Monday, May 30, 2011

Raw, Angry and Explicit

Rage dissolves into the bloodstream, surging through veins and capillaries until it's circulated to the tips of fingers and toes. And although you should be boiling over with fury, you blame yourself- tuck the hate in between muscle and bone, and seethe internal. Your self-loathing is text book. You have been on the other side countless times, assuring the teary woman that this is not her fault. And your training and text book knowledge informs you that you are similarly innocent. Yet somehow all you can think is "Where the hell did my voice go?"

There is a part of you that knows that quietly, weakly whispering "No" should be enough. Any half decent guy would immediately back off and check in, make sure that he was still within a respectful space. There is a part of you that knows that that fucker is lucky that he didn't get his god damn testicles removed. But you're mostly just disgusted with yourself and the way that you wilted into a scared little girl. There is no way of knowing what might happen in these extreme situations, but you always imagined yourself responding with strength and pride, and throwing some elbows and fists in for good measure.

It is now apparent that this need to be agreeable and liked is truly problematic, and you are grateful that you've gone this long without having anything like this happen before. In every other instance you've had choice and you've been respected. This is a lesson learned- to be more thoughtful when choosing company, to be a "bitch" if that's what it means to make sure you're safe.

Rage swirls in again, as you hotly ponder why it's your damn job to be safe and thoughtful. When did men suddenly get off the hook for taking care of women? You want to know when it became a woman's job to defend herself in the most intimate of situations. When did some men start to turn?

The cycle repeats. At the end of the day, you want to evaporate and leave this heavy human body behind. You want to scream, tear your hair out, sleep all day, eat everything, eat nothing, run away. You feel alone although you are not. You feel damaged although you are not. You sit still, hot tears streaming, wondering if you will ever stop feeling this feeling.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Being The Love, Spreading The Light

Since I seem to be so fond of nautical imagery, we'll start like this:
Lately, I've been adrift without paddles- a little canoe in a big, angry ocean. I don't do well in boats, so all this weather instability has got me fairly queasy with questions like, "What am I supposed to be doing?" and "What is going on?!" Floating blind through a fog bank, I heard a hope and helpful horn in the distance. Then a bright light house beam cut through the confusion and I found some solid ground to stand on after months of aimlessness.

What really happened was: I've begun to take the good advice that I give other people and in doing so made a decision about the direction of my life. I haven't worked the details out yet, but, encouraged by Oprah and Steve Jobs, I am less concerned with failing and way more concerned about staying in this literal and figurative fog. I got on craigslist and found a really neat job where I can see myself being happy and challenged. In preparing my resume and writing the cover letter I realized, "Damn! I am pretty useful! Look at all this cool shit that I've done. I think I might be kind of awesome."

Dude, I am awesome! I directed a teen leadership summer camp program when I was still a teenager! I comforted and lovingly confronted hurting souls on a suicide crisis line every Friday for over a year! I taught college classes before I even finished my BA! The next time I feel like I haven't made a difference in the world, I'll just reread my resume and remember how many people have benefited from my existence. Hoooray! I am worthwhile!

Of course, professional accomplishment doesn't necessarily make for a "successful" life. Today, to me "success" means living well holistically- healthy relationships, healthy body, healthy mind. If your career is kickin' but you never see your family or the inside of a gym (or yoga studio!), there's no balance. Sometimes an overflow in one area of our lives leads to deficiencies in the other areas, but we work to keep bringing everything back to equilibrium. That way our life has the richness and depth that it lacks when all we do is work (or sleep til noon every day for six months, ahem).

Anyway...what I think I might be getting at is this: when you feel down, like you've never done anything contributory, look at all the energy you've put out into the world. Maybe your contribution is a poem, or a really good joke, or just listening to a friend, or being nice to your harried bus driver...these are all gifts you can give. You don't have to do anything particularly impressive or spectacular to contribute: just be kind. And if you're really feeling dissatisfied with the mark you've made thus far, do something about it! There are organizations all over that rely on volunteer help. Or you could just give out free hugs. Or find a cure for pressure.

