Sunday, July 14, 2013

You can't always get what you want

Dear Everyone In My Life Who Gets Zero of My Time Right Now,

I know you know I'm in school.
I know you know I'm working.
I know you know I'm interning.
I know you know I'm dating a wonderful boy. (If you didn't know that, AHEM: I'm dating a great man that I'm crazy about and we may say the love words and he might make me dinner a lot of the time. I may have hearts in my eyes for him. More on that someday soon.)

Please also know that I haven't forgotten you! When I say I want to do lunch/dinner, talk on the phone, hang out and/or generally "catch up": I really mean it. I want to be at your wedding shower, baby shower, birthday party, etc. I want to be at your cookout, your pool time, your backyard hangout with your kids. I want to help you move and paint your walls and finish your nursery. I want to meet you on a patio for drinks and a sunset. I want to come hold your baby while you shower or you clean your kitchen or you go on a date with your husband. I want to listen to you vent. I want to stay up til 2am laughing and crying and watching Bridesmaids while we quote every word and try to be Kristen Wiig. I want to cook dinner and have you over to my house.

I want all these things.

Some days, I want them desperately. I want them more than I want to graduate. More than I want my "low tire pressure" light to stay off on my dashboard. More than I want sleep. *Today is that day.

Here's the thing: You can't always get what you want. (UGH.)

The truth is that I want to be able to do everything well and I hate missing out on important moments in the lives of those I love and call friend/family. However, I'm having to accept the reality that a lot of what I want will have to wait until December. Please give me your grace and understanding in the meantime and know that while it may seem like you've gone off my radar; you haven't.

[Insert cheesy Phil Collins "You'll be in my Heart" lyrics]

I love you, my people. 5 months & counting...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Quote (s)

I've been reading for class this weekend and these passages all struck me as wonderful.

"A sukkah is a ceremonial replica of the nomadic huts the biblical Israelites used during their wandering through the desert. It took them forty shift the horizon so that a new way of being, a new terrain of communal identity, moral commitment, and political freedom, could 'show up' for them. During the days and nights of celebrating Sukkot, Jews are encouraged to build and actually live in a sukkah. The tradition says that a sukkah should be built so that one can look up through the palm leaves of the roof, into the night sky, and see the stars. By sleeping under the stars, the rabbis hoped to emphasize the wandering, impermanent, and fleeting moment that is a human life, to confront the dangers and material deprivations involved in revolution, and to acknowledge the ultimate values of human relationship...and freedom."

"Living is a passage untamed by our yearnings for certainty and permanence."

"Ours is an uncertain and impermanent fate, but one that allows us room to struggle, fight, imagine, dream, wish - to build, ever anew, the cultural bridge that keeps us aloft. We must build and rebuild it, even as we walk upon it, depending upon it for support. Our limitation, then, is also our strength: we live in an interdependent, interpenetrating world of tradition and change, communalism and individuality, confidence and confusion, authority and uncertainty. The source of our confusion and fear is also the source of our significance."

"We give ourselves over to building that which must be continually resculpted and reconfigured. We must build bridges, not idols. Life is in the wandering."

---Philip Cushman
(Constructing the Self, Constructing America: a Cultural History of Pscyhotherapy.  Pg 330-331)

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 Intentions: First Quarter Grades

No phone whilst driving.  Um yea. No. I haven't done much improvement here at all so far. Sticking to mostly stoplights but still. Not good enough. F

No honking. I have only honked in the friendly "beep beep" way and it was after the light had been green for a whiiiiiiiile. A

No gift cards. I've only given 1 gift card and it was for a co-worker's baby shower. I found it hard to give a personal gift when I didn't really know her that well. B+

Get back to paper and pen. I have written some some things but I haven't been diligent at all. I was reading through some old journals last night and found myself wishing I had done a better job of documenting my life...especially the last 2 years. D-

Finish Strong. I'm trying. I've still got a 4.0 next to my name, but that's not an accurate reflection of my best efforts. It's just a nice bonus. B-

Surrender. After some brief moments of freaking out, I have cannon-balled into some major risks. I quit my job. I am dating a wonderful boy. I am seeing clients and preparing for my future career. I am letting the future unfold with as little control as possible. It is freeing. A

Take care of yourself. This has been tricky. It's already April and there is no consistent rhythm in my life. There is nothing anchoring me right now. I'm doing my best to squeeze in walks, yoga, healthy eating and rest. I'm doing alright-ish. B-

