Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gratitude

So much to say thanks
so much gratitude to give
for all that we have. 

455

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Surprise Yourself

Dear Tomorrow,

Yesterday, I did something that surprised Dan, and surprised me too.



As we took a spontaneous trip to Red Rocks to watch the sun set over a gorgeous Monday evening, and awaited making pasta from scratch for the first time (also spontaneously!), I did something that I haven't done before. 

Homemade pasta from scratch!

We were ambling along in our car on the windy roads leading to the base of the amphitheater when I was distracted by two men watching the sun set together with steel martini glasses in their bathrobes. I smiled at just how sweet that sight was and almost didn't notice two other people walking with their thumbs out. I don't know if I thought about it too much, or not enough - but I stopped the car for them and we give them a rather awkward and quiet ride over to another parking lot. They reeked of cheap booze, and seemed equally surprised that they asked for a ride and they got one. 

Red Rocks against a Purple Sunset
Dan laughed the whole evening about this. He couldn't believe it any more than I could. My default state of Fox Mulderness ("Trust No One") was challenged yesterday. I have been trying not to overthink why, how, and what the heck I was thinking. It was odd stepping out of character and my own skin. I wouldn't recommend you give rides to random hitchhikers, but I would also suggest you hone and trust your instinct. 

And once in a while, surprise yourself - the result can't always be terrible, right?

Lovingly,
-Suparna

454

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Confusing

Some days are just confusing
A mish-mash of vice-versa
Ready to cause me to fumble
How things change
How unpredictable people can be
One day an ally
Another something resembling an enemy
Should I tango
Or stay still as the song continues?

453

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Be You

Dear Tomorrow,

Life will give you many options to pick a you. You'll get challenges, opportunities, paths, and victories. You'll find yourself in predicaments, celebrations, over hills, and down pits. Wherever you go and whatever you encounter, I hope you will choose every chance you get to learn more about who you are. I once loved someone who didn't understand when I said I needed to find myself. He mocked me and ridiculed my search. It hurt because I thought the world of him. But it hurt a lot more because I didn't think much of myself. It took a while, but I think I found her hiding somewhere inside. Once I found her I realized a few things:

1. She had been there all along, I just needed to see.

2. She was made by me and a few others who I let into my world.

3. I get to decide who she is.

4. She changes.

5. I am her.

I can't wait to find more of me through you and I hope I can be there whenever you need me as you find and keep finding yourself.

Lovingly,
Suparna

452

Friday, May 27, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ You

Dear Tomorrow,

I thought a lot about you today.

I wondered what would happen. I wondered why, and I wondered when. I left some room to think about how too.

The more I think about you, the more excited I get about seeing you. About knowing you will one day be here, become the present, and be our future. Of course, life cannot be taken for granted and anything can happen. But you give me hope and excitement about the future. And now.

Thank you for that gift.

Lovingly,
Suparna

451

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Listen to your Cheer Leader

Dear Tomorrow,

I listen to myself sometimes. Often, I will hear my critic. My self-critic has quite a personality. She is loud and assertive. And insertive (she inserts herself unsolicited into a lot of situations). I heard myself being rather mean to myself. "Good for nothing!" "Get moving!" "You did a terrible job!" Those are some examples of her meanness. I certainly don't like it when I allow her to speak to me that way. 

It's in moments like these, that I have to remind myself that this is my critic. I can tell her to shut it. (Not that I wouldn't try to say that to another mean critic either.)

So I did. 

And I had to cajole and nudge her a bit, but eventually my inner cheer leader awakened and stood up for me. 

I've been working on my selfhood for many years now. For me, it's very important that my self is embedded and rooted in a communal whole. But it's sad when my self-critic will come in the way of my sense of self. I'm working on it, but I like the sound of my cheer leader. She's kind, nonjudgmental, and empowering. I am working on limiting my harsh inner critic's dominance, just as I limit my interactions with mean, negative, disempowering folks in my life. 

I wish you nothing but cheer leaders - inside and out.

Lovingly,
Suparna

450

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bloody Escape

She came gushing out,
in search for air.
Gulping -
drowning everything around her.
She left a hollowed valley in her stead.
The blade fell out of his hands.

449

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Be Persistent

Dear Tomorrow,

Today Dan finished another important and big milestone and I'm so proud of him! There were many times in the middle when it seemed too hard to make it to this point and there were many obstacles on the way. He changed course, negotiated a more sustainable plan, altered his expectations, and he made it to this day! As always, Dan focused on the positives, gave his best, and thought of all the lessons he learned along the way. I hope very much that you'll find ways to be persistent in your own way!

