Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We might well be limitless.

College is so amazing because there are so few other places where optimism meets skill and actual belief and support and ideas that get thrown around, with for the most part, no real restraint as to whether or not "right" or "wrong" even apply. Personally, I have responded to this freedom with not being able to decide what to study and changing majors 48 times before the right one fell into my lap. I love that the option of becoming an astronaut is still on the table, even though I get dizzy and nauseous every time I think about space, it's still nice to have the option. Even more than that, I like that the most interesting people I know have ideas of what their futures hold but are not married to them; and that that sentiment can be found in young 20 somethings who are more than allowed to explore, as well as 50 somethings, who should also be given that same right as well...because there is something groundbreaking in living a life that is as much ruled by imagination as it is anything else.

I have met so many people here who are far older than I, one in particular, and hearing about their lives has turned into an exciting event, because it goes to show that living as a nomad, or getting married in a field with frolicking deer, or deciding to go back to school at age 45, or becoming a tambourine phenomenon is not out of the question...for anyone. I realize that is a bold statement, as there are financial burdens, family commitments, and alternative dreams that fly in the face of those particular life achievements...but my point is that I think we get caught up too often in thinking that the ideal way of life consists of a few major events, we can all name them, and they happen in a particular order, and they hardly differ from our neighbors. Not gonna lie, some of those are very attractive to me, and by no means should that way of life be under appreciated, because a life well lived takes many forms. But that's just it, in the spirit of this time in our lives when literally we can sit in the quad and believe with the rawest of convictions that we are capable to grow up to be who we want to be (and this pertains to character as much as vocation), I find it incredibly exciting and inspiring to remember that we have this one life. That's it, so a dream gone unexplored is a bigger waste than a jar of nutella going uneaten. Perhaps that exploring is as small as taking a class and not enjoying it as much as you thought you might, or maybe it's working for 15 years, fighting the good fight, and failing. However, as Teddy Roosevelt said, "if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

I would hope that beneath every external pressure to believe or do otherwise, there would be within everyone the belief that there is a means and a way to do the impossible, because there is a reason those desires are there, and, dare I say, crazier things have happened. The things that humans are capable of is not something to take for granted.

Go team,

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Be here now.

~If our friendship depends on things like space and time, when we've finally solved the mystery of space and time, then we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But take away space, and all we have is "here". Take away time, and all we have left is "now". And in the midst of "here and now", don't you think we might see each other once or twice?~ (Antoine St. Exupery)

The scenario: the time between you turn off the lights to go to bed, and the moment that you actually fall asleep. For me, it spans from probably 10 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the caffeine intake, and previous events of the day. But all to often, what I turn to is a "happy place", we've all heard that phrase before, some moment of my existence whose circumstances and feelings associated with them were happier than the ones that are currently, in the here and now, on my mind.

The only real flaw of living in a set place for a long period of time, at least in my opinion, is that it is incredibly difficult, and I'm not sure entirely impossible to not fall into a pattern. Not only does that pose a risk of stunting growth, but, along with that, it makes it difficult to see where, on the life scale, you have sold yourself short. Does that even make sense? No, no it does not. In other words, making something other than the greater hope for mankind my "happy place" means that on a semi-nightly basis, I turn my energies (granted, they are few by the end of the day) toward something in my past, and in essence, saying that I wish I was back there again because today did not top it. Now, I've been teased since high school(thanks Nic!) about the anxiety that I sometimes get about the future, and the big hoohah joke (that's right, hoohah!) was that I wasn't living in the moment, and everyone else magically was.

The fact is that my life is incredibly tame compared to what this existence can throw our way, and I would imagine that there are plenty who would give anything to go back to those good old college days when food plans were available, or when their parents were alive, or when they didn't feel useless, or when they had the love of another person. "Moving on" is an interesting pair or words to toss around, because it demands that we recognize the past for what it was, act accordingly, and then completely forget about it.

Even in such an awesome place and experience such as the one I am living, and trying to live as hugely as possible; I find myself, in those situations when comfort from home is needed, I turn my thoughts toward a relationship or experience that I know either Seattle or California brings me. I, quite frankly, have no excuse, and will try from now on to be fully and completely and wholeheartedly in Israel. One of my favorite sayings of Confucious is "Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart." Don't leave it with your friends or favorite water front, or even family. Your presence in those places and hearts is there whether or not you turn to them for a quick escape from discomfort or not. But if you opt to feel the tough things with as much absorption and acceptance and grace as you feel those mountain top moments, it will give you a perspective and strength that is incredibly useful and conducive toward helping and contributing whenever the need may present itself. Every chance we take not to run away assures that those inevitably tough areas of life that demand the strength of the human spirit to rise infinitely higher will not paralyze with fear, even if the difference is miniscule, it matters.

