The Long Island Watchtower

I don’t know what day it is. I mean, I know it’s Wednesday, but that automatic calculation of days has left me. Monday night is the night I want to write about. Tuesday was a write-off.

Brett, Brian, Claudio, Mindy (Adam’s lovely wife), my loves and I drove to Long Island to rescue the Legendary Adam from his family home for a few brief hours to share a meal, and remind him of life outside of his current reality.

I don’t even remember the name of the restaurant. There was a lot of seafood, and a lot of drinks. (Mom, you may not like this post, but it needs to be said, so here it is.) We decided early on that Sarah would be our DD, and so she sipped coffee in her delicate, Sarah way and witnessed the evening unfold.

Adam has a face you instantly like, and this isn’t something you can tell from pictures. In photos he seems interesting, comical, and outgoing, but there is a warmth that radiates from this guy that you can only feel in person. I’ve heard so much about his larger-than-life personality, that I was surprised to realize he wasn’t a giant. I expected him to be my brother’s size.

He was understandably quiet, and I realized this was a very rare opportunity to see a side of this guy that few people ever see. I was touched by that, and touched by his comfort with everyone. He didn’t feel like he had to perform, he was able to relax, remain engaged, and just appreciate the company.

The boys are now a bit sketched out by this blog (or perhaps by me). They’ve brought a friend named Ari, and they warn him not to say anything because it may end up on the Internet. They don’t seem to realize that this blog is typically about me, not other people.

After our feast, and just around the time I was starting to lose feeling in my face, half the posse headed back to the city, leaving the three of us, Adam, Mindy, and Brian behind. At first we thought we were heading to Adam’s high school hangout, but we ended up back at the Hersh home.

Adam asked Sarah to come inside and help him collect a couple of bottles of his father’s scotch. The rest of the evening gets fuzzy from here. Brian seemed really uncomfortable with the idea of hanging out so close to home, he’s incredibly honorable, and didn’t want to show disrespect, but I assured him that if Adam needed us close, it was all okay. I’m not sure how reassuring a stranger can be, but there you go.

We stretched ourselves out on the lawn and consumed copious amounts of drink. We talked quietly, sometimes I laughed too loud, Mindy went into bed, and their shih tzu, Jack Bower, rested between Sarah and I.

Adam couldn’t help but give me the same warning that everyone who loves my partners gives me. He was subtle, but it was clear. He loves this family, and needed me to know that. I’ve grown accustomed now to fielding such statements, questions, and remarks. I assured him he needn’t worry,  because we share a love for these people that runs very deep.

My emotions were right on the surface, which may or may not have been appropriate, but it’s actually not possible for me to witness someone else experiencing such a huge moment without feeling great empathy. I offer up this blog post, from Spring of ’09 by way of explanation, in case I was out of line. Sometimes other people’s tears are the last thing you need. I felt like we bonded, but I was fairly hammered, so it’s hard to be sure.

I realized a few huge things on Monday night. I want to share them here, because there is something about the written word that sets these revelations in stone (here’s the part where I turn the microscope back on me):

* Our friendships and family are the only really important things we have.

* There is no way to understand certain experiences of life unless you’ve lived them, and even then, your experience is totally personal.

* When I drink too much I flip the same kind of switch that my grandfather did and spiral downwards into total self-loathing. This was our experience later in the evening, after we had left. It was as ugly as I’ve ever been, and I regret it more than anything.

* Deep down inside, underneath all the bravado and outspoken tendencies, there is part of me that cannot accept that I deserve real, healthy love. If I can’t fix this, I will make this loveless idea my reality, despite anyone else trying their damnedest to love me. I wonder how many of us share this?

* I am loved. Really and truly loved, in a healthy, positive way, by two incredible people.

I don’t know how long we’re staying here. We’re having dinner with Adam tonight, and then we’re talking about leaving early tomorrow to drive back to Canada, our children who I am missing desperately, and the beaver farm. This week has been emotional, and deeply impacting, and I am staring down feelings and memories that are nearly seven years old and as vibrant as if they happened yesterday.

This life will only amaze us if we allow it to. It will test us, and challenge us, and shape us, and then it falls to us to decide what to do with our remaining days. I think I am only now beginning to understand that I have more power than I’ve ever given myself credit for when it comes to creating my experience of life.

Another Chapter

Hello world. I miss you guys. Life is settling nicely now, and I’m definitely going to have more time to write, so there will be more frequent postings. I wrote this at the start of the month…

The Fortress of Solitude is no longer.

Yesterday I spent twelve hours moving, with the aid of my man. We schlepped like nobody’s business, and today I feel like I’m hung over and have fallen down a flight of stairs.

My point is not to whine (though god knows I’m good at it), but to tell you that an era has ended.

I have all the happiness I have ever wanted, and I’m so incredibly grateful.

