14 November 2015


I've been wrestling with a lot of emotions over the last 7 hours since I found out about what happened in Paris.

My first reaction when I heard what was going on was to contact my Frenchie bestie Eve and make sure she and her mom were home and safe and that their friends were, too. They were.

But then an immense sense of guilt and selfishness set in. I care about all human life, about humanity, and about peace instead of hate prevailing within our shared collective human consciousness. 

This could have happened anywhere. It still can happen anywhere. I think today we all realized this. It's not going to 9/11s on a grand scale anymore, but rather a connected buildup of smaller (although tonight was not small by any means) events. It is heightening our fear and confusion (and sadness and loss of faith) in the world.

My heart is hurting. I haven't stopped crying. I worry about where we are headed. I want to contribute something positive, but I come up empty.

I thought about all this tonight as I climbed a seemingly never-ending staircase in Palos Verdes. I even paused to take a selfie and watch the sun set. My problems are so insignificant. What's going to happen? How am I supposed to feel, halfway around the globe but seeing my face in every innocent victim on the news? I don't have answers. Just questions.

#prayers4paris #peacefortheworld

08 November 2015

The Universe is in us

The following poem is a remix of one of my favorite videos of (literally) all time. It is adapted from a clip of a podcast with astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson in which the interviewer asked him what the most astounding fact about the entire Universe is.  Please, enjoy.

The Universe is in Us
Adapted from Neil DeGrasse Tyson

So that when I look up
at the night sky
and I know that yes, we
are part of this universe,
we are in this universe,
but perhaps more important
than both of those facts
is that
the Universe is in us.

I look up.

Many people feel small because
they’re small
and the Universe is big.
But I feel big,
because my atoms came
from those stars.

There’s a level of connectivity.

That’s really what
you want in life,
you want
to feel connected,
you want
to feel relevant
you want
to feel like you’re a participant
in the goings on
of activities and events
around you.
That’s precisely
what we are,
just by being alive.

And the Universe is in us.

The Most Astounding Fact. Adapt. Max Schlickenmeyer. Perf. Neil DeGrasse Tyson. YouTube. N.p., 2 Mar. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D05ej8u-gU.

07 November 2015

Los Liones Trail, #trailtalk

"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."
-Sylvia Plath, "The Bell Jar"
I wanted to leave the house by 6:30 to beat morning LA traffic, but I didn't even wake up until 7:37. There was no point in leaving until any time after 9:30 by that point. I love the South Bay, but I think I stay here a lot more than I would like to because of traffic. Traffic and noise and crowds all mesh together sometimes and build up like plaque inside me for so long before I finally need to just get away.

Los Liones Trail is not exactly the ultimate getaway, you still hear helicopters and there are still snobby LA people with their dogs on trails that are clearly marked "No Dogs Allowed on Trail" - but anything that really puts you out there in the backwoods is snowcapped or too far to travel for a dayhike right now. I do love this trail.

On the way, sitting in PCH traffic, we passed by our favorite donut place. It's literally just called Best Donuts, and while you can argue that it's difficult to mess up a deep fried ball of dough with sugar on top, I've had my fair share of bad donuts (Voo Doo Donuts in Portland, for starters) to know a good donut when I have one. We grabbed 3 each - a maple bar, glazed old fashioned, and vanilla sprinkles for him and a vanilla sprinkles, glazed blueberry, and some weird Asian eggy donut that I've grown rather fond of for me. Buzzing with sugar and homemade cold brew (a detailed Lotus DIY post for later), we got on the trail sometime after 10:45. It was a Thursday, and it was clear. It felt so damn good to feel dirt beneath my feet and my muscles actually working.

The top of the trail, pictured above, is what we come for. It's a little over 7 miles roundtrip. It's not hard, it's no Mt. Baldy. But it takes time. Trail Talk is one of our favorites. It means we have relatively uninterrupted moments where we just digress and discuss wild and grounded ideas - for our future, for our stories, for our minds. Walking with him on the trail has led us to such ideas as #nowords, Wholly Lotus (this blog!), and working out our food truck kinks and menu. There will be many more Trail Talks.

I love this boy. Four years ago when we met, Trail Talk was so far removed from both of our realities. Now it's our favorite activity. Moving our bodies in fresh air together is our favorite thing (besides cooking homemade tortillas side by side in the kitchen).

I may not get as many moments like this to contemplate my life and what I am doing with it, but I appreciate the moments I get.

25 October 2015

Point Lobos

25 October: Point Lobos Ecological Reserve

"Please say, honestly, you won't give up on me. And I shall believe." -Sheryl Crow

I rounded the bend and this was my view: jagged rock and weather and birds. From far away the birds looked like the vertebrae of the formation, and in a way, you could argue they were. Below, in the cove, there was a baby otter and its mama and they were eating urchin. I saw the cracking rock through someone's telescope and their arms entangled together just like every nature doc I'd ever seen.

In an hour, we would eat lasagne and pulled smoked pork and someone's homemade goat cheese and Safeway peach pie and watch the almost-full moon rise through the trees. And even though the anxiety of school and life decisions and the flight home tomorrow and bloat from yesterday's burritos and guilt for drinking too much Friday would be there, a constant like the ocean slapping the rocks, I smiled and believed it.

20 October 2015

#tbt Alive in the Backwoods

As we ascended the mountain, the switchbacks became more shallow, with more shrubs and tiny trees that cast shadows in the dying afternoon sunlight. We stopped for probably the 15th time that day for a sip of water and another salt cap and I decided I wanted almonds. I sat down on a rock in the shade as he dug through his pack for my snack. Handing me the almonds, he sat down, too, close enough for me to hear his breath, but far enough away that it didn't distract me. I asked if we could sit here a little longer and he leaned back into his rock. 

It was silent in the canyon surrounding us. There was no city noise up there, no planes overhead, no cell reception. We were far from any human. I took a deep breath, and my lungs filled with the cool, fresh breeze. I exhaled, and my breath was the breeze. It caused the trees to stir hundreds of miles below. I looked up. I could touch the sky. There was silence and there was life and something happened to me up there. I closed my eyes and when I opened them I saw God, and something deep inside me understood that I was God. I was everything and nothing on top of that mountain. I was alive.