Finding Your Fierceness

Having spent most of last night at the ER watching my son endure the pain of his illness, I crawled out of bed this morning hung-over from no party, dreading the fast-approaching hour of work. My son was ok, but I was exhausted. I had no energy left to write, my spirit depleted and beaten down.

I wanted to find a deep dark rock to crawl under and hibernate… for a year.

I had every best excuse to forget my deadline, to retreat and fight another day.

Somewhere under the scalding shower spray, I found my fierceness again. Like trees forcing their way towards the sun on a storm-battered cliff, words started to coalesce in my mind, beatiful words for just the part of the book I’d been stuck on.

Life wants to grow!

I can always find a thousand reasons why I just don’t have the creativity to write. And they will always be true.

But I will not submit. I will not back down.

I write in defiance, standing in the driving wind and howling back at the storm.

I write to create beauty and life amidst desolation and despair.

I write to fling blazing sparks out into the darkness.

We can’t just fight the battle. We have to pick up our swords and charge in with everything we have, without a thought for whether it’s a winning battle or a losing one.

How do you find your fierceness?

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Life and the Art of Stunt Kites

Stunt KiteYesterday was an incredibly gorgeous day in the Pacific Northwest, when the air is so delicious that just breathing is an incredible rush.

So I bought a brand-new stunt kite and set out on my bike to get a sunburn.

As the brilliant kite zipped up into the air, alive and pulling hard at the end of my lines, I felt the thrill of it in my blood. All the grey days and late nights battling a mutating ToDo list, all the crazy hour death marches at work, were all worth it just to be alive at this moment and flying in the sun by the ocean. Nothing could be more glorious!

I spun through an amazing crazy stunt, gathered a small crowd of exclaiming onlookers… and smashed into the ground. I could not get my beautiful brand-new kite to stay aloft for more than a minute at a time.

Which isn’t that unusual, considering that I’d never actually flown it before.

Growing up, I learned biking without training wheels, swimming by diving into the deep end, and programming by starting at the end of the book.

Trouble is, it usually worked. I learned to despise my mistakes.

While I unscrambled kite string, the onlookers wandered away. The lump of shame stung hard in my throat. Launch! Crash! Launch! Crash! If I could only get the hang of keeping it in the air, I promised I would never let it come near the ground again.

Then a funny thing happened. As I got better, I found myself getting bored with just holding it aloft. Less than an hour ago, I’d prayed for that very thing. Now that I could do it easily, I tried wilder and wilder stunts, daring myself to zoom as close to the ground as I could and pull back at the very last second.

Now when I crashed, I ran jubilantly to unscramble the lines. Every crash meant that I was trying something spectacular!

So:

Life is not about avoiding mistakes, but learning to make glorious ones.

Some lessons I just have to keep learning.

Question: What was your most glorious mistake? What would you like your next one to be?

Is Love Blind?

My wife just shared with me that she believes she really is “a glass half empty” kind of person.

That sounds strange to me.

I have known her since we were very nearly children together, and I have never seen her that way at all.

I have seen her struggle with that kind of thinking many times over the years, but I never think of it as defining her, any more than she’s defined by struggling with a cold or sore muscles after a good workout.

Maybe she struggles with it more often than some others do, but I always see it as a temporary affliction.

So is love blind?

Or is it more true that when we find ourselves mired down with everyday struggles and our own harsh judgements, love sees us with eyes more open to who we truly are.

Was Einstein Right?

There are two ways to live. You can live as if nothing is a miracle, or you can live as if everything is a miracle.

– Albert Einstein

This week, I’m inspired by my good friend Jenni’s post.

Sometimes I just end up down in the dirt.

And sometimes I think it’s a miracle that there’s dirt at all, or a me to be down in it. So I’m firmly on the miracle side, because even in the midst of all the struggle and pain, I’ve still seen too many sunsets and heard too much incredible music and eaten too much dark chocolate.

Question: What makes you believe in miracles?

Welcome, Rowdy Prisoners!

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The small man
Builds cages
For everyone he knows.
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head when the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the
Beautiful
Rowdy
Prisoners.

– Hafiz

Welcome, all you beautiful rowdy prisoners!

Question:
When has someone dropped you a key?
When have you dropped a key for someone?

One random commenter will get an autographed copy of the next Dragonfly short story, coming this spring!

Fever or Forgotten Wings

Something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire
and I wrote the first faint line…
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open…
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke free on the open sky.

– Pablo Neruda

The best expression I’ve heard on what compells us to create art.
May you always burn with fever, and may you discover amazing places on your forgotten wings!

Question: What was it like the first time you discovered your passion?