An Imminent Dream

The why is clear.  It is comprised of a dream, a love story, and of possibility. 

The results of the dream feel imminent, written in the stars.  Placing one foot in front of the other slowly, asking the right questions, listening to my intuition, cross checking with my ration, having hard conversations with my man, and then having some more. 

The how is unclear.  I struggle with allowing the how to reveal itself.  I feel relief when letting go of the dream in moments of uncertainty, if only so that I can sleep at night. 

The love story is beautiful. 

A call from a friend, a soul mate, someone I've danced with before in other lives and who I found again at twenty years old.  From across the country he calls me, his friend is looking for someone to prepare food in his cafe, my friend has told him I am his person.  I am 27, I have never prepared food beyond my own kitchen, I have not yet gone to nutrition school or cooked for a farmer's market, and so I tell him he is crazy.

He convinces me to take the job.  I fly home from San Francisco to Block Island.  I prepare a menu and cook on a 2 burner stove.  I am happy, and creative, and the feedback is good.  I am paid small money compared to waiting tables, but it matters little.  I get to live in the sweet little boho apartment upstairs from the cafe, with the shop owners, a good friend, and a young girl who asks me questions about life while I cook.  Her questions, giving me a sense of myself as grown and knowledgeable, and a vision of who I am becoming. 

My friend, who got me the job, says he told me so.  He introduces me to his buddy from high school.  His friend is cute.  He lives on a boat.  He comes in daily for coffee in his galoshes and overalls, and loves my cous cous salad.

I learn at the end of that summer, the owners are selling the cafe.  They offer me to purchase the business, though I have other dreams of going to school for nutrition.  I decline the offer, and eventually learn, the new owners have other plans for the cafe and my job will no longer exist.  I move out of the sweet apartment, move in with my cute new overall wearing boyfriend, and the following winter start school to become a health coach.

While attending school, among a myriad of other healthy shifts in my life, I decide that maybe I'd be open to marriage, children.  When asked by a mentor how I feel my life is shifting, how I may be stepping out of the boxes I put myself in, I stand up and take the microphone.  In front of 2000 of my peers, I simultaneously begin to shed fears of being seen, while expressing this realization about children and commitment.  It was in no other words, a big life moment.

Two years later, with my 8 month old in tow, I visit a possible apartment for rent in town.  Above the cafe, where we fell in love, we move in and start again.  I meet with some of my first health coaching clients there, I start my blog, the apartment is different now--it has grown up as well, decorated beautifully, now baby proofed.  The conversations from the cafe below remain the same, as they flow through the windows in the morning, you hear the daily cast of characters talking about island events, greeting each other groggily, sipping coffee, laughing.  There is comfort in the sounds, as I wake early with my sleepless baby and recollect the life I new before.

Time passes.  We move on again.  A new apartment, further from town, more quiet, more space.  My business grows.  My cleanses are successful, I am asked again to push my edges and I begin to prepare cleanse food for the island participants.  The food is loved.  The food is love. 

My man talks of Someday Cafe.  And despite, that my cooking out of our home drives him crazy,  despite his gripe with the dishes and every inch of our cabinets being stocked with dried goods and bottles of lemon juice, every time he mentions the Someday Cafe, I melt.  This is how I know he supports me, this is how I feel his belief in me.  Our dreams are shared, and I feel his love.

The dream is imminent.

Nine years later.  We've moved again, into a bigger space, to hold our growing family.  We bring the baby home to this new house, with boxes left unpacked, beds still needing to be made.  I am gifted a different birth experience this time.  The baby comes home and she's calm, she sleeps.  My son adjusts, and there is so much ease inside of the experience I find myself waiting, just waiting for it to be hard.  I start working again, within weeks.  I am amazed at my ability.  It all feels so comfortable and complete.

I receive the call.  The cafe, the same cafe.  I have a new baby.  I say no, I question how I could possibly.  I go to bed, my eyes clamped shut I pray for sleep.  I am not sound, but rather living out the possibilities.  I dream.  I wake.  I let it go, I release it.  Like really release it, in my bones. 

Another call, this time knocking louder, this time waking me to greater possibility.