This is the point where someone else might give you that Gandhi 'be the change' quote that is so grossly over quoted that I can no longer suppress an eye roll when I hear it. Instead I'll give you another overly quoted quote that I like better from Rumi:
"Let the beauty we love be what we do. / There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
This comes from a longer, very beautiful poem, and it always baffles me that the second part is never included. Not only does this encourage you to do what you love in life, but it assures you that whatever that is will be a contribution. You don't have to be a doctor or something else traditionally considered "important"- just do what you love. Make it an offering and you will make a difference to someone, somewhere. Our ripples reach much farther than we can imagine.

One more quote...
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -Howard Thurman, who, among other things, was deeply influential in the civil right movement, and founded the first racially integrated, intercultural church in the United States in San Francisco. Thanks for doing what you loved, Mr. Thurman!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thank God for Failure

When times get rough, I look for inspiration. And between awesome blogs and TED Talks, there's no better source of inspirational material than the interweb. Today someone on facebook posted a link to a YouTube blog with a list of the top 10 most-viewed commencement addresses on the site. Having just heard a great commencement address last week, I sat down and watched almost all of the videos on the list. The common theme highlighted in the videos I watched (except for Meryl Streep's) is the inevitability, the importance and the gift of failure.

Did you know that Oprah started out as a news anchor? And that she only became a talk show host because she was fired from her anchor position, but the network didn't want to break her contract? All these influential shapers of culture experienced failures earlier in their life that made the way for the success they would achieve later. Without failure and rejection, it would've been impossible for them to become who they are today.

This hits home for me, as failure has long been a major anxiety of mine. I have been overly concerned with gaining and keeping the approval of others, and am therefore terrified to fail should the people I love be disappointed and leave me. This translates into two different types of behavior: 1) Working very hard, at any cost, to ensure my success, and 2) Not trying at all. Not trying is a pretty clever way to avoid failure, but it's also a surefire way to never achieve anything...which is really just a much less interesting way to fail. There are a bunch of variations of this quote, but Mark Twain's is my favorite: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Even I, who am a hot mess on boats, can appreciate the nautical-themed call to bold action. No one ever got anywhere fantastic by playing it safe. As ambition-less as I've become recently, I can still remember how vital boldness is to great success. There is a requisite risk that things may not work out the way you initially thought they would, but isn't that usually a good thing? Where would Oprah, or the world, be if that TV producer hadn't fired her? She pursued her passion (news anchoring), it didn't work out, and she was rewarded with something so much larger and more fulfilling than she thought possible (OWNing everything). We mustn't limit our vision of success, lest we miss out on opportunities that fall outside what we could imagine.

Failure and rejection can therefore be reframed as information rather than symptomatic of some horrible character flaw. If something doesn't work out, perhaps it is because it's just not the right path. This can be hard to let in when you're grieving the loss of some potential or previously cherished success, but open to it if you can. Sometimes now, when faced with failure, I get excited because it means that something is coming that's an even better fit. If you can't muster this infuriatingly cheery optimism, just ask and I'll give you some of mine.

Before we can fail, though, we have to try. And I'm with Mr. Twain on this one: I'd rather raise an eyebrow later at my knucklehead choices than miss out on all the learning that making "mistakes" and "failing" has provided. It's better to have loved and lost, right? I think so.

Monday, May 23, 2011


My brilliant cousin graduated from UC Berkeley this week with honors, all the while raising my brilliant godbaby, no less. Graduations are rarely interesting to anyone besides the graduates, but this was special. Melissa has worked extremely hard to get where she is today and it was beautiful and inspiring to watch her walk the stage at the Greek Theatre, where we learned to salsa dance to the Gypsy Kings as teenagers. It was a rad, full circle moment to witness.

Aside from the sentimentality of the event, there was also a really compelling keynote speaker, Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for the New Yorker and CAL graduate. He told some impressive stories about his past dozen plus years covering the political scene, including his time with a young Senate hopeful from Illinois who would become our president. He pointed out something I had never considered: the word 'decide' shares the suffix '-cide' with words like 'suicide' and 'homicide,' and means "to cut or kill." He reasoned that this is accurate because when you make a decision about something, you kill all other possible choices. After all, you cannot walk down two different paths at the same time. Some things can be done concurrently, like going to CAL and raising an awesome kid. I would also argue that due to the impermanent nature of life, some killed, unchosen choices may be available later.

