30 March, 2008


At church this morning, Mother Johanna talked about the importance of 90 days. She's headed out on a 3 month sabatical (sad for me, since I only just met her and like her so much! but it will be good for her) and she referred to the fact that 90 days is a period of time that some scientists believe can change the neuro-chemical functions in your brain. Doing something new for 90 days in a row (or stopping an old habit) can literally change the way you think about that thing.

AA uses this 90 day period as a significant goal to reach when you're trying to quit drinking... suggesting that you attend 90 meetings in 90 days. And although quitting smoking will have immediate positive effects in your body in a mere 3 days - people who can go without a cigarette for 90 days often have a better chance of truly quitting for life... because in that 3 month period, you are actually re-training your brain to think differently.

Many business plans say that you won't see the fruits of a new endeavor for the first 3 months - but that if you continue to pursue that new endeavor for those 90 days, it should work. And most jobs have a 3 month "initiation" period in which the new employee and the employer can see how well (or not) that person will fit into the company.

Even writing every day for 90 days can have a great impact on your life. Belive me.


Music has always been able to move me in a way that almost nothing else can - in a way that's different from love or prayer or theatre... it grabs me deep at the bottom of my soul.

In times of extreme confusion or frustration, fear or excitement, sorrow or joy - music is the only way that I can seem to fully express myself. It's either that someone before me has already said it better, or that words are not even a sufficient way to express what I'm feeling - so I resort to music, which has always been a great comfort to me.

It's the soft & powerful voice of Dar Williams, the overwhelming & soothing Carmina Burana, the solo & genius piano playing of Bruce Hornsby, the intricate harmonies of Handel.

Oh! It's all so GOOD.

29 March, 2008


'Cause when you live in a world
It gets into who you thought you'd be
And now I laugh at how the world changed me
I think life chose me

After all

- Dar Williams

28 March, 2008


I chose and my world was shaken
So what
The choice may have been mistaken
The choosing was not

You keep moving on


27 March, 2008


"BY UNANIMOUS VOTE, March 27, 2008, Rachel E. Ayers is elected a member of the board of Jaradoa Theater, with all the rights and privileges thereunto pertaining. Welcome aboard Rachel!"

I'm so fancy now.


Every six months or so I get the urge to detox.

No meat. No sugar. No caffeine.
No alcohol. Less elevators. More stairs.

It's hard. I usually get a headache the first few days & feel pretty lethargic while my body is adjusting to the absence of added food "energy" (like coffee and that mid-day sweet snack). But after about a week, I start to feel really great - better than I have in months - so good, I can't figure out why I don't consistently live this way.

You don't realize how much you come to rely on those boosts of fake energy until you don't have them anymore.

I'm still in the hard phase (only just finishing day 3) but I know the good feeling is coming and I'm going to press on.

In the meantime, somebody out there have some caffeine for me!

26 March, 2008


Not having much of it lately, in the way of writing.
A bit frustrating - but I know it will come...

My intention for these daily thoughts was never to force them. So what happens when I don't have one?

And how can you not have at least ONE daily thought?

24 March, 2008


Recently, I learned that a good friend and I have completely different points of view on one particularly sensitive issue. Over lunch and a walk through the park, we engaged in several hours of discussion... not so much trying to change the other's mind or make a convincing enough argument to pursuade one another, but it was more along the lines of needing to understand the opposite point of view (even if agreeing with it seemed completely out of the question).

Although it may often feel safer and more "neat & clean" to surround yourself with others who think like you do, have the same political opinions, enjoy the same movies - I believe it may be much more important to also have in your life a few people (or more!) with whom you can disagree, have intelligent debates, and therefore expand your own circle of belief. And if you come to those moments of intense conversation from a place of honest love and respect for one another, those are the moments that can "grow" you as a human. That can stretch you into the person you are becoming. That can even guide you to a place where you're able to more deeply define your own truths.

I am incredibly grateful for those kinds of friends.

23 March, 2008


Hope you had a happy one.
If you celebrate, that is...
If not - happy regular sunday.

21 March, 2008


Waking up at 4:15am after only a few hours of fitful sleep.
I feel a weighty responsibility that I can't quite comprehend...