And I simmer.  There is so much unknown.  I don't know where the financing will come from, I don't know if my man in overalls will give me his yes, I don't know what running a cafe with two kids will look like.  Understanding, that to make this happen, I will need to dip into the deep discomfort of making myself and my dreams vulnerable to people, as I figure all of it out.

Time feels of the essence, and simultaneously like it's waiting for me.  The how, unknown, and yet no real fear, just comfort.  The comfort you get when you feel in your bones, despite the unfamiliar path, you know exactly where you're headed.

The dream is imminent.

what makes you feel full?

Years ago, at a party, I was in conversation with a friend about what keeps us going.  I turned to this woman and said, I just do what makes me happy, and when it doesn't make me happy anymore, I change what I'm doing.

The woman I was speaking with, who had more life experience than I, laughed and told me I had a lot to learn.  And I've never forgotten that conversation.  

At the time, I felt stupid and naive.  I shrunk away from the conversation and also from my own ideals.  I  stood by my beliefs, that it could be that simple, but also began to question them equally.

Often, now, I am reminded of the naiveté of my 20 year old self.   Whether speaking to someone with less life experience and treating their views with gentle care, or being faced to challenge or believe in my own simplistic but freeing views again.

I've never forgotten the look on that woman's face, balking at my certainty.  

Over the last 17 years, in moments of insecurity of where I stand, her laughter reminds me still that I have a lot to learn.  At times of struggle, those moments when I would like to simply choose happy, to just walk away, to live in that simplicity of choice.  In those moments, I am
 reminded of the shame.  And then, with a touch of surrender, I am reminded of that 20 year old wisdom.  

Life is about transition and movement.  When we are not growing and making changes, we get stuck and stiff, uncomfortable.  Changing my mind again and again about what serves and what fills me, I have consistently revisited that choice.   A party girl in my teens, a food obsessed vegan in my twenties, and now a matured version of the two, as a mother who provides playfulness and stability, and still the drum keeps beating.   

Transition challenges us, it is easier for some than others.  I happen to thrive from being on the move, you may know the opposite about yourself.  Committing to a life with my man, raising our children, moving again (and again and again), growing a business, buying a house--these were all big transitions, and daily, there are the small shifts.  The gluten free bagel I finally tried that is delicious and doesn't upset my stomach,  where in my house I keep plants or hang pictures, softening the shifts in the day for my son who unlike myself finds transition more challenging.  These are all places for me to create shifts, movement, all places to choose happy.

You may find yourself on the precipice--you are stepping off the platform into something big, or maybe it is the smaller shifts you are desiring.  And you can confidently start by saying:

I do what makes me feel full, and when it doesn't fill me anymore, I make a change.



paris & eating for pleasure

Three years ago I did something wild.  I left my husband with our 2 year old and went to Paris alone for 10 days to visit a friend.  At the time the trip represented so much to me, about my freedom, my autonomy, my relationship within my family, as a mom, a wife, and the ways I show up as a friend.  The trip proved to me that anything is possible for myself and for my dreams.  I had traveled before, the magic, for me, was not in the plane ticket or the distance, it was in the permission.

When in Paris, I ate a croissant every day, while making a lot of observations around the differences in our food cultures, here and there.  Croissants, I was told, are normally reserved for Sundays--this made sense to me, a rule, a restriction, and even a ritual around a specific food.  In America, we love our rules.  We also love breaking them and the self loathing that comes with that practice.  

There is a boulangerie in every neighborhood.  Fresh breads, pastries, and cakes.  On Sunday there is a line out the door.  Trips to the bakery are not reserved for birthdays or special occasions, fresh baked goodness is daily standard.  Le pain quotidien (the daily bread).

What struck me about this, was how permissible daily pastry was.  Nobody seemed to be carrying guilt or shame from their weekly boulangerie visits.  They did not appear to be counting carbohydrates, nor did they appear unhealthy.  I started to think that perhaps it was permission that was bringing balance into the French food culture, and thought about how freeing that permission could be.