No Taco Bueno. AHEM: No TB since November. And I'm really proud that my fast-food experiences have been limited to Chik-Fil-A salads and 1 unavoidable trip to Taco Mayo. BAM. A-

Spend more time being present in your life than a presence on social media. This has been a super interesting intention. There have been many moments where I've caught myself reaching for my phone to take a picture to show off later or tweet something that makes me feel good about myself. Instead, I've tried to put my phone back down and soak in the sunset instead of take a picture of it. Soak in the moment I'm experiencing instead of tweet about it. Send a card on a birthday instead of type on a FB timeline. I won't pretend that it's been easy. But when that little voice pops up and asks why I want to take a picture or tweet, it makes following through a choice instead of a mindless act. I like that. B+

That's all I've got.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

job identity

It's been almost a month since I had to quit my job and it's been an interesting process of waiting, hoping, searching, and processing what it's like to sit in this space between jobs.

I've had the conversation many times about hating when people ask, "What do you do?" It feels like a loaded question. I'd rather people be interested in who I am than what I do. I know I lean that way because to this point in my life, work has been work. A means to an end. I've had a job I enjoyed despite the stress. I've had a job I didn't enjoy but that afforded me lots of opportunities and experiences that made it worth it. I've had a job that allowed me to get on my feet, provide for myself, and go back to school. All of these have been things I've done, but not really a big part of who I am.

With all this time I've had with no job to fill my time, I've realized how much of my identity has simply been rooted in the fact that I have a job. It's made me feel like an adult, a contributing member of society, and in a strange way I've felt "whole." I guess because I've survived the D-word and I've been able to take care of myself, on my own, independently, and that has been empowering.

So.... I'm figuring out how to live in this space temporarily. I'm figuring out how to feel like a contributing member of society while not working. I'm figuring out new places to gather value from. It is a strange place to be. But honestly, I'm looking forward to the day I get a piece of my identity back.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living,
I want to know what you ache for. 
It doesn't interest me how old you are,
I want to know if you are willing to risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams,
for the adventure of being alive.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
yours and mine. 
It doesn't interest me where you live or how rich you are,
I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone,
and be sweet to the ones you love.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep 
in the empty moments of your life."

-Jon Blais

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

confronting happiness

Sometimes therapy blows my mind. And it's not because of anything crazy special. It's because someone sits across from me and says words I've said to myself or wondered or thought...but they just fall differently on me.

That happened today. My therapist pointed out all these good and happy things I've been talking about. She reflected back to me the light that's coming out of my face. And then she asked me if I'm allowed to be happy.

I'm being confronted with so much good and happiness from all sides in my life right now...and it's overwhelming in the best and most confusing way at the same time.

I'm being forced to sit with the fact that I am allowed to be happy. And just because I don't remember what this has felt like for a long time, doesn't mean I'm not allowed to experience it fully. Doesn't mean it's not authentic. Doesn't mean it's not real. I can't express how crazy huge it feels to sit face-to-face with that. You would think that after all the **** of the last few years that I would be running full-tilt into happiness. That I would feel like I deserved it. That I would dive in head first and swim around until I couldn't breathe anymore.

I'm working on it. I am staring it right in the face and I'm trying to let it conquer me. I'm allowed to be happy. It is possible for me to be happy. Just because it feels like new territory, and it's terrifying, and it's overwhelming, doesn't mean that it's not authentic.

So that's it. I'm confronting happiness. I'm confronting all the fear and control and experiences I bring to the table and I'm working on letting happiness win. Because I deserve it. And I'm allowed to be happy. And until I believe that 100%, I will believe the percentage that I discovered today and I will work on owning more and more until I've reached the full 100. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013


There are days when it's easy to see the life, light, and beauty in the things and people who are a part of your journey. Today was one of those days and it was right on time.

It started with rest. I went to bed last night and didn't set an alarm. I decided to sleep until I woke up. (I love that phrase.) I have not been getting a lot of good sleep recently. The 8.5 hours of blissful, heavy, dream-laden sleep felt glorious. So glorious that I stayed in bed another hour to just bask it in.

I was so enjoying a restful start to my Sabbath that the thought of going to church made me cranky. I did not feel up for sitting alone, exchanging pleasantries, or singing songs. I was not interested in a sermon or announcements or The Lord's Prayer. Full Disclosure: I wanted a day to just be.