We have amazing families, and now I can proudly say that they are all of them united in their love and support. I’m always so delighted when people surprise me, and my heart swells with pride when I reflect on the loving, caring people we have in our lives, who put our happiness first and really examine how happiness can be defined for different people.

My new love has brought a beautiful new concept into my life. This concept actually summarizes something I’ve believed since I was quite small. I love these opportunities to attach a name to a belief or a value I’ve held dear. For some of you, this term is new, and for me it is how I wish to define my life, and is the primary value I wish to instill in my children.

Pluralism is essentially the idea that our differences are what make us a vibrant society and they should be respected and celebrated. It’s kind of what comes naturally to most Canadians, but more specifically, it can even describe the idea that despite our differing customs, values, faiths, and cultures we are all connected by a single unifying thread that some people think of as Divine.

I’ve always felt this, and I’ve always believed that rather than looking like an old dude with a beard, God is in fact an intangible presence, more like a light that embodies male and female qualities or polarities. More than anything else, I’ve always felt that my relationship with God is deeply personal, so even in Schnooville, I won’t wax poetic about theology.

My point is this; my in-laws are awesome. They are warm, loving people who love their kids, and who really walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to their faith. They are enlightened and forward-thinking, and I’m really proud of all of our parents, and eager to build relationships with the ones I’ve just inherited.

This life we’ve carved out for ourselves is unlike anything I’ve been able to discover, even in the vast expanse of the Internet. Our network of support will be one of the most important things in our life together. Thanks to all of our moms, dads, sisters, brothers, and cousins who have been so accepting and so very, very cool.

We love you, and are glad to have you to share our lives with.

Gobbeling It All Up

Ya Bunch 'O Turkeys

Ya Bunch 'O Turkeys

Gratitude Top 30, 2009

In no particular order

1. ) You and your clever green/blue eyes and mop of toussled hair in the mornings, and your ability to always hear my heart without me ever needing to use my lips

2. ) You for your gentle patience, attention to detail, gigantic heart, and beautiful mouth, and for restoring my faith

3. ) You and the way you pronounce my name as though it had a letter “f”

4. ) You and your ability to read my mind and always know when I need a cuddle or a spontaneous “you’re so beeeeoootiful!”

5. ) Amanda for her ferocity, loyalty, and endless bounty of love.

6. ) Ming for her creativity, eye for beauty, steady, unwavering love, and impending bundle of joy

7. ) Kathryn for her incredible support, genius, understanding and partnership

8.) Josh for being the best guy for so many years, and for gladly stepping down to Commander Riker status when an honest-to-goodness Picard came along

8. ) Kyle, for almost always “getting me”

9. ) Mom, and her wall posts and chat attempts that show she’s really trying, and for her secret stash of hand-knit baby things

10. ) Dad for the best email all year

11. ) My boss, who I think can read my mind

12. ) Les Coquettes – both the on stage and off stage players, who fill my days with creative fire, and make each day a quest for beauty

13. ) Auntie Jackie and the enduring lesson that this tiny speckle of time is ours to make as fabulous and filled with love as we can

14.) Everyone who reacted to recent news with “That’s so awesome, I’m so happy for you all!”

15.) Everyone who reacted to recent news with “Wow, incredible. I have so many questions for you!”

16.) Everyone who reacted to recent news with “Oh, Schnoo.” or “Why????” or  “I have a terrible feeling about this.” or “I’m really worried about you.” or “Someone is going to get really hurt” or “It’s wrong to do this because there are children involved” or “I never would have chosen this for you”. Your fear and concern have reinforced everything I believe to be right and good because I can look you straight in the eye and tell you this is the best thing that’s ever happened.

17.) Waking up every morning to a hearty breakfast with the people I love, a packed lunch and a ride to work

18. ) Adventures in Schnoovile, where I feel like I was re-born

19. ) The Fortress of Solitude and it’s incredible restorative powers

20. ) Ursula and Andy for being the best landlords ever

21. ) Alexandra leaving – bittersweet, but ripe with adventure and possibility, and I’m thrilled that I get to read it all in old-fashioned letters from the coast

22. ) Arthur who filled the void so beautifully. I’ll miss you buddy

23. ) The smell of baking bread, currently tickling my nostrils

24. ) Crisp sunny autumn bike rides and the apples in my cheeks

25. ) Really, truly, loving myself

26. ) Barcelona, and Leonard Cohen’s birthday party

27. ) Saturday afternoon family pile-ups on the couch with a movie

28. ) The fact that we all have the same taste

29. ) The way you both look at me when I’m making art, on stage, singing, playing, writing, and doing any of the other things I love the best

30. ) Forgiveness. Without it, I’d never be here.

Solomon Says

Bow River captured by iPhone

Bow River captured by iPhone

A fine evening to end my Banff experience.