I hope you all are well living the good life with the remaining summer that is among us. Rock on, croutons.


Saturday, August 16, 2008


I grew up a child of the 90's, and that inevitably meant that T.G.I.F. television, Full House, the Disney Channel, and classic movies that featured the one and only Emilio Estevez were, sad or not, comfort experiences whose theme songs I can still recite on command and whose actors I most definitely crushed on once or twice. Hello, John Stamos. I also, and this is a lot of information, but if we're not honest, there's not a lot left, have always desperately wanted to be a child actor on one of those programs who got that awesome profile shot with their name under it accompanied with a very upbeat theme song about family values. At this point in my life, I couldn't be more thankful that a) I didn't have the talent to do that, as my cuteness was more because I had purple glasses and a few speech impediments, not because I was witty and b) My parents caught onto that, and never entered me into anything that resembled a talent competition.

Now, it's been a whole 10 days since I've had the joyful encounter of watching Mr. Feeny rock the classroom, but one of the things that always drew me to entertainment of wholesomeness is because at the end of each episode, there is always a redeeming moment, one where everything works out for the best, people hug or kiss, inspirational music plays, and you end the show believing that life like that. You all know what I'm talking about, and they get me EVERY time even though I'd like to think that I've changed since 4th grade. Regardless, the end-of-movie victory scenes in all three Mighty Ducks movies give me chills like an eskimo. When Charlie hugs Coach Bombay because he gave it his all and beat Iceland, or made his mom proud, or whatever, there is something about the underdog having the last say that is moving.

That was a very long explanation as to why what I saw today was particularly moving, and I'm hesitant to even write about such a topic because it's not my style to enter into this conversation unless both parties are ready and willing. But eff that, because while wandering in the Old City today, some friends and I stumbled upon the Holy Sepulchre, which I've been wanting to see, but didn't expect to find today at all. The Holy Sepulchre is a huge church built in 1149 that houses the site of Jesus' crucifixion, anointing, burial, and first resurrection sighting. It's a rather large labyrinth of chapels all dedicated to different points in time and people who played a part in that story, and they have original remnants of the slab or rock where He was anointed, the hole in the ground where the cross was nailed, the rock that held it up, etc, etc.

The people who I was with had no particular emotional attachment to this, so it was both understanding and uncomfortable that it was hard for me to hold it together as I was wandering through this place, because what kept hitting me over and over again was the victory story that these very real remnants tell humankind. What I find the most compelling about Christian faith is the redemption aspect...that it's never over. The point of the cross is that just when you think all hope is lost, and mankind really is as doomed as it feels, God sprouts some green through the concrete and we find that the game's not over, and the hope that we deem way too good to be true, actually exists, and perhaps the toughest thing to accept is how good of an offer that really is. I didn't mean for that to get preachy, by any means, but I'm convinced that it's more of a universal feeling and longing than a Christian label can bring across.

Christianity has been tainted and the church has made horrible mistakes, and absolutely still continues to not live up to the mission the God that we claim so fervently, or in some cases, as quietly as possible, to believe in. I believe that the way of peace and love and forgiveness and service that Jesus taught is the best way to live, but there aren't a lot of labels besides Christian that fit that description, but I definitely struggle with wanting to identify with Him versus wanting to identify with an institution that on many fronts, I don't agree with, and I don't think is portraying the gospel. The thing about today though, and perhaps about being in Jerusalem in general, is that it's just the Man right there, no messed up rules or expectations or stigmas to twist the message. Faith is a journey of valleys and plateaus, of that I am sure, but I'm both ecstatic and relieved to find that this story of love winning in the end topples most of my doubts. I know that's not the case for everyone, and I think that's absolutely legitimate and understandable. Perhaps it's just me being a sap, or perhaps it's more of a uniform core feeling than I realize, but the concept of the story never being completely finished, and that there's always something you can have up your sleeve to win that big game is one of the greatest truths I have to hold onto.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I'll keep this short and sweet for now, since I have to bounce in a few. This blog comes from the lovely land of Israel, where the skies are blue, the historical sites are numerous, and the falafel is BOMB. And I'm officially eliminating that word from my colloquial vocabulary. eeeeek

My time here has, already, forced me to grow in places I didn't know demanded growth, let alone, existed. I've met some really neat people, a few who I think are soul mates, seen the essentials, with the full intention of going back 34 more times, visited the Western Wall and the Old City, and learned the alphabet, geography, greetings, time, and food in Hebrew. Nutsos!