Lovingly,
Suparna

448

Monday, May 23, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Chill Out

Dear Tomorrow,

As Dan and I were strolling today, we saw a magnificent tree outside our apartment that was full of newly budding pinecones. They were young, green, and incomplete. It was so nice to take a moment to notice them and catch a glimpse of them in their growth. We also noticed a water fountain right outside our apartment that we had never seen before! Dan often reminds me to chill out. I take his axioms to heart, but being Piglet like by nature, I worry a lot. So Dan added to his two axioms (guilt is useless and stress is stupid), worry is wasteful. When I'm chilled out, I notice more. I'm more present. More whole. And definitely happier.

Hoping you take after Dan with his Pooh-ness and not after my Pigletty self when it comes to worrying!

Lovingly,
Suparna

447

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Not a Love Marriage

Theirs was a marriage arranged

by war,

in the cruelest of ways.

The stump that was her leg entered her prosthesis with ease. 

Never had there been a more perfect match. 

446

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Look, then See

Dear Tomorrow,

Every day, Dan and I work hard to look at one another and see who we are, who we are being, what we have to give, what we need, and how to love on each other to make this all possible.

Some days we only look, and things happen that come in the way of us seeing. When we just look, it can be through a layer of worry or doubt or other such feelings that stem from a shaky sense of self. Sometimes looking is easy and those layers protect us from ourselves.

It takes courage to really see. Past the anxieties, let-downs, dropped expectations - there's a lot going on. There is a lot to see outside and within.

There are moments when seeing is incredibly hard, because seeing into Dan's eyes means allowing him to see into mine. It means allowing him to see all my inadequacies and all my failures. But it also means embracing and accepting his vulnerabilities. Often I don't see my own ability to take a risk until I see it through his eyes.

I feel grateful to have Dan's perspective and non-judgmental love. And it's also brave to see and be seen.

Take the time to look at people and the world around you. Then, find your strength to see.

Lovingly,
Suparna

445

What adventure lies ahead?

This is a story
with a beginning and an end.
it's not an easy tale to tell -
it's about an incredible kickass friend.

Like every story it begins with,
"Once upon a time there was,"
a girl named Sarah who deserves our applause.

Sarah's journey began in the land of the Bengals.
I had to Google that because,
whether it's foot or base, I know little about balls.

Her adventurous spirit took her out west.
And to the bears of berkeley she brought some of her zest!

With Mila by her side, Sarah took on the world.
Engineering? Dancing?
Nothing she wouldn't take on as her adventures unfurled!

Developmental teacher education became Sarah's pursuit.
Oakland and Berkeley got an amazing teacher,
and then she was someone's recruit!

Said the recruit to Sarah,
"Wanna come work at Logan?
It's awesome and you'll work weekends!"
She considered it and replied, "Well, it depends!"

And depend it did!
And boy was she in for a ride!
Changing, trailblazing -
she took it all in her stride

Camping, climbing ropes, an expert in fashion.
In her time at Logan, she helped kids find their passion.

She asked difficult questions about inclusion and diversity.
She shared her expertise with others
at circle, stamp, and POCC!

No one stood in the way,
of a volleyball she threw.
She knows how to joust and spike,
(Yes, I had to google those too!)

Sarah is all of this and so much more.
She's been my friend, inspiration,
and an ally to the core

So, Sarah, as you end this journey here in Denver,
I wish you love and adventure.
And I have one question and one only -
When can I plan my vacation to Miami?

444




Thursday, May 19, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Walk

Dear Tomorrow,

Today, Dan and I spent a lot of time walking, talking, and getting to know each other better. Even after all these years, I still eagerly wait to see him and spend time with him. Today was my favorite type of day - a Dan day!

I hope you enjoy spending time with us as much as we do with each other and you.

Lovingly,
Suparna

443

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Too Late

He spent his whole life
in search of Irony.
She found him
lying on his deathbed.

442

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Whisper in Time

Her screams came in whispers now. Seven hours of desperate screaming would make anyone hoarse. But the body has a remarkable adaptive response to stress. She tried to distract herself by remembering the Ted Talk she once watched. The amygdala helps our body cope with the help of the four f's - flight, fright, freeze, and - forget. Forget? Was it forget? She couldn't remember.