It's a blessing to have a partner there by my side
to brave the cold & windy ten-minute walk;
to enter the warm, dark, comforting church;
to be quiet with me;
to know my tears are my own;
to be alone with me;
to grasp my hand;
to let go.

Only an hour - feels like forever - over in seconds.
The longest and shortest, most emotional, most connected, most solitary hour.

20 March, 2008


This morning on the subway, I hid from someone I knew.

Oh, please - don't pretend like you've never done it. Yes, of course I felt guilty, but I also didn't feel like I had the energy to engage in a full-on conversation with someone I went to college with several years ago and haven't talked to since - all that "what are you up to? what have you done lately?" can be so consuming when all you want to do is have a peaceful commute to work.

It happens on the train - when you choose to sit in that seat that only allows the person to see the back of your head. On the street - when you cross to the other side, even though it's a bit out of your way. In the office - when you schedule your day so that you don't have to run into that certain someone. It even is more common and less "calculating" than that - when someone leaves you a voicemail and you don't call them back; when you ignore that e-mail; when you claim not to have received that txt message.

Avoidance is everywhere. Perhaps all of us have a little plastic Toy Story dinosaur in us, anxiously yelling "I don't like confrontation!"


Look it up.

19 March, 2008


so refreshing
no divas
levels of camaraderie
hearing all voices
hearing new voices
circling up
group idea sharing
group laughter
no judgements
desire to be a part of
feeling welcome
wanting to support
value as a group
value as an individual
kindness is infection
makes you feel good
"altruism is selfish"

17 March, 2008


lep·re·chaun (lěp'rĭ-kŏn', -kôn')
n. One of a race of elves in Irish folklore who can reveal hidden treasure to those who catch them.

In case you'd like to make your own, for added luck.


I know I'm just now climbing up onto that bandwagon of ipods... (and I've only got the smallest shuffle version) but there is a seriously weird sensation you get walking down the street or riding the subway with your own soundtrack playing in your head.

And depending on the song, the moods and intentions of all the people surrounding you can change in an instant.

Listening to "Sabotage" gives the illusion that everyone's agnst-ridden, with a need to Damn the Man. Hearing "Buffalo Soldier" makes that young man sitting across from you seem like a lone rider, going his own peaceful way. "Mercy of the Fallen" casts a melancholy spell over the faces of people who may very well just be relaxing, or falling asleep. The crooning of "Crazy Love" turns a four block walk into that scene from the romantic comedy when you know that even though there might still be conflict, everything's gonna be alright.

16 March, 2008


Palm Sunday has, over the last few years, begun to hit me right in the solar plexus - it gets me right at the core of my very being. In one service, we go from celebration and welcoming and waving our palms in the air as we process around the streets of New York sharing our Good News - to the reading of the Gospel that forces us to "Crucify him!" - to a silent, organ-less, service ending hymn that speaks to the very hardship of what it means to be obedient to death, even to death on a cross, and what it means to be a son pleading with his father while at the same time having an other-worldly understanding of "not my will, but Yours be done." It so quickly moves from rejoicing to that moment of knowing that the mourning is soon to come. It is the tears of joy in welcoming one that you hope will save you to weeping for what is about to be done. It's an emotional turmoil. An aching in the heart that will rest, and stay, and wrap its arms around your beating life until just one week from now when the awe, and the rejoicing, and the love that passes understanding will begin.

14 March, 2008


Today I submitted my resume to a non-profit company so I could be considered for a position on their board of directors.


That's such an "adult" thing to do. I mean, who else my age is doing a thing like that?

Granted, it's a company with a mission I really believe in and want to support. But when I found myself writing the cover letter to explain why I would be a good candidate... I had a moment of, "Wow. When did I turn into this grown up person?"

(I also had a moment of, "Wow. I really am a good candidate for this board - I'm frickin' awesome.")

13 March, 2008


The notion of a "big family dinner" is often something that gets left behind when you move to New York. Most likely, you don't live with more than one or two roommates - so "family dinner around the dining room table" (if you even have a dining room - or a table!) is more like "bowls of pasta on the couch in front of the TV". And if you are living with more than one or two people, good luck getting all of your schedules to magically free up around 7pm so that you can gather together in that forgotten sense of camaraderie.

But when you do have the chance to sit around a table (even if every single one of the chairs are mis-matched), and join hands with a dozen or so other friends to give thanks for what you're about to receive, and enjoy the various and delicious dishes that everyone brought... it's truly a gift and a delight.