At the risk of sounding like a white, naive 22 year old, the middle east never ceases to fascinate me  with all of the contradictions that can literally be found in every crevice. Amidst all of that, however, is this incredible community who seem to cling to this ground, and they live their lives unabashedly willing to face whatever terror comes their way. Mind you, I went into this with the very biased perspective that Israel is wrong on almost every front. I'm sorry if that offends anyone, but the conversations and experiences that have happened only in a short week have me all bumfuzzled. All I can articulately say, at this point, is that existence in this place is not the way that anyone is meant to live, by any means, and it is both heart breaking and understandable and universal, and it's amazing that it's felt from the sidewalks to the children to the classroom.

More later, I gotta go haggle with my people. Peeeeaaaccceeee


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hey Nic, put down your iphone. No? Ok.

The scenario: Listening to The Wedding Singer's signature ballad in Nic's zen apartment located in beautiful NYC, digesting Dominos, hours away from the Holy Land and all that will bring about with it, and reveling in the fact that this afternoon I was mere feet away from Bradley Whitford, West Wing star. Holy shit?

I'll keep this brief because more important things like Edward Scissorhands on DVR is calling my name...but I find myself ridiculously and incredibly grateful for people who have known you since awkward fashion malfunctions, drooling smoothie before the morning even really begins, and thinking that massaging one's stomach after a big meal helps with digestion. Relationships have changed and morphed over the last 3ish years, and it's hard for me to remember what it felt like to spend all my nights with people who I now speak to every few weeks or so. I know that it was glorious and comfortable and that it paved the way for moments like this weekend, when all of the stupid/raw/Abigail Vanzantenfeudenheiserkennolyn characteristics were let loose, and I didn't make one attempt to cover them up. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said that it with old friends that one can afford to be stupid with. Get your dangling prepositions right, Oscar. I jest.

No but really, moving forward with my life with a few life-long friends in my pocket and a speed dial phone call away when an African-American Albino walks by, or when I become a nervous pooper and need a familiar voice to walk me through it in the stalls is a gift in and of itself. Good people, good people. There are few things more precious than those who you can pick it right back up with after months of little contact, and it's not because we haven't moved on, and it's not because we haven't changed, but it's because enough time was spent to get to know those unchangeable, essential parts of each other that no new clique or location or job can change. I'm becoming a mushy Maggie at a ridiculously fast rate right now, but I care not. If I ever become famous for my reflexes or impressions of flight attendants, (because that's all I know how to do. Ever.) I know that I will become instantly grounded when trips like this happen, and souls that have been there since forever show up. I'm so thankful that college hasn't changed these encounters that I cherish so dearly, and I'm so thankful for the confidence that they instill, so that taking big leaps become more than just a little possible, because of that assurance of a nervous pooper rescue. I love you all.


Friday, July 25, 2008

This isn't Nam, this is bowling. THERE ARE RULES!

Hey kids.

Yesterday circa 1 pm, Brett and I drove the dependable CRV down the ever scenic 1-5 highway and started the long journey forward, eventually landing in NYC and Jerusalem. All I can say after these past few weeks of running around like a squirrel surrounded by walnuts is that I am incredibly glad that I'm only leaving the 206 for sixish months. I had it in my head that the departure was far more permanent and life-changing before about a week ago, when I realized that leaving Norcal for Seattle to go to college was a far more difficult transition...and I lived. Go figure.

Geography has played a semi-huge role in my life, especially since high school. Someone recently told me that oldest children most often use distance as a means to differentiate themselves from their family, i.e. grow up. Since moving to Seattle, spending some time in India, Singapore, and Turkey, being about to head to Israel, and making locations a large part of my decision making process for whatever the next year shall bring...leads me to believe that this "oldest child rule" applies to me as well.

I'm both sensible and old enough to know in my head that amazing people can be found anywhere one points to on a map (except North Dakota. I'm just saying). Friends who fill souls aren't just stationed in Seattle, but there is something to be said for a certain location attracting certain types of people. I love and belong way too much to the West Coast stereotype to ever want to stray from it for too long, unless it was New York or Paris. Real talk. I have uber amounts of respect for people who truly live out this belief, however. Because it's still tough to willingly put one's self in a position of pure aloneness with no time table as to when that might change; and since graduation season has come and is still going, people are going through this struggle all around. Good for anyone who thinks that being new is a humbling enough experience that it deserves to be retried every so often, and good for anyone who recognizes the vulnerability and uncertainty that comes with that situation, so you lend out a hand to that new girl/guy.