441

Monday, May 16, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Expectations

Dear Tomorrow,

Today, Dan handed me four pieces of paper. I loved what he did with them and how much fun we had ripping the paper that had the word "Guilt" on it, and how we giggled as we crumpled a few more pieces of paper to concretely rid ourselves of toxic feelings. One paper said. "Expectations"

I read this more pensively than the others and hesitated at my instinct to rip this one to shreds too. I held the paper up high, high over my head, and groaned, "That's where mine are - for myself." Dan's eyes smiled and urged me to lower my hand. His smile told me it was okay and to not judge myself for doing so. So I did. I brought my expectation (piece of paper) down and looked at it squarely in the eyes. I realized my expectation was too high and too unachievable for today. Disappointment would be inevitable.

I had to change my expectation, as I have had to many times before, and as I know I will many times in the future. It felt alright to do it. I didn't feel like I was letting myself down or anyone else. I just let the paper down, felt lighter, and felt kinder towards myself. 

Often in life, we set high expectations for ourselves and others. Mummy used to say to me when I was still learning to set them for myself - expectations only disappoint. She's mostly right about that. Most people, even those we love radically and wholly, will sometimes surpass and often not even be close to the finishing line of our expectations relay. Accordingly, I have had to make an addendum or two to her counsel. 

1. Unmet expectations will disappoint: When life doesn't go/people don't show up as hoped for, an expectation is incomplete and is forced to end itself. Or it lingers, uneasily and sickeningly to torment the holder and the person(s) the expectation is targeted towards. This can be sorely disappointing. Many of my loved ones have disappointed me, and I have disappointed many. Knowing that unmet expectations can lead to heartbreak, shock, surprise, and sometimes even a significant shift in a relationship, doesn't stop me from having expectations. It does help me brace myself a little more for unmet expectations, and allows me to be surprised when they are exceeded. 

2. Hold yourself and others to high standards: To add another compounding brick to this fortress of expectations, there seems to be a tension between expectations for others and myself. I do think having expectations can be indicative of believing in one self and others, and believing in our abilities to grow and be better versions of ourselves everyday. In that respect, I think it's great to have high expectations for oneself and others. Often, I will have higher expectations of me than of others. And I can be devastated sometimes when I don't meet them. But that doesn't stop me from holding myself to high standards and lovingly supporting myself to meet those standards. 

I guess I'm still learning to forgive myself when I don't meet those high expectations. And change them when necessary. Even if it's on a piece of paper.

Lovingly,
Suparna 

440

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Shadows

cast in the dark
as light succumbs to its quiet end
i am born of nothing
and into ashes i will recede
i came from the dark
as light swallowed itself
and all that was left behind
were glimpses of who I used to be

439

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ You Can't Control the Weather

Dear Tomorrow,

Waking up to another dreary frigid day in the middle of May is thoroughly annoying after a difficult spring that's made recurring lung and sinus issues a part of our daily struggles. But what can you do about the weather? Can't change it for sure. So we decided to make the best of the day and our slow recoveries! After two delicious cups of chai in bed and a relaxing morning, we headed to our local farmer's market and soaked in the colors and tastes of all things local! After a customary nap, we got to enjoy some unique music and spend time with dear friends. It was cold, extremely cold, foggy, and damp the whole day. And there wasn't a darn thing we could to change the weather. But we did what we could, and it was a special day.

Hope your days are filled with good weather. And when it sucks, I hope you're filled with a good attitude.

Lovingly,
Suparna

438

Friday, May 13, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Good People

Dear Tomorrow,

Today, I got to see two good people, with good hearts, and good energy. It's not easy to find people like that in your life. I've been lucky to find such people. I hope that your life is filled with people like that too. Filled with goodness and love.

Lovingly,
Suparna

437

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ A whole new wonder

Dear Tomorrow,

Many moons ago, I was reminded to stay where my feet were. Yet, once again I found myself thinking about you - about Tomorrow. 

I wondered about all the people we're still about to meet. All the friends we haven't made yet. All the experiences we're yet to have. And I wondered about Tomorrow. I wondered about how children come into this world and change the lives of those around them. I hope I'm lucky enough to be changed by you.

Lovingly,
-Suparna

436

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Today, Ten Years Ago

Dear Tomorrow,

Today's letter is a story of a few years ago.

Once upon a time, ten years ago, a boy waited eagerly for a girl to come by.
They had planned the visit to be their last goodbye, but little did they know,
Their lives were about to change in big ways, and here's why.

He had told her he loved her.
She had told him it couldn't be.
India and the United States were separated by ocean and sea. 

So this was their first meeting.
To say goodbye they met.
Although it would be fleeting, it would be one they'd never forget.