Not to mention the chocolate cake and coffee ice cream you have for dessert.

And, of course, the lingering around - long after all the plates are cleared - with your hot cup of tea and relishing in the stimulating conversation.

Mmmm. That's a "big family dinner" for sure.

11 March, 2008


I received a box in the mail at work today. It was a flat square, about 2 feet on all sides and only an inch and a half tall. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what I would've ordered that would've been delivered in a box that size.

Lo and behold - it was a bridesmaid's dress. My bridesmaid's dress. My first.

And though I've been planning to be a bridesmaid (the maid of honor, to boot!) for this particular wedding for most of my life - having the dress delivered in that odd box seemed so... unceremonious. Just a plain, cardboard box to house something that you've been excited about for years upon years.

I opened it, thinking it might be carefully wrapped in tissue paper (like a glorious Christmas present)... but no. Just on a hanger, covered in that thin plastic sheeth that your shirts are returned in after you've taken them to the dry cleaners. And a receipt, shoved in the bottom of the box.

And now, it's back in the box - propped up against my living room wall. Seems so... unproper. Even though the wedding's another 7 months off, perhaps I'll hang it in a place of honor - or at least in a very honorable place in my closet. Seems a bit more fitting that way.


What makes me most upset about this Gov. Spitzer "scandal" is not that it will hurt the Democrats chance of winning the election, and not that it is a thorn in New York's side, and not that it's the end of his political career, and not that he might be impeached or be forced to resign, and not that he'll be getting what he deserves (as some think)...

Instead, I'm most upset by the fact that we're all looking at it from a political point of view - instead of the tragic human side of the story: that he has betrayed his wife, that he is sending an extremely poor message to his three daughters, that he should feel ashamed for abusing his power, that he should ask forgiveness of his family - not the political world.

Why is it that so many in positions of authority, be it political or religious or otherwise, engage in sex scandals while portraying an image that they're not doing anything wrong?! It turns my stomach.

09 March, 2008


The director's note for this Ibsen play (which I saw tonight at The Pearl) says:

"Ghosts urges us to question and examine the baggage we carry from generation to generation. How much of the past should we share to temper the insecurities and fears that pass from parent to child? Whether or not we share the truth, everything returns, the ghosts of the ages will return to haunt our lives."

I'm not sure I agree that the "ghosts of the ages will return to haunt our lives"... perhaps, although this is not the case in the play, they could return to remind us of our lives - to be helpful in pointing out the things we've lost or missed or glossed over in our daily lives.

Now, I realize the play was written at a different time, but the weighty responsibility of parents to children (and children to parents) still resounds in our society today - maybe not in the Duty & Obedience of the late 1800's - but the responsibility is still felt, no matter if you're estranged from your parents, or you have the great blessing of a good relationship.

And perhaps as children, (as we all are) we will never understand this relationship full circle until we have children of our own - and are then able to come to realizations of our own of what it means to harbor this intense responsibility.

I know it takes patience, and perserverence, and faith - on both sides.

08 March, 2008


Warmish. Rainy. Windy.
Spring is coming...

And tonight we'll be so excited to reach the next sesason, to be out of the dolldrums of winter, that we'll skip an entire hour to get there faster. A simple turning of the clock's hands and it's midnight instead of 11pm - as if time is so easily manipulated that it means nothing.

I suppose I won't really miss that hour - well, I might for the first few moments tomorrow morning, when I'd really like those 60 minutes back again so I can sleep through them - but on the whole, although we lose an hour, I won't feel as though I've really lost anything.

Time is funny that way. It is painfully long and surprisingly short all at once. It can be on your side or wear you down. It isn't something tangible, but we give much weight and authority to it. And if we're not careful, it can take precedence over the more important things in our lives.

To that end, I give up this hour tonight freely - to the gods, to the universe... and I wonder - where does that time go?


A lovely thing it is to forget to blog one night because you've had a couple of good, fun-loving, witty friends over for dinner - and the hours pass without much notice, what with having such a great time and all.

06 March, 2008


"What does this feeling mean to you -
both to be seen and to be seen through."

Uncensored, raw, stream of consciousness writing during the intermission of PASSING STRANGE. If you have not yet, go. Go. See. This. Play.