It's an amazingly good thing that I'm not the only one in charge of deciding where to live or go. I would be paralyzed with indecision that I'd probably end up living on a boat, without any real knowledge of how to maintain/steer/start the ignition on a boat, so I'd sit in Lake Union and look at a map, get sea sick, drink tang, sell the boat, and stay on someone's couch cause Seattle friends are cooler than glaciers.

I shall be keeping this blog and emailing whilst in the Holy Land, and would love to hear from any and everyone. I hope that all of your summers are full of picnics and sun and campouts, or at least some of your favorite activities, if those don't fit the description. Much love.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Take it away, Jack

In his short essay "Essentials of Spontaneous Prose", Kerouac wrote: "Not 'selectivity' of expression but following free deviation (association) of mind into limitless blow-on-subject seas of thoughts, swimming in sea of English with no discipline other than rhythms of rhetorical exhalation and expostulated statement, like a fist coming down on a table with each complete utterance, bang!...

Never afterthink to 'improve' or defray impressions...the best writing is always the most painful personal wrung-out tossed from cradle-warm protective mind."


I tend to write exactly like I talk, which has an offbeat rhythm anyway; and that added to the fact that a whole four and a half people have ever even looked at this blog make me feel confident in letting a stream of consciousness flow without even previewing what I wrote before "publishing" these bursts of Lindsey for the world.

Perspective has been on my mind a lot lately. To an extent, we walk around each day with a certain, somewhat fixed perspective. That pertains to life, how we treat people, how we treat ourselves, what we choose to get anxious about, etc. My perspective, like most, is usually that this day is all I have right now, and there are things that I have to get done, or else, God forbid, I'll let someone else down. College students, I've realized, have this insane way of always being really busy, and this applies equally to people who work part-time, go to school full-time, and have some other extra-curricular going on as it does to the person who goes to school and volunteers sometimes, and the rest of the time, is slowly doing homework, or wandering, or just hanging out, as kids our age are allowed to do.

When I am reminded, and it happens maybe once a week, that this life isn't all there is, I am usually brought to my knees in one or the other. The concept of heaven aside, I absolutely believe that this existence is a beautiful, heart broken, vulnerable, joyous, and grief stricken and, that most of all, it matters. How we treat others, how we contribute one small verse to the greater play and bring about the tiniest bit of green in a world gone horribly wrong, yet still streaked with love; is something worth worrying about and keeping in perspective. And those manifest themselves in small acts, sure, but the bigger picture is always enough of a push to go an extra mile or two.

Travel. Art. Talking. Walking around. Taking out the ear phones. Reading. Listening.  All of these are ways of engaging in a culture whose life blood seems to be isolation. As a friend of mine said not that long ago, people really do want to talk about how their day is going, or what they are thinking of or worried about, or what they are thankful for that morning. You're probably not the only one. I'm definitely not the only one. 

Anytime that someone can assure me that I'm not the only person on this planet who feels the way I do when I talk about my aspirations for the future, and how I am worried about the degree of respect that will follow, a huge weight is lifted off of my shoulders. Perspective is gained when engagement happens, and I feel like all of those mechanisms toward reaching that end goal (calling out to something bigger, talking to each other, observing...) are so insanely human that it's absolutely ridiculous to pretend that it's not. At the end of the day, or this amazing life, if I have not made the sincere effort to step into someone else's shoes and engage to the point that our souls are capable, then I'm not sure that a lot of the other stuff will matter. Religious conviction (toxic?) aside, engagement with fellow humans who all giggle when Christopher Walken is in a hot tub, cry during weddings, and have a secret fetish for funfetti cake as well...is the point. 

I'm whelmed over the brim, not gonna lie. Blog is a funny word. 


Sunday, June 8, 2008

You crazy...I like you, but you so crazy.

Truly, wholly, unabashedly enjoying one's self for its entirety might be one of the top 10 most inherently difficult tasks, next to not having a full blown dance party when Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" comes on the speaker. It's downright impossible. My main man, John Mayer, recently proposed one of many solutions to solving the problem of self-consciousness that is killing our generation, one untainted heart at a time; and that solution was to "enjoy yourself, the talents and liabilities alike". You go, JM.

Perhaps it's generational self-deprecation, and perhaps it's an irrational fear of becoming a flaming narcissist, but I seriously doubt that I am alone in finding it difficult to enjoy both what I am thankful for the qualities that I proudly wear, but also the aspects that I would give my first born child to not have anyone discover. 

