Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I kinda grew up here. I'm a vacationer, sure, but I have been for 33 years. It makes for some interesting emotions.
In the past 10 years or so, I've transitioned into a forager. From a folksinger to a mother to a grocery-store employee, sure, but really: from a citizen to a forager. It started with second-hand clothes. Then expanded into appliances, instruments, bread and vegetables. Then it was fruit. Now, it's shellfish. And I'm right back where I started, on the coast of New England.
Today was the first day of sun on our Maine vacation, and the toddler responded by puking all day (possibly because he caught a rotovirus from his cousin Ruby). I responded by picking up a couple of chicken lobsters at the local lunch n lobster--a place I'm shocked I didn't take advantage of until now. $5.99 a pound isn't bad for a half mile down the road.
Cooked the lobsters.
Cracked and ate them.
Popped their shells in with some chives, chipotles, and white wine. What amounts to 1.5 cups of liquid is now in the fridge, waiting for me to come home tomorrow with an adequate amount of cream and sherry. Cross your fingers. :)
Meanwhile, I'm experimenting with mussels. Are they actually good, foraged from the cove in which you sleep? Hmm... a blog post from a quick search recommended (!?) manky-smelling mussels, specifically from coves in Maine. And repeat rinses with salted fresh water. We shall see what happens. (Gotta love a guy who calls himself a "DB" (douchebag).)
The puking toddler sleeps.
The mussels, sans wine (because I drank it), are forthcoming. xox
Sunday, June 12, 2011
When I was a child, the only real rule in our house was loosely derived from the book Summerhill, by A.S. Neill.* It was more or less this: You can do anything you want, as long as it doesn't hurt or annoy anyone else, and as long as you don't hurt yourself.
Even as a child, I found this rule elegantly simple and fascinating in breadth. It covered everything, really. As long as you weren't infringing on anyone else's rights, as long as you were acting with an eye to your own safety, you had pretty much absolute freedom to follow your heart.
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There's a lot of talk these days (maybe especially in the bloggy world?) about following your heart. Or following your true path, erasing the word "should" from your vocabulary, getting unstuck in your life, etc. I suppose these aren't exactly new, blog-world-related themes—consider the idea of "finding yourself." I have no real evidence to support this, but I feel like that one's been around for forty or fifty years or more, like it goes hand-in-hand with the advent of beatniks and hippies and "following your bliss."
(Still, I'm clearly a product of my own generation—I find the current incarnation of these ideas far more appealing. Give me Jen Lemen's beautifully articulate musings on what it really means—and how painful it can be—to follow your heart, and her scrupulous commitment to honesty, kindness, hope, love, joy, and really seeing, over the seemingly somewhat simplistic "follow your bliss" any day.)
I believe in these things—as core values, really. I'd be the first one to tell friends to follow their own hearts, to be true to themselves. If a friend is feeling stuck, I'll tell her to make a change, even if it means ignoring how she thinks she "should" behave or risking the disapproval of others.
And on the surface of it, all of these ideas seem to fit in nicely with the house rule of my childhood. And yet, for all my unwavering support of friends, when it's about my own heart, I find myself wondering: Where are the edges? At what point does following my own heart crash headlong into someone else's needs? At what point do I decide that that simply has to be okay? At what point do I decide that it might be necessary to toss out the house rule, buckle my seat belt, and knowingly cause that crash? And if I cause it, how much damage will I have done in the long term?
How can I be at peace with following my heart, knowing that I’ve hurt someone else? Or that the person I’ve hurt doesn’t understand, or disapproves, or perhaps will even come to hate me?
Most of all, can I trust that truly following my own heart is a way of plugging into a kind of universal balance—that even if my actions hurt someone else's heart for a time, if I'm being as honest with myself as I can be about what I need, then it will all work out for the best for both of us?
I don’t have answers.
But I don’t believe we can afford to spend our lives with our hearts slightly broken by our own resistance to doing what feels right for ourselves. It’s no way to live a life, and frankly, it seems disrespectful to those who love us, because if our hearts aren’t well tended, we just don’t have access to all the love we’re capable of. The kind of love we all deserve to give and to receive.
Because as much as we love the half-assed around here, half-assed love is really never okay.
*Am I supposed to say something here about how clicking that link will not in any way earn us one cent--or any fraction thereof--here at HAMAMA? Okay then. Consider that done.