Real Love

Took an early morning run today…still v. hot at 8:00.
Then my brother came over to help me do some house handy-manning and here’s a nice little illustration on perspective:

Me: Sorry I’m gross. I just got done running.
He: How far did you go today?
Me: Oh not far. Just to Commercial Street.
He: *Ironic laugh*

So one man’s “not far” is another man’s “i’d rather get shot in the knee.”

On this run my iPod served up some 90s Mary J Blige…

Real Love / I’m searchin for a real love / someone to set my heart free / real love / iiiiii’m searchin for a real love.

Sounds nice enough, right? But that, I think, is a fundamental breakdown in a lot of relationships (take, oh all of mine, for example): expecting the other person to “set my heart free.”

I’ve followed Elizabeth Gilbert back through Italy and India now, and I know that she would tell old MJB (or, more accurately, Richard From Texas would tell her): if you can’t set your heart free by yourself, ain’t no someone else gonna do it for you, Groceries.

He’d tell me I have to love myself with a fierce REAL LOVE, which means
forgiving my faults
getting over my guilt
and participating in imperfection (see, this is the tough one.)

But if there’s a lesson running has taught me, it’s that faults, guilt and imperfection can’t stop you if you don’t let them. Running has also taught me to love myself at my sweatiest, stinkiest, most fatigued, most ready-to-give-up-but-just-barely-don’t.

Early in my run I noticed a pretty bush of hibiscus-y wildflowers. Deep inside one of them was a bee, noshing its little bee fill on nectar, all the while just getting covered in pollen. The bee didn’t seem to care. (Either the bee didn’t notice, or it knows a good secret: sometimes getting what you really need will be a little messy.) Maybe all he knows is that what’s good for him is getting that nectar.
Keeping himself alive. Keeping the flowers alive. Keeping the whole world alive.

I have to think Elizabeth Gilbert would say that all has something to do with REAL LOVE.

Running in the rain is my eating spaghetti.

this afternoon i went running in the rain.
notice i didn’t say “i went running and got caught in the rain”. No.
I went running. In the rain.

And why, you ask, would i do a silly thing like that?
I’ll conjure my best Garth Algar for the answer: I wanted to.

And boy was that a good idea! I haven’t felt that free or happy in…too long.

exhibit A: happy little drowned rat.

The adventure started out small. I was sitting here enjoying my half-day friday at home, all my electronic entertainments unplugged for fear of lightning (my boss lost a TV last week, folks. Mother Nature shan’t be messed with.) And I noticed the pelting rain out my kitchen window and thought, I want to go to there.

A couple times this year I’ve been hanging out with other people during rainstorms and said, “let’s go play in the rain! I want to go play in the raiiiiin” sounding much like Amy Poehler when she impersonates a little kid. But the general reaction would always be something like, “No. you crazy.”

Today I was by myself. Alllll by myself. So I decided what the hell, self. Let’s go play in the rain.
(Being the responsible kid that i am, i did toss on some waterproof running clothes first. and put a towel by the back door.)

and i noticed something nifty about pelting rain: when you aren’t trying with all your might to stay dry, pelting rain is actually quite nice. It wasn’t cold. It wasn’t dousing like a shower even. Just refreshing. And unusual.

I noticed something else: a rainbow in my neighbor’s yard. Not in the sky above my neighbor’s yard, but an honest-to-god rainbow IN my neighbor’s yard. Floating just above the grass under her clothesline.

I noticed a third thing: never has my (our) garden smelled so good. The little plants have made it. through hot days and my opposite-of-green thumbs (what’s the opposite of green…red? red thumbs?*) and a couple of dine-and-dash groundhogs.

That’s the thing about living things, huh? You give them what they need (sunlight. water. a fence to keep the groundhogs at bay) and against all odds, they grow.

So after my romp around the back yard, I decided, well, okay. Let’s go running too.
Because it’s been too damn hot to go running lately.
Because no one’s here to tell me not to, or warn me to be careful, or make me feel silly.

And it, too, was quite nice. Instead of avoiding puddles I sought them out. (Puddles are warm. Gross.) And I felt FREE and HAPPY like I haven’t in quite a while. (I said that already, didn’t I?)

Incidentally, I’m reading Eat, Pray, Love again right now.
Partly because the movie comes out soon. (yay)
Partly because I’m in a not-so-secret blog love affair with the idea of Elizabeth Gilbert.
Partly because…I’ll have what she’s having. The joy and the centering and the prioritizing self and the connecting with spirit. (and the eating gelato. lots of the eating gelato.)

Yesterday a friend gave me the good advice that it couldn’t hurt for me to do as EG did. While I’m trying to get myself together, I should find a way to eat spaghetti too.

Maybe running in the rain is my eating spaghetti. It’s at least a good place to start.

*yes. red is the opposite of green. i may or may not have used my sharpies  to form a color wheel that answered this question.

i’m with coco.

I'm with Coco

Coco gets festive. source: I'm with Coco Facebook page.

What do you do when you face a breakup and a birthday in one week? Well for one, you get angry. For two, you get lots of good creative energy. (I’m also with D.H. Lawrence when he said, I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze.) For three, you get enjoyment out of reconnecting to things that are essential to who you are.

This site, Bookshelf Porn, captures something essential for me. I found it today, in a roundabout fashion, because two separate people at work showed me this feature from Communication Arts showcasing a bookstore cafe in NYC. I looked up McNally Jackson books (because when somebody tells you that you’ll like something…twice…you take notice.) and found BSP on their site. What a happy discovery.

While exploring this tumblr from the guy who curates Bookshelf Porn, I ran across this quote from Conan’s final show:


*sigh* Okay, Conan. I believe you. (I mean, I don’t believe you…but I believe you.) There are still new things to discover. There are things to care about and people to share them with.
And if a girl ever gets lonely…she can snuggle up with her ultimate fantasy: a handsome, solid, generously stocked bookshelf.