But I'm a good Nazarene which means I have guilt/shame about missing church if I'm not throwing up or in the hospital. So I went. And I sat by myself. And I sang some songs. And I listened to the sermon. And I struggled. I disagreed. I held tension for a space in me that's vibing with several different beliefs and practices. A space that is happily co-existing. A space I really like. But this space was not really honored today inside the walls of the church. And that's okay. Because my community extends beyond those walls anyway. And because we took the Eucharist which always redeems even my most cynical of days. And it turns out I really do love that Lord's Prayer.

I enjoyed a nice lunch with my mom. She's been MIA for most of January and it was nice to catch up with her and reconnect. I'm so proud of the work my mom is doing in her own life. She's working on herself and challenging herself in ways I never thought she would. It makes my heart sing to see it. I saw beauty in the words she shared with me over a meal.

Later this afternoon I got to go to a super special 4 year old boy's birthday party. It was a simple party made up of friends and family and a Spiderman bouncy-house. (Awesome. Duh.) I got to catch up with several friends I haven't seen in a while. I got to play. I got to do somersaults in a Spiderman bouncy house. I even got some baby snuggles complete with baby snores. I heard beauty in the laughter of little kids and the conversations of my friends. I saw beauty in their smiles and the light in their eyes that told me they remembered what it was like to be a kid.

To finish it off, I got to take my beloved friend Mandy out for dinner and drinks. Mandy is responsible for introducing me to yoga. She's responsible for teaching me how to "live the practice." She's given me the language of intention and mindfulness. She's also traveled through my darkest days and carried the light on my behalf. We connect on a soul-level. I love her guts. Tonight we got to catch up and look back at our friendship and just be together. It was beautiful. It reached a tipping point when she was sharing about an act of kindness that a friend is doing for her as she prepares to move to Holland in March. I became completely overwhelmed. Mandy exudes goodness and kindness and mindfulness. She has given me so much and she is worthy of every good thing that is coming her way. We sat and cried together about the faithfulness and love of the community that has supported her on her journey the last 3.5 years. It was a ridiculously beautiful moment for both of us. One that's made me cry several more times tonight as I reflect on her presence in my life and am excited about her future. I witnessed beauty through the vulnerability and brokenness in another human being.

So that's it. My heart is overflowing with gratitude as I sit with all the beauty I got to be a part of today. From rest to mothers to bouncy houses to soulmates: beauty is everywhere. Namaste.

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Intentions

A bit late, but these still count. Duh, I make the rules around here.

No phone whilst driving.  Like I did with soda, I needed this intention to be tied to someone so I would actually do it. This is a shout-out to you, Jason Smith! You have my permission to hold me accountable. I've gotten too good at justifying using my phone while driving.

No honking. Chill out. Unless you're trying to avoid an accident, be patient with your fellow drivers.

No gift cards. It doesn't take that much more effort to choose a gift that shows someone you really know them. No cop-outs.

Get back to paper and pen. I haven't used a journal since around D-word time. That doesn't mean I haven't written anything, I just haven't been steady about journaling. A couple of weeks ago, after finding a stack of 20 sticky notes with quotes and reminders of books to read or songs to download or articles to check out, I went and bought a small journal. I want to get back to using my hands to write and not type.

Finish Strong. I graduate in 330 days. (10 months and 26 days. BOOM.) I want to be proud of my graduate school career. It's a little easier to remain focused this time around since I'm pretty close with Sallie Mae and we're going to get even closer after I'm done. I want to look back at this investment in my future and know that I took it seriously and my efforts reflect that.

Surrender. I'm at an interesting place in my journey. It's a good place. A place I've worked really hard to reach. And now I'm being faced with some pretty huge things.  I think the most challenging thing for me is to lean into the future and its possibilities. To give myself over to some of the risks I've taken and trust that things will either work out or they won't. And either way, I will still be Cara.

Take care of yourself. I can already tell this year is going to go fast and it's going to be a challenge to make sure I still take time for myself to work-out, to breathe, and to celebrate life with my friends.

No Taco Bueno. If you didn't know, dear blogosphere, I love Taco Bueno. And I have ordered the Mexi Dips and Chips on every visit except 5. Ever. Since I can remember. I'm making an effort to do no fast food, but wanted to start with something specific. Fast food would be defined as anything with a drive-through and/or serves anything fried. Working towards that!

Spend more time being present in your life than a presence on social media. Yea. Get over yourself. 

That's all I've got. Cheers to 2013 and mindfulness!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


“Be at war with your vices, 
at peace with your neighbors, 
and let every new year find you a better man.” 
— Benjamin Franklin