friend Maya Stein who decided to celebrate her 40th birthday by bicycling across the country dragging an old-fashioned typewriter and holding spontaneous poetry workshops.
Or maybe you are more like that woman I heard about last year that was craving community. She decided to drag her rarely used farm table to her backyard, hung some twinkly lights and extended an open invitation to her neighbors for a potluck dinner every Sunday evening at 6pm. She transformed her entire community this way.
If you are in the Bay Area and want to be a part of my cheesy flash mob, you are more than welcome. The more, the merrier. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ben was in a talent show at the local toy store last year.
When I asked him what he’d like to do, he said he’d like to perform one of his songs. His “songs” at the time were a mashup of jewish folk tunes and heavy metal. The likes of which this world might never have seen before!
He practiced outside the toy store with me, “Hine ma tov uma-na-im… (and now insert growly, deep, heavy metal voice) shevet achim gam yavat…”
It was, in short, awesome.
Ben was so excited to get on stage when we entered the store that he insisted on MC’ing the whole thing and asked if he could perform first. As I sat in the audience with my iphone video all ready to go, I saw the surprise in his eyes. It was fear but it was also surprise at how scared he actually was. He didn’t expect this at all! As a result of the sheer, unexpected terror, nothing came out of his mouth.
You can do it! all of us called out. The entire room of kids cheered him on. But he crumpled, literally, and fell to the ground. I can’t do it! he shouted from the floor.
Another kid went instead and did a fart song by putting her hand inside her armpit. (Super impressive I might add) Then a boy who was great at yo-yo did his thing.
Ben was ready to try again. I readied my camera, said a little prayer and all of us cheered again, but he was terrified and ran off the stage.
“Try starting with your back to us!” I encouraged, and that seemed to help. He started his song with his back to the audience and eventually mustered up the courage to turn around. He improvised a song, a hilarious mix of metal and rap and jewishness, and we all cheered when it was over.
He was a bit mortified by the whole thing.
But here’s what I want to share with you: Ben is now LEGENDARY at Mr. Mopp’s toy store in Berkeley. Every time we go in there, the owner says, “Ben! We loved your song at the talent show! You have a lot of fans here.” Other employees will literally come out of the back and gather around. “Ben is here! Yeah, the one from the talent show!”
They love him.
And my guess is that they love him because he was brave.
They love him because he was human.
He was afraid and he went for it anyway.
He sang a song, his song. And even though he couldn’t quite look anyone in the eyes when he did it, he did it anyway.
Ben once asked me what a legend was. I told him it was someone that people talked about for many years after they were gone, even hundreds of years, because they were so extraordinary. “Like Jesus?” he asked. “Yes. Like Jesus. And Miles Davis.”
“I want to be a legend,” he told me.
I think he’s well on his way. And he is teaching me that being brave + vulnerable is key. The crowd loves you all the more for it.
It’s a good sign when you are only 17 pages into a book and you think, this might be my favorite book ever. That’s how I’ve been feeling about Glennon Doyle Melton’s beautiful memoir, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed. It will make you laugh + give you courage all at the same time. How have I not been reading her blog all these years?
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber
A Field Guide to Now by Christina Rosalie
My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen is always on my nightstand.
Holy moly. Best thing EVER. I’m in love with Kid President.
I was honored to participate in the Mother’s Day Rally for Mental Health on Katherine Stone’s blog (Postpartum Progress) this year. Katherine posted letters to new moms from 24 writers who have gone through postpartum depression or anxiety. Each letter is so moving + powerful… and a must-read for your mama friends out there. So many of us don’t realize what we’re going through until we’re on the other side. We don’t get the support we need because we think we don’t deserve it, or that it’s not that bad, or we’re too ashamed…
I went to a birthday party for a dear friend recently. Since Laurie had been going through some major transitions this year, we wanted to gift her something really special and from the heart. Sherry suggested we all make her a “Love list.”
1. Write down 10 things you love about this person.
2. Tell them what you admire about them, what you appreciate, why they inspire you.
3. Read it to them in person, over the phone, or put a stamp on it and send it off with love.
As I wrote my love list for Laurie, I was filled with gratitude. There was so much to love about her! and I felt so lucky to be counted as one of her dear ones.
She didn’t know we wrote these lists. We surprised her by reading them out loud, one by one after dinner, and watched the tears fall from her cheeks. She received each gift so beautifully… and we were all a puddle by the end. It was a gift to all of us.
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for the gorgeous rainbow colored buddhas on my home page? They were created by the phenomenally talented Anado McLauchlin in San Miguel de Allende.
You might remember I was there last January for a painting retreat with Flora Bowley. The colors in San Miguel are the most spectacular I’ve ever seen – mustard walls with peeling paint, green taxis and pink churches, orange houses against bright blue skys. My color obsession was finally satisfied. But we had the chance to take it to another level when the leader of our trip suggested we visit a talented expat artist whose home was made entirely of mosaics. Now we’re talking! I thought.
Of course he had me at hello. A creative wizard of a man with a long beard and pink tennis shoes greeted us. His house was nothing short of miraculous. Here are some peeks into his colorful world. May they inspire you! And if you ever find yourself in San Miguel, I hope you get to see his work firsthand.
Thank you Anado! For sharing your colorful vision and your home!
This is what Ben called him the first time it happened, the first time our car was broken into last year. We went to open the door of our car one morning and discovered that it was ajar. Trash was strewn all over the passenger seat along with owners’ manuals, registration papers, a swiss army knife, a few tampons and a number 2 pencil. All that seemed to be missing was the spare change. I explained to Ben that someone had rifled through our car in the middle of the night.
But who ruffled our car? Ben asked in disbelief.
I like calling him the Ruffler because it sounds more friendly, less like a violation and more like a person who simply makes mischief and mess wherever they go. We also have a name for this guy because he has done this to our car a good 7 times now. Every time we have forgotten to lock the doors– those occasions when I have extracted a screaming toddler from the car seat and hurriedly ushered him into the house (thus forgetting to lock up) the Ruffler strikes again.
It’s possible he is the most dependable force in my life. A law of the Universe. Pure cause and effect.
I’ve been more diligent about locking doors since the Ruffler came into our lives. Not just the car doors, but the house as well. He demands that I cross my T’s more than usual; he demands a kind of precision and excellence that perhaps I let fall by the wayside. I imagine he is a kind of angel, here for a purpose, to protect me from a much greater harm with his annoying shenanigans.
I have been tempted to leave the car door open and rig a camera in there, to film the Ruffler in action. He has left cigarette butts in the car before, garbage, and once a nice pair of sunglasses that I’m guessing he acquired from another vehicle. But I don’t really want to know who he is.
I prefer to think of him as a force or an energy, not a real person.
I prefer to think of him as someone who asks me to stay present and awake, who remembers to check the doors before falling asleep, who reminds me of the simple laws of the Universe.
My friend Lara and I got our kiddos together for brunch + a major lemon squeezing session.
At some point Nico got his hands on the garden hose outside. As you can see below, I took this photo from the safety of the inside of the house.
The kiddos then made a big sign that advertised free lemonade for Plant a Kiss day.
We set up shop and began giving away cups of free lemonade. Our first customer was Ben + Roan’s preschool teacher. She was so proud!
Turns out giving something away for free is disarming for folks. Many people tried not to look our way and when we would ask, Would you like some free lemonade? They wondered what the catch was. “The catch is love!” Roan exclaimed. So yeah, couldn’t have said it better myself. The catch is love!
You can read the rest of the Plant a Kiss Day blog posts by clicking here.
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