Austin is a strange little monster. The inexhaustible abundance of live music. The incredible tropical weather. The backyard barbeque mentality. Everywhere you go feels like a friendly midsummer house-party. Drinking beers on wooden picnic benches under white lights strung between big live oak trees.
The energy of the city flares up each weekend as the extraordinary Texan party scene unfurls across town. Literally bursting at the seems during festivities like South by Southwest and Saint Patrick’s Day. A place where “good” weather means under a hundred degrees, as opposed to the Pacific Northwest where anything over sixty-five warrants a sundress and sandals.
There’s a special lust for life here. Everyone has an outlet of some kind. Whether it’s hiking the greenbelt (a wide expanse of rural-ish trails that run quite literally through the city and back out again.), playing live music at every opportunity or smashing on bikes all day, just to go ride bikes. The amount of sunny days and outdoor livability brings an ease and sweetness to the people down here.
For those of you who know me, worry not, I’ve still yet to find a town that can contain me year round. But I invite everyone to get a little taste of this Tex-mexy, Southwest-ish, Cheeseburger-in-paradiseness that’s sizzlin’ on the grill down here in Austin.
Three week countdown till blazing saddles gets back on the open road. Thank you people of Austin it has been a wonderful, colorful, at times sweaty but enjoyable few months. I will greatly miss your swimming holes and Carpe Omnia ideology.
Suffering is the human condition: an unavoidable aspect to the state of being alive. Discomfort, disease, death, heartache, loss. The lows.
For the past few months I’ve been called upon and written to, by more friends and family than ever before, calling out for support in times of emotional need. Shit is hitting the fan. Relatives are dying. Solid loving relationships are crumbling, lots of them. Many are being thrown into existential crises of sorts. What am I doing? What is wrong with this picture? Why me? When will it end?
There is light on the other side of this I promise you. To those walking through the valley of suffering, I’m so very sorry that you are going through this right now. I believe you are capable of coming through to the other side. There is beauty and joy and light surrounding you constantly whether or not you have the clarity right now to see it. It is not a cave, it is a tunnel. Sometimes even a rite of passage.
I believe we are on a path. We are here to learn and grow from each and every set of experiences that fall into our lap. When we find ourselves in times of grief and suffering we have a conscious choice to either wallow in it and scream dirty things into the dark sky or decide to rise. We can decide to get exactly what these circumstances are trying to give us. Learn to let go. Learn to move forward despite setbacks. Learn to love in the face of heartbreak.
(A note on love: There is no such thing as too much love. There is no way you can miss out on the love of your life by loving everything that crosses your path today in this moment. If you are worried about missing out on your next true one, don’t. Think of them as a planet, coming into your orbit with a gravitational pull. There is no mistaking that kind of attraction. It’s simply a force of nature. You cannot miss out on such an event because you were facing the other direction. “Tackle the motherfucking shit out of love” -Cheryl Strayed)
Another reason people don’t get what they want in life, a source of suffering, is the factor of self worth. A lot of people don’t believe they deserve to be happy, don’t deserve to be loved, don’t deserve to be treated well, paid well, or simply don’t have the courage to walk away from what society tells them is a good job in order to do whatever makes their heart soar.
It’s time to take a stand for yourself.
Whether it is substance abuse, unkind lovers, or jobs and towns that aren’t satisfying, decide for yourself to become the possibility of exactly what you indeed deserve, and make it fucking happen.
Find something that lights your heart up and do it. THAT IS YOUR DUTY!
Play it, paint it, “write like a motherfucker” as Cheryl Strayed would put it.
Enough is enough. It is time to take a good hard look at the suffering in your life and choose to step into the light. Accept no less than every inch of what you deserve and each and every one of you deserves the very hot-damn best in life.
Reach out to the people in your world, especially the ones that make you happy, those are the ones to move forward with and the ones to lean upon in times of need. Shed as much light on this earth as you can for the brief moment that you are blessed to inhabit it. Thank you for being in my life. I am forever grateful to be a part of yours.
11″x17″ colored pencil on paper.
Limited Edition print.
Made for the Broomfield, Colorado shows December 29-31, 2012
$5 on lot.
$20 after the event.
