Go Do

A practice in celebrating and savouring the full-tilt life

 

Lewis Watson – Little Light

“I never had any for a long time. Decades. And then I had a ton. There is still wishful thinking and a sense of time wasted. I did a lot with my time, but there was so much I never even attempted because I thought for sure I would be bad at it. Or good at it. This is why I never learned to ollie very well and why I didn’t pursue writing as a legit career until I was about 28. At 28, I had been freelancing steadily for 12 years and publishing a zine, and I still was under the mistaken belief that I did not have what it took to be a writer. Matt convinced me I should try, and I did, and I realized about three weeks into “trying” that could have been writing full time for years, and my cowardice–fear of my own ambition got in the way. And that is my regret. That I lived without a sense of permission for so long.” – Jessica Harper on regret, via Ann.

I’m not sure what to do with this, but here it is, beckoning.

 

 

On Spring

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Kevin Garrett – Little Bit of You

It’s just barely spring, and already I’m chasing after the season with the same urgency I hunt fresh coffee in the morning. It’s impulsive, instinctive, like your tongue feeling cotton and suddenly thirst is all you can think. Once it starts, it’s hard to go back.

Saturday brought a visit to the cemetery, ground all squishy and scents all earthy. Sunday the sun invited the first patio of the season – closely followed by the second patio of the season later that afternoon. Bon Iver’s Sinatra blue light arrives early now, and the dew slicks the wood on the front steps. There’s a cool dampness about the morning that catches me and sends me to the Camino in an instant impulse. Memory is such a fascinating human experience. I can’t get enough of spring.

For my ever-loving country roots

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Bon Iver – 8 (circle)

I used to say I’m my worst self when I’m alone. I would shake my head and furrow my brow like it was the darndest thing, this trying to live well without anyone watching. And worse, the living alone in a city where I knew only a few family members and coworkers (admittedly, exceptional folk).

It takes time to build community, even for this extrovert. I say this to encourage you: these things take time in the best circumstances; it’s not you. Building community is not rocket science, but it can be slow. For me it is in fits and starts. What I can recommend is that you show up again and again, to church or small group or whatever social group you’ve committed to. Show up for coffee or a walk or dinner or whatever offer you propose or accept. Keep showing up. And accept that time alone does not mean something is wrong. It’s okay to have nothing to report on Monday when your coworkers inquire about what they can only assume was your fascinating weekend. It’s more than okay to like spending time with your parents and count phone calls as real social encounters.

This may not be how you expected your mid-twenties to look and feel, but if you’re anything like me, you had no idea what to expect even a few years ago. It would be a bit silly to hold yourself to that standard. My solitary life rotates on a reel of treasures my former selves couldn’t have seen. There’s a closeness with my family I never imagined embracing, a deep repose in Tiny Apartment with its creature comforts, work that teaches me more about myself than I’d like to know, a community that continues to grow and surprise me. It is good. And for me to live continuously in a state where I don’t believe it is good would be wrong.

I used to say I’m my worst self when I’m alone, but I wouldn’t say that anymore.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
– William Martin

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James Newton Howard – Bennet’s Decision

Today has been criss-crossed with confidence and fragility. With one breath, I can do this; with another, why try? I packed it up at noon and drove home for an afternoon with mom, grateful for a job that affords this flexibility. I’m of the firm belief I prove nothing by not taking sick days or using vacation and lieu time. In fact, it helps me be myself better.

Today, certainly, this is true. We chatted over mint smoothies and croissant caramel pudding (!!), and I stretched out on the couch to calm the ache in my centre. Mom is a storehouse of remedies. Know your limits, take your time, be gracious with yourself.

We Christians are called to more and greater things, to leave past selves and sins behind, all the while knowing in our weaknesses Christ is shown strong. We live in the tension of showing up for the hard work of progress and relying on his Spirit in us. It’s in this tension that we grow in relationship and reliance and plain old self-awareness. And it’s in this same tension I’m learning to be gracious with myself, as Christ has been gracious. So we grow, and we let ourselves off the hook, and sometimes we take an afternoon off.

Another Gratitude List

  1. A haunting folk concert in the Roundhouse.
  2. Running into friends in the city makes it feel like home.
  3. She came home, just because she needed the face time.
  4. Monday Thai lunches.
  5. When small group feels like a natural friend group.
  6. Carpooling, because we can, because it celebrates our geographic nearness.
  7. Joey the cat and banana bread French toast.
  8. Redemptive beers with an old friend.
  9. She loves my Apple Skor Dip more than most.
  10. Yoga in the school library.

Communion

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The Album Leaf – Back to the Start

We do communion often at my church, without schedule, in various ways. It involves big loaves of bread and bowls of grape juice for dipping. Sometimes we arrange the seating around the loaves and juice, and we crowd around the table as a big, loud, joking family. It is all the things I need in a ritual that points to Christ and his love for us. I’ve even caught pregnant friends eating the leftover bread; I’ve never loved them more.

There are days when the routine of the church service and its traditions, the language of Christianity, the right answers, are simply rote motions to me. I’ve been doing this since I could walk. And there are other times when the rituals bring me back to the heart of this walk, back to the important things. This is about Christ, not me. It’s about redemption and love and grace undeserved. And that helps me, somehow, make sense of all the rest.

A Reminder

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Amanda Cook – You are Kind

There’s always more than meets the eye. More than a social media account could ever represent. More than the places you visit and the people you meet, no matter how fascinating the destination or interesting the person. More than grades on a page or feedback on a project. More than your address, marital status, immigration status – any of the statuses. More than the company you keep and the job you earn. More than whatever plans for the future you claim hold to.

You are more simply because Christ says so. If you call Christ your Saviour, He redefines you. We are no longer bound to the affirmation and identity these things persuade. We belong to Christ, and we can know that is more than any of these things. It takes work to let go of the old affirmation and identity-givers. It can be difficult and disappointing to continually re-evaluate and re-route them. But I’m here to tell you I’m so grateful to be more.

A Few Treasures

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The 1975 – If I Believe You

After watching this video, Brad said he thinks Kristen Wiig might be my spirit animal. This is by far my favourite episode.

I sometimes have trouble controlling my face. Such as, “I Would Prefer Not to Face”. I should include this in my event kits as a loose field guide to working with me.

There is a growing volume of articles about the distracting nature technology has taken in many of our lives. This is one I read to the very end. I love the idea of owning your attention.

Similarly, apparently this is the 3rd most popular TED presenter of all time. Around our office, he embodies the theory that smartness=hotness. Plus, he’s terribly articulate.

The light in Charlotte Bland’s home always catches me.