With my friends, over dinner one night, I raised the question of this idea of permission and the differences between the way we look at food and how the french do.  Was it their permission that was giving the people of Paris the grace to eat bread, cheese, ham, and potatoes with most meals without developing an obesity epidemic?  Was the lack of regret, over their were choices, allowing them to digest the food properly?  Were they able to avoid feeling like ravenous carb junkies, and choose salads and balance with their next meal because of their mindset?  Did it afford them the ease of eating with peace of mind?

I kept picturing American tourists eating their way through Paris with guilt, or at the very least the constant reminder that when they get home they will have to diet, cleanse, or punish themselves.  If you listen really quietly you can hear it...

“omg, when we get home, no bread for a week”

“omg, I’m going to get so fat from this vacation.”

“omg, extra hours on the treadmill when I get home.”

My frenchy friend Jean, thought about what I was saying for a minute and then responded,I don’t think it is permission so much as it is, pleasure (sentiment best expressed with a french accent.)


There it is.  The power is in the pleasure.  And with pleasure there is no need for permission.

Our culture has zapped the pleasure out of our food (literally, microwaves are not a staple in french kitchens).  We have packaged our food to eat in our cars.  We have labeled our food down to it’s most insignificant parts.   We have marketed our food products to change us, to save us, to entertain us.  We have grown food that contains poisons, and created new foods out of genetically engineered organisms and chemicals.  

Where in our food culture is the gentle perfection of a freshly grown sliced radish?   We may be able to identify the radish, but do we deem it pleasurable?

It is no secret that we have lost our way.  No amount of science, or counting, or calculating will get us back.  However, I do believe pleasure has that power.

The image of a sliced radish speaks volumes to me, the idea of food in its simplest most pleasurable form.  Spicy, sweet, crisp, with a dash of salt and pepper.  Slowing down, taking the time to recognize the season, choosing foods intentionally for their color, their texture, and how they make us feel, this will be our path to pleasure.  And in turn, our path to health and ease.

In Paris, I ate slower.  I ate foods, I typically wouldn't.  Many meals were prepared with white flour, and it was freeing to relax into my food choices despite them.  I felt I digested foods that would typically make me feel yuck, with so much more ease.  Relieved from fretting over my meals origin, because they protect their food sources from chemical manipulation.  Relieved from stressing how the fresh nutrient rich foods were going to make me feel, I was able to simply enjoy.

In Paris I drank my café sitting.  Every time, every cup.  To-go coffee is not served in France, can you even imagine?  There is an eery absence of paper coffee cups in their hands.  Coffee, instead is served in a small cup and saucer, there is no venti or trenta.

In Paris I was reminded of soft boiled eggs and egg cups and dainty food.  Pretty, delicate.  The power of a small plate or silver spoon.

In Paris I drank wine with lunch.  And didn’t get tired.  Magic.

In Paris I ate zuchinni shaved thin and served cold, with sliced avocado, drizzled in balsamic.  It was the absolute best.

For pleasures sake, we must do our best to step away from the bags, bottles, boxes, and cans.  Choosing to eat slowly, on pretty plates, bringing the focus to the moment, who we are sharing it with, and what has been prepared for us. Choosing pleasure, we are able to eat our cheese and our cake too, fully trusting the process and our choices.  We do not need to go to Paris to experience more pleasure in our foods, in fact it is a must that it starts in our homes.

the stories we tell

How much of our experience is the story we tell ourselves?
I hold certain stories to be true that scare the shit out of me.  They have been woven into the cloth of my being, over time and with precision.  My belief in them is strong, and they are hard to let go of.

Despite their complete lack of compassion, these are some of my oldest narratives:
I am not smart.
I have no original ideas.
It is too much to ask my friends for anything.
I am a disorganized person, which will always make life hard.
Nobody really cares.
I am alone.

A few weeks ago I told a beautiful story of love and dreams and synchronicity.  Could I just have easily told another side of that experience that would have painted a lesser picture?  Is it only wonderful because I deem it so, and how many other stories do I tell for better or for worse that shape my experience?

