Tag Archives: life questions

A Letter I Want to Have Always


tagami gallery

One of my student’s gave me this letter a few days before her graduation this past May. I read it often and wanted to post it here while I’m traveling. I didn’t want to lose it:

“…I know how you feel because I have also lost someone very close to my heart: my dad. I know it’s not entirely the same but the pain hurts just as much. Over time, if feels like you just get used to it. However, it is important to always keep your mind and heart open. Do not shy away from new experiences. There is still a life that has yet to be fulfilled. You are like a second mom to me, and I can’t thank you enough for all you have done. I’m going to miss you very much, but I will always carry your wisdom with me.”

Love, T.

(She included a poem by Karen Owusu.)

Note 2 Self

You must learn
to carry yourself gently
You must learn
to love yourself.
You must learn
to be bold.
You must always
remember that
you are enough.
You are beautiful.
You are different.
You are not a fragment
a burnt flower.
You must water your flowers.
You must learn from your roots.
You must learn
to blossom beautifully.
You must learn
to create space.
Make room in your heart
for yourself.


The Leisurely Cobbler and Hats: Definition of Success



There’s a cobbler in Italy, slightly slanted off the tourists’ path. He cobbles his shoes in the morning and plays his guitar in the afternoons. He leisurely goes inside when it’s time to resume work.

This story was told to me this morning in an interview I did with an artist in Bend, Oregon. The key word that I tripped over was “leisurely.” It’s how this artist defined success. Yes. As an artist and business owner you wear two hats: creator and manufacturer. Both are needed to survive.

But the ability to wear two hats, to take time off to swim in the lake or play guitar in the middle of your work day, could be a sure sign that one has reached success.


Bear and Booby and the Hero Child

Bear and Booby are making their way through the winding streets of Augusta, where clinking of glasses and raised voices can be heard in the surrounding pubs.

BEAR (following Booby): What do you mean by “You’re not that special.” That’s a horrible, hurtful thing to say.

BOOBY (partially overlooking her shoulder and moving evasively past yet another pub entrance):  I didn’t mean it to be hurtful. Everyone has bones in their backgrounds they’ve overcome. You’re not that special.

BEAR: But overcoming brainwashing, breaking out of the circuit, and going cold-monkey on reinforcement eating, doesn’t overcoming those pathetic addictions in my life make me special?


BEAR: (stops walking). No?

BOOBY: Haven’t you heard of the Hero….

(BOOBY realizes BEAR is no longer following her, retreats a few steps toward BEAR).

BOOBY: Haven’t you heard of the Hero Child?

BEAR: (slowly shakes his head left and right)

BOOBY: The Hero Child is everyone’s first born. He or She does, gets everything right, feels entitled to every offer by the world. The child arrives at a perfect time in a union to save it, help it move forward, thus high powered microscopic focus is favored upon this Hero Child.

BEAR: What does THAT have to do with me?

BOOBY:  Nothing. You’re not the Hero Child.

BEAR: (looking absolutely dumbfounded and ready to cry) Oh.

BOOBY: I’m telling you this because you’re not the first child. You’re the second born, therefore the Rebel Child.

BEAR: (looking absolutely dumbfounded and ready to cry again)

BOOBY: (scratching her head, inhaling a deep breath of patience) The Rebel Child is predisposed to bio, social, and psychological characteristics which make them, ergo YOU, more susceptible to falling victims to addictions, drugs, eating disorders, and everything else you survived. Get it?

BEAR: You mean a LOT of second borns have gone through what I’ve gone through?

BOOBY: (gently grabbing BEAR’s arm, moving torward to the end of the street) Yes, maybe not exactly what you’ve survived, but statistically yes. Second borns
have a higher tendency to get caught up in things like that.

BEAR: So all this time, I’ve been a living statistic? Every horrible challenge I faced could have been avoided if only I knew about this birth order rules or guidelines or whatever you call them?

BOOBY:  Probably. Maybe. Maybe not.

BEAR: (Pulls BOOBY to a halt) Wait. How do you know this?

BOOBY: It’s on the Internet.

BEAR: What’s that?

BOOBY: (turns, heads down another street while talking over her shoulder) Well, I don’t know exactly, but it’s like how we passed the temple yesterday and saw many praying for good fortune and seeking guidance?

BEAR: (continues walking) Uhm, yeah.

BOOBY:  It’s like that, but not on your knees.

Bear and Booby and Reincarnation

Both Bear and Booby are resting on their backs, squinting at the bright sky through the thick monkey pod tree branches.

BEAR (looking at the sky): Do you believe in reincarnation?

BOOBY (looking at the sky also): Yeah.

BEAR: But I don’t get it.

BOOBY: What don’t you get?

BEAR: A thousand years ago, there were less of us on Earth. Now we have billions. Where are all the souls coming from?

BOOBY: What do you mean? Where are they coming from?

BEAR (turns his head toward Booby): Back then there were 1 billion souls being reincarnated; now we have 10 billion. Where did the new souls come from?

BOOBY: Well, I think, they always existed.

BEAR (returns to looking at the sky, then looks at Booby’s feet, then back to they sky) : Really?

BOOBY: Yeah. Not everyone gets a chance to be reincarnated.

BEAR: So they wait?

BOOBY: Wait and ponder.

BEAR (still trying to avoid looking at Booby’s feet): Wait and ponder. Ponder about what?

BOOBY: Oh, about this and that.

[15 seconds of silence pass]

(BEAR grunts and tries to sit up quickly. Looks over at Booby)                     BEAR: So these ponderers could be sitting and thinking under the tree where we are right now?

BOOBY (looks over at Bear and back at the sky. She knows Bear is staring and she’s trying not to let her irritation grow): Sure.

BOBBY: We’re probably two physical beings amongst a thousand invisible souls who chose to ponder in the shade for a bit before moving elsewhere.

BEAR: Well,  I think that’s fascinating. How many souls do you think exist in the Universe?

BOOBY: See, that’s the thing. There is no finite number. Your thinking is physical and limited. The Universe isn’t limited to the solar system we know. I’d imagine it’s an infinite number of solar systems with many beings in many systems. 

BEAR: Oh. That’s a lot of souls.

BOOBY: Infinitely so.