Because we don't know what will happen in the future, and if we can ever revisit previous options, it can really pressurize making a clear, decisive choice. Some choices are less challenging, but can become monstrously burdensome when we consider that, on occasion, a seemingly small, innocuous decision completely reshapes our life. Example: over a decade ago when I opted to take the car ride with my mom that resulted in my having a temperamental low back and lasting anxiety around driving that's led me to be a 27 year old non-driver. The mechanisms that make our life work are so very intricate and sometimes seconds and minutes matter desperately.

Looking at life this way makes me not want to get out of bed. I combat this over analytical anxiety with faith that everything is happening exactly as it should, and I try to stay alert and listen, as I am often provided with all the information I need to keep things humming along smoothly. I am nonplussed by the fact that choosing raisin bran for breakfast kills the option to eat peanut butter toast. I'll have peanut butter toast for breakfast tomorrow, or more likely, eat it later for dinner. But oh boy! When it comes to the big stuff, lately I have been refusing to make any choices at all and unsurprisingly finding it to be quite unproductive. I've been experiencing an uncharacteristic, almost pathological fear of anything that looks or feels like commitment. Although I am unhappy in this place, I am more afraid of making a choice that will restrict my freedom, and so I do nothing.

The problem is, not making a decision is kind of making a decision. I am deciding to live unhappily because I am refusing to muster my courage and make real, ballsy choices. This in between place served a purpose for a while but remaining here is becoming uncomfortable. The world is continuing to spin despite my refusal to participate and not contributing is totally contrary to my nature. I am the Siri Sevak- Princess Of Great Devotional Service! I have been teaching yoga, which is my saving grace and the one thing I don't mind being married to right now. Knowing what you want to do is a pretty big deal, so at least there's that.

Ryan covered the revolution in Egypt, collecting tons of stories from protestors on the ground. The overwhelming impression he got was that the people made a collective decision to regain their dignity, and once they committed there was no going back. They killed the option to continue living like they had been and fought without compromise for what they knew was right. That's some seriously admirable commitment. Although I can't always understand how my choices will ripple out, when I consider them I can see that they don't carry the widespread impact of the choice of the Egyptian people. A single person can make a massive difference in the world, and perhaps I will, but I don't see myself as being all that important. Therefore, I can embolden my choice making with this knowledge- that although I do matter and my choices do affect others and myself, most of the time it's just not that big of a deal. Relax and do something...anything!

Regardless of the size of the choice, there comes a point where we have to decide. My friend JeLisa once told me that when she makes a decision she trusts that God has led her and she lets go of the outcome, no regrets. Somewhere in the vestige of my memory I recall being able to see decisions through with great commitment and faith. At some point I stopped planning and started floating aim and ambition-less, literally allowing other people to drive my life. I don't know if it's turning 27 or tiring of my current situation (or both...) but I'm ready to take up a purposeful trajectory once more. I'm ready to decide, to kill all the other options and never look back.

"If you don't ruthlessly decide your own future, someone will do it for you." -Ryan Lizza

Thursday, May 19, 2011

unsent letter overshare

we met the day my movie began.

you know how movies always start on the day something new happens? you met me days before i closed a brief but important chapter, which was really just the beginning of the end of a much larger chapter. you were at a place of closing and opening, as well. i'd like to think that meeting during this auspicious time was the beginning of something new, but it remains to be seen exactly what, if anything, you mean to me. i fear that i mean very little, if anything, to you.

there were several small sound bytes that you dropped, quietly, seemingly unknowing that you were speaking very directly to intimate parts of me...things that made me wonder how you knew that?! are you aware of how intuitive you are? are you utilizing this skill to elevate or to seduce? i'm sure you understand that you affect other people, but i'm not sure you understand how deeply in some cases. in cases like these cases.

