gwen learns

I finally found it.

Posted in gwen learns by gwenlearns on March 10, 2013

Well it finally happened.

And let me tell you, it doesn’t feel like I thought it would feel.

I thought it would feel like being cured from blindness. A perpetual high. And that bubbling over with joy and rainbows sort of feeling… all the time.

But it’s not like that at all.

I just feel content. Grateful. In tune. In stride.  Fewer thrills and chills. More peace and centeredness.

I finally found what I love to do. Three months ago, I walked into a room full of people like me.  Creators, perfectionists, dreamers, difference-makers.  And a good dose of introverts!  Yay. And then someone handed each of us a set of knives.  And we learned how to cut mirepoix without losing fingers. Eventually that mirepoix went into a pot, and we learned how to cook.

And… a couple months from now, people will call us chefs.

And I’m loving it.

Screen shot 2013-03-10 at 12.15.54 AMI’m still trying to sort out how I got here. Slowly discovering foreshadows in my story, but it still feels a bit random. I wish I could draw a map everyone could follow to this kind of contentment.



Posted in gwen learns by gwenlearns on May 8, 2012

Tonight I write in a quiet apartment. I can hear the sounds of the AC unit and the fridge’s cooling system, and the occasional car with a messed-up exhaust. As much as I love sitting with the sounds of a good folk song or an acapella choir, nothing can match silence for me. Even in the car… lately I’ve not wanted to turn my car into a karaoke machine or even have the windows down. I don’t feel free. I feel trapped, and my way to survive is to just drive and think.

Yesterday I was in another world. The world of kids yelling and laughing and tumbling. The world of a million questions directed to me. I had a three-day glimpse into the world of motherhood. And I loved it. Even though I broke down to tears in a Target aisle as kids bolted off in all directions. Even though I didn’t have silence, or much thinking time, or time to figure out who I was.

I am a mother. It’s one of my destinies, whether if its with children of my own or not. One of my callings is to be a mother. I am sure of that now.

oh… happy day?

Posted in gwen learns by gwenlearns on April 26, 2011

Of all of the emotions that I could feel, there is one that I don’t trust, and it’s… happiness.

Whenever I’m talking to someone who is demonstrably happy, I have this knee-jerk reaction of… “they’re naive” or “they’re just dismissing or ignoring the brokenness in this world.”  Generally, I try to be empathetic and enter into their enthusiasm, but every once in a while, I find myself annoyed when someone is too happy.  I’m thinking… “okay, just settle down.”

Recently, it’s an emotion I’ve been feeling, and I do not know what to do with it.  It’s been a while.

So what do you do with happiness?  Do you just let it loose and have a mad party of expressing yourself, not caring if people are starting to think “what is up with that person?”  Do you express it in private, respecting those people who aren’t feeling so happy?  Do you direct it somewhere, focus your enthusiasm toward something you care about?  Do you hold it in, save it for a rainy day, if that’s possible?  I really am baffled.


Posted in gwen learns by gwenlearns on March 31, 2011

I find it strange how much can be wrapped up in something so small.  How one minute, a little 4 year old can be stealing a pack of gum from the grocery store and refusing to take it back or apologize, and the next minute flashing a smile like this.

The other thing I can’t understand is how some people have all the odds stacked against them, but somehow they find a way through.  I have very few obstacles in my way, in fact, I have more opportunities than I know what to do with… and I’m stuck in survival mode.

I’m always asking God why he went ahead with this whole earth experiment.  I feel like I’ve gotten pieces of an answer, but none of them seem to fit together.  And then I find this picture on my phone, and at least for a second, I think… he’s GOD.  He did go ahead with this.  It’s not all falling apart… there’s beauty to be found.  And somehow, I’m grateful that I’m here, whatever the answer to that question is.


Posted in gwen learns by gwenlearns on March 30, 2011

Today… I’m finally going to charge my ipod.  I’m going to walk around my neighborhood as if it’s that scene in my “based on a true story” movie where I’m making up my mind, where the 180, the clarity, the purpose of my life is suddenly right in front of me, and I at least know what the next step is going to be.   It’s amazing what a folk song can do.

It’s silly things like these that I do to force myself into an awakening.   But I am feeling the need to hit the reset button.  It’s been a while, and I’m trying not to take it lightly.