... feeling like a tug of war within myself - having wanted so long, for so much of my youth, to acheive a certain kind of life - mother, wife, family, stability and then to be scared by the strange sensation of wanting something unknown instead - and then to relate to that (through a medium i LOVE) and to have another show me to myself - holding up a mirror to society, isn't that what this is all about? i want to want that other life without feeling like i have to hold on to the life i always though i'd live and realize it's not failing or forgetting, it's changing, passing... strange... falling in love with someone who seems more at ease with himself than i am with myself - who confuses me and comforts me, just as my entire life here in this wild city does - the eye-openeing and raw feeling of gaining knowledge - innocence is bliss, yes? meaning that knowledge is hell? definitely harder and hopfully more worthwhile - truer - more honest - a life lived fully. when she screams in agony at the thought she'll soon be 30, it's laugh-out-loud funny, but somehow when it's just me having those thoughts in the silence of myself it's shocking and frightening... life is long and over in the blink of an eye. this piece makes me cry for things i didn't even know were in me - tears flowing while i laugh - having to hold back and not become a blubbering mess in a broadway theatre - so many pent up emotions that i can't even navigate through for i don't recognize what they are - a crazy, crazed feeling sweeps over me, draping a weighty blanket onto my heart that the shudders can't shake off. an entirely different thing than i've ever experienced. i hope it goes away soon and i hope it never leaves.

05 March, 2008


In my ever-evolving search for Faith, to find out what people believe and why - which inevitably leads to the introspective search of what I believe and why - I often come across writings that speak to me in a powerful way.

This week, I read a truly compassionate personal history in the New Yorker, by the daughter of a Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and finished a book that gives a mind-boggling glimpse into America's fastest growing religion: Mormonism. Both works allowed me an insight into faith from a point of view other than my own... always important when you're searching.

Though the first has seemed to cause some recent uproar among its religious leaders and the latter seems a constant source of frustration (and fear) for those outside of the religion, they are both, nonetheless, explorations of what it is to have faith.

The Bishop's Daughter by Honor Moore

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003 (excerpt below)

"I don't know what God is, or what God had in mind when the universe was set in motion. In fact, I don't know if God even exists, although I confess that I sometimes find myself praying in times of great fear, or despair, or astonishment at a display of unexpected beauty.

There are some ten thousand extant religious sects - each with its own cosmology, each with its own answer for the meaning of life and death. Most assert that the other 9,999 not only have it completely wrong but are instruments of evil, besides. None of the ten thousand has yet persuaded me to make the requisite leap of faith. In the absence of conviction, I've come to terms with the fact that uncertainty is an inescapable corollary of life. An abundance of mystery is simply part of the bargain - which doesn't strike me as something to lament. Accepting the essential inscrutability of existence, in any case, is surely preferable to its opposite: capitulating to the tyranny of intransigent belief.

And if I remain in the dark about our purpose here, and the meaning of eternity, I have nevertheless arrived at an understanding of a few more modest truths: Most of us fear death. Most of us yearn to comprehend how we got here, and why - which is to say, most of us ache to know the love of our creator. And we will no doubt feel that ache, most of us, for as long as we happen to be alive."

04 March, 2008


From a lovely & very intelligent friend of mine. She makes me smile (and think!) -

URGGG! The message area of your blog is infuriating! I can't tell you how many times I've tried to leave messages only to be told that I have to use 300 characters or less. How can a writer say ANYTHING worthwhile in 300 characters? In the end, after editing and editing, I always just give up. Anyway, here's what I tried to post today:

"I thought I was the only one who didn't like Oprah. I haven't read all the books you mention, but I'd argue that The Power of Now and The Razor's Edge aren't about the Something you DON'T have. They're about recognizing that you ALREADY have the Something (or actually Nothing, but that's getting Zen) that you're looking for."

03 March, 2008


As a general rule, I'm not a fan of Oprah.

She seems too "in your face" and smug for my taste. And people always argue with me about the good she does for women's self-worth and children in Africa and mankind in general... but I stand my ground - I don't really like her.

That being said, I have begun to read the lastest book in her Club: A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle. I have a relationship with these types of books that I can't quite describe. The books that challenge conventional thinking, that make you want to be a better person, that make you feel like it's actually possible to become that better person.