like ella says, i've got you under my skin. i have spent the last several weeks exercising your memory, trying to shake it off, but all this time later you remain, in some way, ever in my consciousness. i am seeing other people and it's quite unfair to them because flashes of you revisit involuntarily and i am swept away. it's pretty unfair for me because i am convinced that you don't think of me. that you forgot me before i came to visit and again very shortly after i got on my plane to go. i thought something cosmic happened when we first saw each other. i felt that "oh shit this is important" feeling in my belly, that scary something that's nonetheless so important to do. i saw the way you looked at me, across the table all adoring this gentle flower you couldn't believe you were just meeting. and we kissed for the first time out front of the cafe where i ate today with a belgian filmmaker. and we kissed again on the rooftop at the art school where i took the belgian filmmaker after lunch. and all the while i am thinking of you. wondering how you are. if my prayer is working and you are growing into the man of my future. if you ever think of me.

you are probably a silver tongued scoundrel. and these future visions are probably not pieces of prophecy (as real as they felt) but expressions of my desire to attain whatever it is that you represented to me at the time. someday i will be married and have babies with some other guy who thinks of me. and i might still think of you. and that'll have to be okay.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Have > Not Have

It would be totally ungracious to overlook the abundance of blessings that populate my life...especially on a day like today when people I care about all over the world made a point to reach out with their love. And yet...

There is this small, totally ungracious part of myself that can only think about what is missing. Is this normal? To hope for something so much that what is not overwhelms what is? This is the problem with unmanaged're not even aware of how important something was until it's not there and then it's all you see (ahh, that's hilarious...the Baths song "Palatial Disappointment" just came on).

Moments like these are teachable moments. What is my palatial disappointment teaching me? Maybe there are some things that I care about more than I have let on, even to myself. Maybe finding myself feeling disappointed is a good indicator that these things are actually disappointing. And if something is consistently disappointing, maybe it's not something to hope for. I have forgotten my "everything is a gift and an opportunity" optimism. These things that don't feel nice are providing me with information that can help improve my life. I can keep chasing this not nice feeling, trying to manipulate the situation to my liking, or I can see it for what it is and drop it. Then I've made room for things that feel nice with no manipulation needed on my part. Imagine all the things I can accomplish with the time that will free up! I may finally learn French! Or get my driver's license!

Sometimes I forget that I can't hide from myself. I front nonchalance, trying to play it cool, but I am anything but. And that's fine, as long as I keep my expectations in check, allowing the ones that are consistently disappointed to fall away. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. This may be a really good time to let go of those things that show no signs of delivering.

Today was sweet and quiet and lovely. Thank you thank you thank you for...
-a thumb drive full of torrented music that I love
-my life-giving spiritual practice
-great grandma's coffee cake
-sunshine to warm my perpetually cold bones
-world's shortest DMV wait
-organic beets and chickpea patties
-Fenton's ice cream & being sung to by the whole restaurant...thanks Papa :)
-car ride Sublime sing-a-longs
-the GLEE prom episode!!!!!!!
-my ridiculously loving and amazing support system of family and friends-like-family

If we wait to be happy until everything is perfect, we will never be happy. What I have is far far greater than anything I could be missing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Longing to Merge

Friday afternoon I was walking down Valencia hoping to find a good book and a chai to cozy up with at Muddy Waters. In rifling through the free bin outside Dog Eared Books, I found a copy of the deliriously silly teen softcore, Twilight. I have been actively avoiding Twilight for years but being that the book was free and I had some time, I figured this was my chance to find out what I had been mocking for so long.

First impression: This book is written for mostly illiterate 6th graders.

Second impression: It's almost 200 pages in and the plain girl with the bad attitude is just now figuring out that this mysterious, pale, super stud is a vampire? That's quite the verbose introduction, rife with some not-so-subtle foreshadowing. I think 6th graders should be given more credit.

Much like a thirsty vampire, I consumed the book in two short days and was left with no desire to read farther. Not only because the story never really became compelling but primarily because the relationship between the girl and the vampire was so unsettling. And not because I have anything against inter-species lovin' or am confused as to why such a hot guy would want a girl who was admittedly not cute and had no personality. You have to have at least one of those things, right?