The I am alone story, is one I hold close in practice and see it play out in ways I am constantly kicking myself for.  Living 13 miles off the coast, with my oldest friends and family, boat rides and hours away--it has been easy for me to reiterate this story again and again.  I am not an "islander", nor am I married to one, which has always left me feeling like I will never fully belong.  Despite the span of 18 years living on the island, I've always felt my time here was temporary without family or land rooting us.  Having said good-bye to so many friends at the end of seasons passed, and understanding the tides of rumors in this small community, I am left knowing that at any time I could be at the other end of it, my feelings hurt already.  When my son was born, I felt the community envelop us in a way I had never felt before, and I softened, but still my trust was being tested.

For forever I've had a card in my bathroom with a little Louise Haye-ism on it. I cannot change another person.  I let others be who they are, and I simply love who I am. Depending on the story I was telling at different stages I found this reminder helpful.  There were times when I rested in the satisfaction of being truly in love with who I was.  When faced with challenges from outside energies, I was reminded to bring my focus back to myself, knowing this was where the real challenge and remedy lie.  I read that card every time I brushed my teeth, intentionally or not, and it became a part of my truth, my story.

When we moved, the card got packed away amongst the toothbrushes, shampoo, and towels.  With each visit of a grandparent another box is unpacked, and I recently noticed the card prominently placed back in its spot on the soap dish.  This time with a different message I had never seen before, I didn't know the card was two sided.  I get the help I need, when I need it, from various sources.  My support system is strong and loving.  A message so perfectly timed, it could not be ignored.

Suddenly, all my beliefs and story about being alone had a light shining brightly on them.  This card was retelling a story I had been holding so close to me.  A story that I felt kept me safe, but really just held me back from the beauty I was being offered within my community.

The neighbor who comes over to hold my baby, while I work.
The mother who dropped fresh eggs from her chickens at my doorstep, every week after my son was born.
The woman who hits reply almost every time she receives an email from me, saying what a great job I am doing.
The friend, who trusts me enough to pay it forward, and pass on what is the biggest gift I have ever received.
The roommate who never forgets birthdays or Christmas, who is one of the best gift givers I've ever known.
The doctor who lets me text her when my kids are sick.
The librarians who make my son feel loved, and seen, and safe.
The babysitter who has become family, and allowed me to step out and away at times when I otherwise wouldn't.
The teachers who greet him with a hug, text me when he's having an exceptional day, and let him borrow books, because they know it gifts him the confirmation he needs.
The families that share in wisdom, and playdates, and hand me downs, and shoulders to lean.
The village, that I see daily, in the market, at the post office, on the ferry.  Who check in, with heart and a smile.
The friends, who I laugh with, celebrate with, and have my back no matter what.

My family is not here.  My oldest friends, who are part of my closest knit fabric, do not live here.  I see others, who have this on the island, and it becomes my entire view shed.  All I am able to focus on is what I do not have, until I allow that story to release, and begin the retelling of a new one.  
Little by little.
Every time I brush my teeth.

And I feel the wave of support and love and community rush over me.  And I understand the simple truth, that I am not alone.

What stories do you hold close, that need retelling?  



we cannot explain it

A toast to you, and you, and you...

We cannot explain it.  The laughter, never without the tears.  The I just want to dance moments.  The clunk of our boots on wooden floors, anticipation of the room greeting us, the exhilaration of knowing just where we stand in our bodies.  Arms wide to collect each other.

We can’t explain how our hearts beat together.  How we bleed together.  How we can see each others souls, in glimpses and moments.  How we touch without touching.  How we hear ourselves through the mouths of another.  

We cannot explain the circle, it confuses even us.  We do not understand how we have gone so long with a circle unbroken, but understand fully just how fragile our sphere can be.  

Nervous laughter, a sideways glance, words spoken or misunderstood.  The circle so easily becomes a ring.  We fall broken, and hurt in misunderstanding. 

We disguise ourselves to damper the fires of joy.  Patting on the flames, we spread our energies thin, as the fuel springs a slow leak. 

Look away.  Please.  Give us the space to heal.  

We can’t explain how the fires grow.  How our heat and love is so very real, it keeps us whole, intact.  We hold in our hearts the knowing that no amount of shopping or make-up or ab exercises, organic food or hair dye will hide the fire of our spirits.  

And our circle grows, once again unbroken.  

We cannot be cooled.