Wednesday, January 20, 2010


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"I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." - Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Sometimes life seems to offer too many choices, and at others not enough. When opportunities are confused with distractions, or vice-versa, and the myriad of options leave us in confused despair. What is the balance between order and chaos, method and madness? And how do we navigate the pitfalls from the blessings, the booby traps from the safe havens, and acquire the awareness to distinguish one from the other? When I look back on the places I've been, the dips and turns, the highs and lows, I have few regrets. Rather, I'm grateful for the experiences that shaped my life, the adventures that molded me into the woman I am.

When I was in my teens I longed for something I could not name, that thing just at the tip of the tongue waiting to be sprung, and grasped. I had not lived long enough to know or understand what my heart craved, but longed for anyway. In my 20's I was fearless, chasing after that ever elusive dream with naivete and reckless abandon, determined that for one brief instant I would "catch up, and live for a moment in unison with it", and that would be my miracle. By the time my 30's rolled through, I was somewhat jaded but ever so conscious that each precious moment was to be savored, not swallowed whole like an afterthought. I did not want life to pass me by like a speeding train as if I were staring out the window, the landscape passing quickly like picture-perfect postcards, just beyond my grasp. Each moment is a confession, a declaration of sorts, a promise yet fulfilled.

There are places in the heart that are hollow and echo with the pain of remembrance. And in the spaces in between breathes all the secret longings never voiced. Somewhere, caught in the wind of indecision, is an echo of what has already passed. Many times I have set out with purpose only to be defeated by my own lack of direction or focus. Wanting and choosing are two very different things. We can want and never have that desire fulfilled because we choose not to take the necessary actions to place ourselves closer to that goal. Each decision is a process, or a promise, that must be fulfilled in order to reach its fruition.

Sometimes it seems there is very little we can control in our lives, the topsy-turvy rotation of our days that despite our need for it to slow down, or at times come to a complete stand-still continues on despite ourselves. Spinning off its axis, leaving us dazed and confused, dizzy and crying to be let off. Slowing down, and getting off the merry-go-round takes both courage and infinite patience. You must find your center, an inner balance that won't falter despite the chaos. Only then can you find sure footing, to plant deep the grounding we all yearn for. Many of believe security comes from the very things that cage us, those things that pin us down, and require far more energy and sacrifice to maintain than they should. Status, power, wealth, possessions, all those things that are external expressions, material trappings that in the end are worthless without love, gratitude, and appreciation for the simplicities of life that cost us nothing. Paring down brings an inner serenity that is priceless. Bringing your house in order, taking care of business, crossing off each item on the 'to do' list of life, and the satisfaction that comes with it - these are the things that stuff of dreams are made of. It's the quiet, uncomplicated incidents that bring you happiness, like having the perfect pen to write with, turning on the radio and hearing a song that exquisitely captures the moment, or unexpectedly coming across the very thing you never knew until that moment you were searching for. Life is a series of simple pleasures that give meaning to our time here and now. Living in the present, driven by the power of now. Not caught up in the net of the past, or the phantasm of the future. The only thing that exists is now, everything else is an illusion that was never in our grasp to have or to hold. When the present fades into the past, nothing but a faint recollection distorted by the folding and refolding of our lives it can offer you little but regret. But nothing is as exhausting as the grasping for tomorrow, for that thing which has yet to happen. It is but a taunting apparition, a yearning or a bogeyman, steeped in hope or shrouded in darkness. For every step backwards, and every blind leap forward, we've already lost right now, tripping in our haste to leave today behind and jump into tomorrow. Now is the breath of life, without now there would be nothing but yesterdays and tomorrows. Without now, instead of memories we live with regret, and instead of possibilities we grasp at nothing. Today should be savored, chewed to the fullest, and swallowed like it's our last meal.

Neil Cassady and Jack Kerouac
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn burn burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!" - Jack Kerouac, On the Road
This is a scrumptious vintage pineapple coconut pie, otherwise known as Dang Good Pie. Best served with a scoop of optimism, and a zest for life.

Dang Good Pie
1 large or 2 small prepared pie shells
1 stick butter, softened
2 tbsp flour
1 can (8.25-oz) crushed pineapple, drained
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can (3.5-oz) Angel Flake coconut
dash of salt
6 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Beat eggs. Add flour, sugar, and butter. Mix well.
  2. Add pineapple and the rest of the ingredients, mixing well.
  3. Baste the pie shell(s) with beaten egg white to prevent a soggy crust. Pour pineapple cocount filling into pie shell(s).
  4. Bake for 45 minutes, or until set and browned. Cool pie completely, and refrigerate. Best served chilled.

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