I started this little ritual with my Mom last April. For 30 days we wrote down a list of 10 things that we were grateful for. Simple things like abundance, family, health, happiness, love, inspiration, adventure, laughter, evolution. Then we’d sit and think about each one for a minute, or even just feel the gratitude for each one for the duration of one deep breath. Looking back that was a time that my entire existence shifted. I went from regular ramblin’ roamin’ Molly to a state of light and bliss. Where each day was joyful. Each moment. Each mile.
Taking a moment to feel gratitude over just a few things each day opened a door in my life for more great things to show up. And not only that, I was experiencing gratitude for every little thing in my life as I was living it. Grateful for the water in my glass. Grateful for my life. Grateful for the company I was keeping.
I have been feeling a stronger and stronger connection to the people in my life lately. People who get what it’s all about. People who travel the world with a backpack and a smile. People who pool money for gas just to make it to the next show. People who teach each other fundamental life lessons. Especially the hard ones. People who take action and transform their lives into something beautiful.
People who make art.
People who make music.
People who grow food.
People who write.
People who teach yoga.
Yes, you! I am grateful for you. For your life. For the work that you do. Whatever the hell it is that you do. Thank you.
Whatever change, if any, is coming this December. Big or Small. I hope that we can approach it consciously with gratitude, light and unconditional love.
We get to decide how and when to be the enlightened people we are on the road to becoming.
I say NOW
Let’s fucking do it.
Let’s choose happiness
Let’s choose forward.
Together. Let us ascend.
On this long and winding road, I am grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for being conscious and tuned in individuals.
Thank you for making my life not only worth living, but fucking fabulous.
11″x17″ Colored Pencil and Ink on Paper
$5 on lot, $20 after the event.
Made for Northwest String Summit at Horning’s Hideout
Headband is hand beaded and leather is hand stitched. Feathers were hot glued on. Whole project was spread out over two months in Boulder, Colorado. Special thanks to Jenna Fakhoury, the model, for her assistance.
The feathers were from a deconstructed pair of wings gifted to me from the Magical Cali Simpson:
The before photo
There is an interesting array of people working in Moose Junction, Wyoming. Nestled under the dramatically changing Teton Range. There are fire fighters, the wolf team, the reforestation crew, the infrastructure maintenance people and then there’s the visitor center staff and interns, all soaking up as much knowledge and experience as they can in this park and informing the constant influx of public about everything from bear safety to wildflower varieties. They mostly live in the park. Tucked away in tiny log cabins, between approachable trailheads with views of the Grand outside their bedroom windows. It’s like summer camp for adventurous outdoorsy adults. A way to work hard with nature and get paid to live inside national parks. It’s incredible. 10 mile runs with bear spray in hand. A morning trek up one of the last remaining patches of snow just to say you’ve skied in June. Hiking everyday, trails that hundreds of thousands of people cross the country in minivans and RV’s to hike once in their lives.
I’m sitting at Taggart Lake, just at the base of the Grand Tetons. It’s a mile and a half hike up here by a raging stream. At the bottom of which a baby moose is in a bush nursing. The water in the lake is ice cold and crystal clear. Tiny blue butterflies flit across the path.
Little chipmunky squirrels come up to say hello. In the distance you can hear dead trees being felled by the fire crew. A buzzing chainsaw, a shout and then a crash as the tree hits the water. The pointy face of the Grand looms over it all like a squat old man who’s seen it all before. Not that there’s a whole lot going on in Wyoming. 6900 foot elevation and the nearest town of Jackson is only 8600 people.
I’m staying with Zoe Nelson, park ranger, up in what’s called the Highlands. A tiny circle of log cabins, with a fire pit in the center. The way down from Taggart is another two and a half miles, winding up above the lake to the southeast and then twisting down through lush hills covered in blue sage and blossoming damp forests where the wind makes leaning trees rub together and squeak. Just as the road comes back into view it starts raining. Yes there are obvious endorphins from the hike, and heightened senses from thinking every sound out there could be a bear, but there’s also this Disneyland, just-too-perfect look to everything, especially in spring, especially at the foot of such dramatic mountains as the Tetons. Heaven on Earth is the best I can describe it and I envy the smart group of rugged, mountainous people who found a way to call this place home.