This is to fulfill my friend & Inner Beauty collaborator Elana Langer's birthday wish:
What I live by is hands, heart, body & mind, sensing into the world. What I live by is the possibility of waking up in this world & finding refuge in being itself. Not super-shiny being, not good-all-the-time being, not with-the-right-people-the-right-teacher-the-right-job-the-right-foods being, just being. Ordinary-extraordinary. Everyone’s birthright, there all the time, in all circumstances, if we listen.
Anne Lamott ends a recent piece about mother’s day saying, “I don’t want something special. I want something beautifully plain. Like everything else, it can fill me only if it is ordinary and available to all.” That to me is like the refuge quality of being: something beautifully plain that is available to everyone. Something that doesn’t care the tiniest bit whether you’re succeeding or failing in the eyes of the world, whether you’re gaining or losing, whether you’re gimping along or racing towards first prize.
I ironed Elana’s What I Live By patch to my studio apron because I want everything that happens in this space to be coming from a place of Let’s just see what happens here. A place of (as Laurie Anderson says) You were born and so you’re free, so happy birthday. Now, when I tie this thing on, I’ll think of Elana, of our complicated friendship, of her gorgeous laughter, and be reminded to live by what I live by. Why do anything else?
I live by the blind places and the wide-open ones. I live by being graceful one minute and terrible the next. I live by knowing difficulty is no mistake, and ease is always available.
108 Names of now