But aren't they all the same? The Power of Now. The Secret. The Four Agreements. The Power of Intention. The Artist's Way. The Wisdom of Insecurity (a personal favorite). Even a few glorious novels like The Razor's Edge, The Alchemist, Le Petit Prince. It's always about The Something that you don't have, but you'd like to get.

And even though I question if I'm just re-reading the same basic ideas over and over and over... I obviously haven't totally gotten them yet, or I wouldn't feel the need to go read yet another one! But I do. And I am.

And I blame Oprah. (Although I'm sure I'm just about to get to that point in this new book about how that's really my Ego talking and my Truer Self would embrace her for allowing me to reach a Higher Consciousness.)

02 March, 2008


Recently, I've been thinking about the saying "God will never give you more than you can handle". That particular turn of phrase is not a Bible verse or a famous quote... it's just something that someone once said that made someone else feel better when they probably just went through a rough period - and it caught on.

In my attempt to find out where it came from, I stumbled across this entry on The Bible Blogger (the writer's slogan: "the thoughts of someone who reads the Word and tries to figure out life while doing it"). I'm not sure it makes me feel any comfort, but I do find what he has to say interesting...

"God Won't Give You More Than You Can Handle" Is A Myth
Posted by: Bible Blogger on December 8, 2006 at 6:34PM EST

How often in times of trouble have you or someone around you said "well, God will never give you more than you can handle"? It's usually done in an attempt to comfort someone who's just had something pretty crappy happen to them. It could be anything from not getting a job they needed to meet their bills or a marriage/relationship breaking up or some kind of physical illness. When you're in those situations it's nice to have a friend or someone who will try and shove that misconception upon you. It means someone on Earth actually cares about you and that provides comfort. However, that belief isn't something that God really said to us in his word.

This belief seems to come from 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV): "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." The verse doesn't say God won't put you in a situation where you can't handle the burden...it says that he won't let you be TEMPTED beyond what you can bear. There is a world of difference between the two situations. It's true that God will provide a way of escape in any tempting situation regardless of what your temptation may be...sex, drugs, alcohol, shopping, food, etc. That doesn't mean he's going to take away the empty feelings or hurt or frustration. Things that can really only be filled by Him.

What does God say about situations? Well, He never directly says it but one could make a case that "God won't give you more than He can handle" is an accurate description. That comes from 2 Corinthians 12:9(NIV): "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

When we are facing painful situations it's usually because we're powerless to do something about it. We can't go out and make someone be our true love forever. (I'm not talking temporary one night things...I'm talking that kind of love you see in those romance movies on the Lifetime Network.) We can't just tell the cancer or other disease we may have to go away and it disappears. We can't walk into a business and tell the owner they're going to give us a job that will pay us what we deserve and they'll just do it. These are things that are out of our control but not God's control.

The question then becomes whether or not you'll trust God with everything and allow Him to use His strength on your behalf. It's not fun either because God's timing is not our timing. It leads to a lot of pain in our lives until we reach the point of being satisfied in just knowing He cares about it. It's hard and while someday it may get easier there are times where we feel it's too much. That you want to drink a bottle of Drano to be literally as hollow inside and you feel in your spirit. You feel as if there's nothing left for you and you want to just lay down, sleep and never wake up. I can understand exactly what you mean because I've been there as well. Almost everyone has felt that way at some point.

The only thing I can say is that God said his power is made perfect in our weakness so acknowledge the weakness and just trust that when God finally decides to move and end the trial it's going to be better than we could hope to find ourselves. Even when it seems your unending trial is about to finally conclude...and you suddenly find yourself deeper in the valley than you were before...just realize He is faithful and He is there.

May God bless you.

01 March, 2008




1. a container of metal or refractory material employed for heating substances to high temperatures.
2. a hollow area at the bottom of a furnace in which the metal collects.
3. a severe, searching test or trial.

Sometimes I don't feel a day older than 16. Barely feeling any more secure in my knowledge of relationships - the pain, love, depth, sorrow, compromise, forgiveness, loss, conviction. Even a dozen years later, there are moments where I feel I know nothing and find myself constantly shaking my head at how all those feelings can seem to happen at once, somehow complimenting and contradicting each other in the same breath.

A severe, searching test or trial indeed.
I hope I pass.