Step number one –after the epic “a-ha” moment with the ipod, of course– is to write more.  I like this blog setup I have here because it’s simple… no hiding behind decorations… just words.  Coming up with something to say is productive, an idea that I got from Donald Miller’s blog.  And my reset is mostly about producing more and consuming less.

So we’ll see how this goes.

part 2: why you are the blue sky

Posted in gwen learns by gwenlearns on April 8, 2010

Dear John,

If I’m a cloud, you are the blue sky.  Because most the time I feel like an alien, and it feels good to be at home.  Though somehow I’ve chosen not to stay.

The first impression we get from you is that you’re simple.  We see one color and cast you as the passive, background character.  But as soon as we have you in a box, you show us a part of yourself that’s outside.  We’ve created horizons because we can’t handle infinity.

I’ve watched several storms from airplanes.  Each time, I remember looking up and then noticing how all the fury below had no effect on the sky above… how each storm seemed kind of small, kind of silly next to the vast stretch of silence above it.  Your color is calm and cool, and shade-shifts by fractions.  While the clouds and sun rush around you, you just watch, a careful observer, taking so much in, but only giving us blue.

Or at least that’s what we think at first.  When the sun and the clouds get out of the way, when they stop trying to make their mark on the world, the blue sky goes dark and deep and shows us the universe.  Or at least you tease us with some of it, enough little twinkly specks to make us realize you’re no longer the one-note, flat character in the movie of our lives.  And when we learn that those little specks of insight are actually larger ideas buried deep in the cosmos, we want to give you the starring role, take a full-fledged exploration of your brain “magic school bus“-style.  But of course science hasn’t advanced far enough for us to meet this desire.

I wonder what you have to offer the world.  I want to bound the sky, say “these are your parameters, this is where you fit”… but you’re not that simple.  I want to help you find that one thing that you’re made to do, but again, I can only see so far into the universe you’re keeping inside your head, so that journey’s mostly yours to take.

I didn’t think I could separate from you.  I belonged there… you calmed me, never rushed me, you let me be a cloud everyday of the week… you’re the only person that doesn’t make me feel like I’m a problem to be fixed.

But there’s something missing.  Something related to both our futures being so undefined.  Something telling me we want different things.  Something telling me I’m still not sure.  Something as undefinable as yourself, but still there.  I want to ignore it.  Mathematicians know that as sound and as elegant a theory seems to be, if one piece of information proves it untrue, they have to accept the whole thing as untrue.  So I feel forced into this, accepting a truth that hurts.

So this cloud is floating low, trying to keep her distance, trying to find her shape.  Far from home, but somehow in the right place.

part 1: I am a cloud.

Posted in gwen learns by gwenlearns on March 22, 2010

I like to have theories about things. I especially like to have theories about people.  Lately I’ve been comparing people to the sun and the clouds.  Sun people and cloud people.

Sun people are reliable.  They’re the ones who say they’re going to show up at 7 AM and they do.   You just don’t question whether or not the sun will rise.  It’ll always be there.  They have a clear sense of who they are.  We never see a cube or a cylinder, but always our sphere of light rolling through the sky.  They have a lot to offer.  The sun gives off this energy that allows plants to go through photosynthesis, which allows us to breathe in oxygen.  They slave away, portion out their time between the hemispheres, and they make quite a difference in the world….  I used to think I could be a sun person.  I also used to think that Arizona, a place where the sun always shines, was paradise.  But I’ve learned that the sun can be demanding, over-bearing.  It can blind you, wear you down.  It can burn.

I’m an unmistakable cloud.  Clouds don’t always show up, they’re not the most reliable.  Even little kids understand their loose identity when they point out the different shapes in the sky.  They leave behind floods and blizzards… a trail of destruction… But they have a good side too.  In Arizona, I’ve learned that when the clouds show up, often you get a “stop-the-car-and-stare” kind of sunset.  They can take something as unoriginal and ancient as light and give us a new shade of pink.  It doesn’t always work out that way, they’re not a predictable, scheduled formula, but they are capable of magic.

So I’m hoping that’s the case with me.  Hoping I can develop the “cloud person” in me and work some magic.