These past few weekends have been big theatre weekends for me, mostly because a lot of shows that my friends are in have been going up, so I definitely want to support them, but also it's a great way to forget about this weather for a bit. To be perfectly honest, after a year of removing myself entirely from the world of auditions, selling yourself constantly, and rejection mixed with awesome community; it's more than a little refreshing to be in that environment again, though I'm glad it was only for a bit. Unlike in previous years, I have been accompanied with friends who have never particularly enjoyed being around theatre kids (crazy, I know); and their reactions have been eye opening. The typical drama kid is mostly likely the loudest/most outrageous in the room, and when a bunch of them get together, then it's just pandemonium, unless you speak that language. When my friends pointed out these quirks and how they didn't think that drama kids would fare well in other "social circles", it immediately made me incredibly grateful for the institution of theatre, because it gives people who have always been told that they were "too much" a place to go.

That's pretty amazing, and there is a reason why actors get so close to each other so quickly. We all have those characteristics that some 3rd grade tool bag pointed out to us on the tire swing, or maybe a sibling, or perhaps even parent, that we couldn't quite shake off because the truth of it sank deeper than our defense mechanisms. And it's not even one, but several of those traits that develop as we grow and fall and get back up again. So perhaps people whose volume of voice is somewhat unacceptable in most social situations have a haven, but what about the people who don't have the desire or the place to celebrate their shyness or inability to be expressive, or "overly" emotional sides? 

We don't want to make the people around us uncomfortable, or God forbid, become vulnerable around anyone, so we cover up that part of us which we deem not worth celebrating with enough muster that would effectively move mountains, if only the efforts were redirected. What if Marianne Williamson was right in stating that liberating ourselves from our own fear automatically gives others the right to do the same? I understand that in middle school and high school, image was everything, and that leaves no room for flaws. I even can understand that college can be the same, if not more intense when it comes to building a "cool" image. But at what point are we going to stop making excuses for not wearing ourselves on our sleeves, and instead, celebrate wholeness. Whomever has the courage to do this first will most surely give way to a new kind of revolution; one where beauty can be seen in and on all, because brokenness is just as important, if not more so, in paving the way for perfection to redeem.

Obviously I'm the 293,329,328th person to speculate on this incredibly dynamic aspect of the human condition, but it it surely worth discussing again. Oh, and I'm sorry about the poor use of commas in the previous paragraphs, props if you made it through without cringing at my 7th grade grammar skillzzzz. 

Peace like a river,

Sunday, June 1, 2008

sunday, june 1. enjoy it, because it's the only one you'll ever get.

I've been waiting to get this off my chest for a while now. Hello opportunity!

Not too long ago, whilst reading and sipping liquid life in Tully's, a nice looking man sitting across from me asked me if I would like to co-lead a cult with him. It was a ripe 7 am, and I still was unclear as to where I was, so as a disclaimer, this all happened in a different state of consciousness than normal.

 My first impression, of course, was flattery, and I proceeded to ask him what the premise of this cult was, etc. Of course I understand the stigma that comes with such a word, so my second thought was that if this thing was going to go through, we should probably call it a "friend group" or "fun with meadows", because I could go without the judgment from my loved ones, quite honestly. At the time, I was feeling a little inept at life. It happens from time to time, and I certainly hope I'm not alone on that one, and I saw it as rocking that someone thought I had what it takes to convince a large community of people that my way of life is the best way of life. The foundational belief of the cult, he said, was that it was about brotherhood. 

Not bad so far. However, at this point during the conversation, I had woken up a little bit more, realized what I was frighteningly close to committing to, and gracefully exited the conversation, but of course not without wishing him the best of luck.

I have a few very rare and distinct people in my life who would do anything for not only their loved ones, but literally anyone. If someone is having trouble carrying groceries or looks like they might need someone to talk to, my friends step in without wondering who might be watching them. I recently read a passage in my karma book that said to "do every act of kindness that pops into your head for a whole week." Perhaps you know what I'm talking about, those things that we see as an immediate need, but because there is no accountability there, we are comforted by knowing that eventually that need will be met, so we can stay on our butts. I'm going to try this experiment and see what the benefits look like, but already I can imagine that transformation on all sides, perhaps small, will occur. 

I don't know, I get overwhelmed when I think of how much there is still left to do. Again, these are toilet epiphanies, but if we're not going to solve world hunger, we can at least plant a garden or visit someone in the hospital. 

Go team.