He sat there on his purple suitcase.
She walked with her sister in tow.
All the nervousness hidden behind their face, no one will ever know.

She was a little late, he got a little worried.
He said she was worth the wait.
She told him she had hurried. 

They hugged each other. 
For the first time putting feeling to voice.
If they could've they would've lived closer, but that wasn't a choice.

It was a whirlwind of a few days. 
Each day changing lives forever.
They were lost trance-like in a daze, when this girl from Delhi met this boy from Denver.

A decade may not seem a lot to some.
But to their growing story it is monumental.
It took a lot of bravery from them to overcome distances that were intercontinental. 

This is one of many stories you will know.
One of many told yet.
It was today, ten years ago, that Dan and Suparna met. 

Ten years of learning more and rising in love.
Ten years of caring for and building a life we're proud of. 

Ten years ago. Today.
I can't wait to see what Tomorrow will bring, Dan. I can't wait to see what the next ten years will bring.

Lovingly,
-Suparna


435

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Forgive, but don't forget easily

Dear Tomorrow,

Sometimes I think of the past. Especially about doors that still creak open, ends that I never got to tie, or people who I didn't get to say goodbye to. Sometimes our brains play tricks on us. We see our past in a certain light and remember people from it in a certain way. There are certain people who I hurt and people who hurt me. I think I'm still working on forgiving myself for hurting them. But in some confusing way, I have forgotten some of the hurt that others caused. I have learned to forgive them because not doing so only hurts and consumes me with toxicity. But, I also tend to forget how they hurt me, and I brush away their actions. I think it's nice to remember good times and memories, and not dwell on the more painful ones, but it's also important to not forget how some people can be hurtful and damaging. It's important (and okay) to to not let these people into your life - and protect yourself. I hope you never have to experience that. But I have a feeling you're going to be strong to weather life. For when you don't feel strong enough - you've got Dan and me.

Lovingly,
-Suparna

434

Monday, May 9, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Swim, don't Sink

Dear Tomorrow,

I hope you'll love the water as much as Dan and I do. I hope you'll have many chances to see for yourself just how Dan's face lights up when he's in water! 



I have always loved being near water. Whether it is looking at it in its endless vastness, floating in its nonjudgmental embrace, drinking its soothing comfort, or the smell of it on thirsty earth. As I write this, over a thousand farmers' lives have shriveled to nothingness like the parched earth that drove them to despair. Water is a rare gift, not to be wasted, and not to be taken for granted. Water also reminds me that life presents us with many tributaries that warrant swimming, because the alternative is to let torrential currents of hopelessness drown you. Stay afloat, my dear Tomorrow, there's much to experience - including the day after tomorrow, and the next.

As I came up for a breath between every stroke today, I noticed the likeness of swimming to life. You set out confident in your deep breath and able lungs, only to be shocked into an uneasy breathlessness, which you abate by pushing out of the water for a short gasp, letting in only a sliver of the oxygen you need to keep going. It takes several attempts before you get the hang of it - dive, emerge, breathe in, breathe out, repeat. And if you don't bring your attention to each breath and how it makes your lungs feel, and how it causes your entire body to move in a motion unknown to your land-self, then before you know it - you reach the edge of the pool, and your lap is over.

Swim, dear Tomorrow. And notice each breath as you do. Laps are too short sometimes - make the best of every stroke.

Lovingly,
-Suparna

433

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Seven Years

I held you tight and,
not for the first time,
pressed my ears snug
against your heart.

Its thumps tell a story.
Even after all these years,
it tells me stories of years gone by...

Once upon a time,
seven years away,
a wee girl and boy
figured out a way.

A way to be together,
more than being in touch,
for India and the United States
were apart by far too much.

Too much distance,
had already kept them apart,
so they mutually decided
it was time for a new start.

New start, new beginning,
they set out on a day so fine,
with loved ones by their side
they wedded on May 8th 2009.

Seven years have gone by,
since celebrating outside our door,
I have loved every moment of these seven
I can't wait for many many more.

432

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Celebrating

Rain-kissed air
Smelled sweet
Despite wind-swept hair
And cold feet

Gloom-laden grey clouds
Couldn't dampen this day
As ducks puddle-plopped
And every tree began to sway

The sun played hide-and-seek
Woke up a little late
Didn't stop bunnies that hop-skip-jump
Joining us to celebrate

431

Friday, May 6, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Make Every Sunset Count

Dear Tomorrow,

As we start saying our goodbyes to Colorado, I am reminding myself to make each moment with loved ones here count. I tend to live often in the past or dreaming about the future, so it takes effort to stay present in the moment. Today, we had many moments with our loved ones here, and I reminded myself to stay in each one constantly. A walk in the setting sun, watching a baby gurgle, laughing with my heart, dancing, chemistry jokes, cards, and loving people. Every moment counted.