What concerned me about this story was the sexy, romantic spin that it puts on tragic, bordering on abusive, co-dependent relationships. I remember being 12, watching Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes clandestinely make out and longing to feel that intensely about someone. A few years later I was in my first real relationship with a moody rockstar just as intense as me, convinced that we should definitely get married and get an apartment together in Seattle where he could play music and I could spend every waking moment thinking about him. Am I blaming Shakespeare and/or Baz Luhrmann? Maybe a little. But if I had been paying closer attention, I would've realized that R&J is a cautionary tale meant to warn us against all kinds of extremes (if only poor Juliet had a sassy gay friend...). Twilight, on the other hand, seems to encourage young women to make all kinds of crazy sacrifices and lose themselves completely in their relationships. What odd behaviors for a Mormon mother of three to promote.

This wouldn't be so worrisome to me if I hadn't been the teen girl who would've deeply internalized this story. To this day I am still trying to shake the desire for relationships that swallow me whole. As I feel more complete within myself it becomes less attractive to dissolve into someone else, but the idea of being swept away by big feelings is still thrilling. I don't know if it's my nature, or tragic Romeo & Juliet/Titanic love stories, but there is a part of me that craves intensity in my romance, as if it's not real unless that element is present.

In yoga, this desire to merge so completely with someone else is seen as a sort of superficial expression of our desire to merge with the One. Yoga means Union- the union of the self with the Self. There is a timeless part of ourselves that remembers the ecstasy of being a part of God- limitless, pure, infinite. God is expressed and vibrating in every part of our being, but being in this human body does limit how close we can be to Him. It is said that even the angels are envious of us because of the range of experiences available to us as humans, yet everyone seems to ache for this former union and seek it in their own way. We all want to go home.

If I were an Osho card, I would tell myself that the answer is to Turn In:
"Turning inwards is not a turning at all. Going inwards is not a going at all...All journeys are outward journeys, there is no inward journey. How can you journey inwards? You are already is not a turning at all, it is simply not going out."

These enveloping romances are attractive because we long to be with the Beloved. We look around for someone that will help us feel that sense of peace and completion once more, forgetting that we are already complete. We are the Lover and the Beloved. There are certain experiences, like conception, that cannot be reality without a contribution from another, but we do have the ability to experience Union all on our own. Other people can help deliver Divine experiences for us, to elevate and remind us that God is alive and well, but those other people are just mirrors for us, reflecting our own Divinity.

If I could talk to my 12 year old self (or any young people reading Twilight), I would drill into my brain that everything I am looking for is already within, waiting for me to stop turning away and recognize it. Like most people, I am hoping to form a sweet little partnership to learn from and share this funny life with, but not one that will "complete" me. I was formed lovingly, perfectly, complete. There is nothing I need from the outside but regular challenge- helping to keep me honest, awake and inspired to my greatness.

We're all walking unique paths to the same destination, hopefully making contributions to the world that help remind each other how close we really are to God. If we have to seek outside fulfillment, let it be with people who help us to be at home in ourselves. If we want to be swept up by a big emotion, let it be by the ecstasy of being in that silent, still place where it's just you and God. Let's be good company as we go, together but separate, on this non-journey back to The Source.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Age Men

Yogi Bhajan talked a lot about the developing shift bringing about a renaissance of sorts of the Divine Feminine. Women have been mined for their sensuality and sexuality during the last age, but as we shift, the Adi Shakti is rising. I'm seeing flickers of this change and it's a big relief because, honestly, I think without bringing in the power of the feminine, the world might really actually implode. The Adi Shakti is the Primal Creative Power of the Universe. We need this creativity to rebuild the world into one that will nurture life rather than exploit or destroy it. The masculine need to conquer has led us to this point of collapse.

The post-war, women's lib world has offered women the opportunity to get in touch with their superficial masculinity. Women can wear slacks, fix flats, operate power tools, provide financially for their family- all previously part of the male arena. But what about men? A couple of years ago Madonna wrote a pretty bad song asking men if they knew "what it feels like for a girl" and I would guess that most men still don't. It's not the superficial or stereotypically "womanly" things that I think men should understand, though. The Age of the Adi Shakti is a chance for men to develop life-giving creativity. Men have great creativity (see: the Renaissance, most classic literature, The Internet!) but that same creativity has conversely been used to mastermind really abominable atrocities (see: atomic weapons, the Holocaust, 4" heels).