Jennifer (my boss) and I had an early supper, and then walked along the Bow River into downtown Banff. It was a beautiful, scenic stroll. Once downtown we hit the movie theatre, which was a small, sticky-floored, messy place completely unlike the megaplexes one is used to in Toronto. There was something charming about the place, and it seemed to be ruled by pimply teenagers with squeaky voices without any adult management in sight. We saw “The Time Traveler’s Wife” which is an adaptation of what might be my favourite book. It was shot beautifully, but as is always the case, the book was far more powerful an experience. That Rachel Mc Adams sure is lovely.

Walking home at dusk was most serene, and once back at The Centre we paused to take in the mountain vista. The sun was sinking slowly behind the Rockies and the sky was melting from slate blue into inky twylight. We were both silent, and I feel we were likely both saying a silent goodbye.

Mine was a silent thank you. To this place, and to the Universe that led me here. I felt my heart open up like a valley, and I invited all manner of possibility to find its way in. I whispered a prayer to the Universe to affirm that I was ready for the next great chapter of my life. To assure that I felt strong, and still, and free of the doubt and fear that have tailed me like a shadow since the end of my last relationship. Then, at the exact same moment, Jennie and I turned to each other and knew it was time to move on.

In the lobby of the Professional Development Centre, where our rooms are, we encountered a very dapper African American gentleman, who was in the company of a most elegant African American woman. We commented on the brisk temperature, and he informed us in a voice as rich and thick as molasses that he and his wife were from Atlanta. He was wearing a beautiful suit in a blue that matched the twylight sky, and a tie that looked like a silk tie from the forties in a vibrant canary yellow. He and his wife both had the most beautiful eyeglasses, wire frames with thick arms that featured intricate, die cut patterns. Jennifer inquired about what brought them to the Centre, and the gentleman locked eyes with me as he answered:

“I’m here to show how to unleash your inner power.”

He then explained that he was an inspirational speaker working with a conference for insurance people, but I had stopped listening to these details because I had a full body shiver. I glanced down at the lanyard around his neck and saw that his name was Solomon.

Solomon, for those of you who don’t know, was one of the greatest kings in biblical history, and he is a player who figures heavily in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish mythology. He was most popularly known as “Solomon the Wise”.

The name Solomon means “peace”.

“I am here to show how to unleash your inner power.”

Though I will have no exposure to Solomon’s teaching, I feel like his very presence in that very moment has started me on my path to greater self-discovery.

My catcher’s mitt is now at the ready.

The Long, Hot Summer

LHSWeb

Yes of course if you live anywhere near Toronto that’s a ridiculous title for this post, but the alternative is “The Dripping Wet Summer”. You can tell me which is more appealing. I’ll take either, and both. One is steam rising from the pavements sensual, and the other is the freckle-faced glory I crave during our epic winters.

It’s been a few days since I’ve been here, and I can blame this on two things:

1.) I have a show that opens on Thursday. Please see the image above.

2.) I have fallen deep into the Rabbit Hole and Wonderland is more spectacular than anyone could describe.

And so, I return to Schnooville to tell you this:

When you start to listen to what the Universe is telling you, and when you trust your own heart, it is the most profound magic you will ever know. I’m exploring some of the deepest corners of who I am, and what I want my life to be. At the end of the day, when all of the outside influences fall away, the answers seem so simple and clear. I’m challenging everything I thought that I knew about myself.

Love is not about losing yourself in someone else. It’s about finding yourself reflected in them, and looking deeply into your own soul to understand that the beauty they see in you, the beauty they love in you, is yours and yours alone, and it is the greatest gift that you have. You alone must sustain and nurture your own light so you can reflect back the love you are fortunate enough to receive.

All of the healing, understanding, acceptance, courage, strength, power, wisdom, and joy you seek are sitting there, somewhere inside you, like boxes of memories from ancient ancestors. When you finally tackle the mess, you’ll be amazed at what you begin to unearth.

The Life Aquatic

ocean-temperature

There is an ocean inside you.
I can hear it between your words
as clearly as the yawning roar
from the pearly slit of the seashell at my ear.

You have held these tides at bay
and have quelled the undulation of the waves
with the steady power of your gaze,
but the fathoms are so strange and deep
that they wake you, feverish from your slumber.

Who will you become if you surrender?
If you abandon the exhausting tread
to sink slowly, and steadily
into the velvet green of unknowable fathoms,
will you be dangerously far from the all-illuminating glow of the sun?

Or will the ancient, secret levithan
fold you carefully to her scaly breast
and sift her golden treasures
from the silt and sediment that has settled
upon a trove so vast and bountiful
that the solar glare suddenly seems so garish and so strange.

medaw7cjyp

Before I Fall Into Exhausted Sleep

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i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like,, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh….And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you quite so new

e.e. cummings