Don't forget to make each of your moments, each of your sunsets count.

Lovingly,
Suparna

430

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Tesser Well

Dear Tomorrow,

Dan and I talk often about birth, life, and death, and things in between. We have our own beliefs about what happens when we, our bodies, die. Dan often says that death is the end and we come from the world and must go back to it. Living forever makes no sense in that respect. Life really is a journey because the end, in some ways has little consequence or meaning according to what we believe. Because we see life as such, the unfair (young, tragic days, for instance) really feels unfair. It may seem dire to some, our belief that death is the end and there is no beyond. But, to me, it makes the journey so much more worth it. It makes the journey the purpose of this existence that we are gifted with. It makes the journey worth living every breath to its fullest, and it makes our goal to live a sustainable, change-making, oppression-free, just, kind, loving life even more critical. I wish you a journey filled with love, kindness, risks, adventure, courage, hope, and I wish for you to walk this journey with pride and love. Tesser well my sweet Tomorrow.

Lovingly,
Suparna

P.S.- don't forget to eat ice cream along the way. It makes the journey sweeter.

429

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Kulfi Khao

Dear Tomorrow,

About a month ago Didi gave me kulfi molds. You know how the saying goes, when your sister gives you kulfi molds, you make kulfi. So, I did just that.

Most people I know like to practice a recipe/dish before serving it to guests. I had a dear friend once who would do a trial run of every dish in a meal before inviting friends. Often, I got to eat the rough draft, edited version, and the final creation. Couldn't complain!

I personally find that uninteresting. I think it's okay to try new things for the first time with others. Not everything can be perfect at all times, and certainly not the first. Somehow though, because I'm working hard to make sure my recipe doesn't cause chemical fires and/or release noxious fumes of failure, I usually like how my food turns out the very first time I make a particular dish.

Like today, I decided to (possibly slightly ambitiously) make kulfi. "How hard could it be to freeze a bunch of stuff in molds?" thought I so very foolishly.

I called Mummy and asked her to remind me how she made kulfi for those Air Force dinner parties when we were kids. I said "No" when she asked if we had khoya. And I said, "Hell, no" when she said you have to cook milk for something like 3 hours. But my resolute mind wouldn't budge - kulfi I would make. So, I decided to shortcut my way out of wasting electricity, my patience, and time by watching milk condense for 3 hours and bought a can of condensed milk.

The rest entailed, in honesty, my favorite part about cooking - mixing ingredients, following my trusty nose, and adding what I thought might be yummy. In today's case - mangoes, cardamom, and saffron.

Result: not a bad first time kulfi crop!

Take risks. Life's too short for trial runs. Kulfi banao...khao.

Lovingly,
Suparna

428

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ What Story Will You Tell?

Dear Tomorrow,

I feel full with family and friends who fill my cup and allow me the space to fill theirs. I hope you will have many chances to experience the joy of both of those feelings. Today, while talking to a dear friend of mine, I was asked to tell a story. I wonder sometimes what adventure I will embark on when this friend of mine calls, and each time I do find my feet striding along on a happy adventure. Today's has led me to wonder deeply...which story will I tell? There are many to be told, and much to be considered before telling them, but I'm confident I'm going to try to tell a story. I don't know which one to start with yet, but I'm grateful I have many to pick from.

I can't wait till you're a part of my story.

Lovingly,
Suparna

427

Monday, May 2, 2016

Letters to Tomorrow ~ Guilt is Useless

Dear Tomorrow,

When you're able to make gestures, Dan can teach you the "Guilt is Useless" hand gesture! Guilt came with all the baggage I carried with me from child- to adulthood. And Dan helped me unload, unpack, and get rid of all that excess weight I'd been carrying. Today was a day with no room for guilt. Only sunshine, time spent in caring for my self, recovery, and the man who makes me smile.

Hope your life has no room for guilt.

Lovingly,
Suparna

426

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I miss the sun

I know it's out there
Like it always is
We're the one always turning
Always on the move
Wearing veils of clouds
Keeping it out
Even though it stays exactly where
It has been for eons
Still
As permanent as it is
I miss seeing it

425