Before we go any further, let's clarify: I adore men. I care about and respect men so much that I pray for them nightly. Men have this great strength and power that when applied, can make impossible things happen. My prayer for men is that if they must destroy something, that they will use their immense power to build something better in its place. If they must conquer something, let it be their own minds, their breath, their words and deeds. Women can learn steady inner stability from men. Men cannot learn to give birth, except to ideas and inventions that will be life-giving.

Men and women have so much to teach each other. The time is coming for the Feminine to factor heavily in the redevelopment of our world. Remember, Men, you came from a mother and your body is returned to the Mother when you are done here. Respect to the Feminine is due.

"It's never the man and never the material; it is always the mother who facilitates the faculty of the divinity and identity of the grace in a man." -Yogiji

Love song.

I wish I could give you my understanding, and that I could have yours. Between us, we would know everything.

You would understand how well taken care of you are, even if it feels like chaos.

I would understand how to channel all of my intensity into real discipline.

You would feel the weight of your words in your mouth before you spoke them.

I would never again walk in the exact opposite direction of my destination.

You would feel Creation vibrating cellularly and fall so far in love.

I would consciously pilot my own life again.

You would apologize far less often.

I wouldn't care quite as much.

I want to borrow your eyes so I can see me like you see me- so clearly, with wisdom and perspective.

We know the answers to all each others questions, handle each others flaws like diamonds to be held to the light and take care of each other as family.

I want you to love you like I love you. It's a lot, you know. And I know you love me, too, a lot, so I want to love me like you do.

Together, we would understand everything.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Root Deep and Reach Up

When the future is hazy, or completely dark, my imagination jumps in to populate the darkness. Uncertainty breeds anxiety in my rational, list- and plan-making mind, and I deal by indulging in "future building," as Kaitlin and I like to call it (that's where you craft scenarios about the future that may or may not have any basis in reality). There are probably very few people who have never done this. It's natural to look ahead and try to get some kind of purposeful trajectory going.

Then there are times when we simply cannot know what will be revealed when light floods in to illuminate the next chapter (I would argue that we never really know what's to come, but anyway...). In moments like these, when anything is possible, my funny mind populates the uncertain future with monsters, disasters and every fear I've ever secretly held. Or, I choose one possible outcome that seems acceptable and latch on. This limited vision of the truly infinite opportunities that life presents reminds me of an Osho card that I particularly like, Courage:

"The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even believe that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because unknown is the path, nothing is guaranteed...and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. But the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving."

In this seed and sprout story, we are the seeds peering futilely up into the darkness with absolutely no idea that there is something really beautiful to be grown by being willing to take the risk. I have the worst amnesia when it comes to remembering how many times things have worked out more perfectly than I could've planned. Time and time again I have dropped my shell and stretched through the earth to reach something I only knew intuitively. I have quit jobs, bought plane tickets, said yes when no seemed smarter. Was the going always easy? No, not always, but I have always found myself better off for going on the journey.

Today in church the sermon was about how knowing God is like falling in love- there can be hesitancy at first and a desire for some reassurance or proof that this person is real and trustworthy. I think the same can be said for the experience of becoming the flower. As seeds, we have no frame of reference for the Destiny that's written in our DNA. We are destined to become this gorgeous, fully embodied flower. Our choice is in how and when to drop the shell and make the move towards the light.

One night my family went out to falafel and my brother ordered something not on the menu. The cashier couldn't figure out how to ring it up so was about to tell him it couldn't be done when one of the cooks came out. My brother described what he wanted and the guy nonchalantly replied, "Anything is possible." We kind of joke about it, but it's really become a mantra in our house. Practically speaking, it's time to reframe the way we view the unknown. Instead of populating the darkness with our fears, let's choose to identify with that "Anything Is Possible" mentality. Its powerful because it allows life to be as expansive and creative as it naturally is.

When we're in the thick of it, it can be impossible to see anything in the darkness. There is life there, though, and greatness is written into our very makeup. We've all faced the unknown before and been just fine. Make space in your mind for big big big things to happen for you. We have no idea what's possible, so why can't it be something fantastic?