Unfolding Here: advice from people on the road

Greetings from DesMoines, Iowa!

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For the last few days I have been driving across the country with Caroline Catlin.

We’re collecting handwritten pieces of advice from people we meet along the way, because why not?!

unfoldinghere1unfoldinghere2unfoldinghere4You can read more of that advice here and follow along on Instagram.

This mini-project is unfolding into beautiful, face-to-face interconnectivity on the move. I’m grateful for this time to stop and reflect.. and to catch up on episodes of On Being.

In San Francisco I’ll be attending a meet-up of climate activists going to Morocco this November as part of the youth delegation with SustainUS. Then it’s back to the northeast for a few months of coaching rowing at Phillips Exeter before packing up the bicycle and flying to Marrakech.

What piece of advice would you give to your past, present, or future self?

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Rhythm (yes, again)

I have written about rhythm before.

Silence is rhythmic architecture — the places where we build things. Silence is beautiful.

I’m wrestling with a 50,000 word beast and crafting a letter to send to literary agents, yes, but my days in this river town are bookended by sweat: rowing and boxing.

I like working hard and punching the pads of my kick-ass boxing buddy and gliding on the misty morning river. I like it a whole lot.

The sound of my gloves colliding with her pads or her gloves colliding with my pads is not unlike a firework.

This year on New Year’s Eve I embraced my inner nannaish tendencies. I did not go out. I made myself an elaborate meal of veggies dipped in hummus. I wrote three letters to friends back home while listening to episodes of On Being. At midnight I played guitar for no one but myself. I sat on the porch and listened to the sounds of fireworks going off all around. It was a night I loved for its stillness––an evening so still I could see my own reflection.

A few days ago I made a list of things I love. Because, hey, it’s beautiful to be alive. Also, pesto. Nuff said.

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While I was writing this list, the sky was being itself. I love watching the sunset from a porch. Every minute, every moment, was brand new.

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It’s beautiful to be staying still. It’s beautiful to be writing and to be getting those words out into the world.

Three more things happened today:

  1. The piece I wrote for Harvard Magazine went live: http://harvardmagazine.com/2016/01/listening-as-activism

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2. I went live on the air with ABC Darwin (National Radio in Australia) to reflect on the past year & the unfolding mysteries of 2016:

https://soundcloud.com/1057darwin/an-inspiring-2015-the-adventures-of-devi-lockwood 

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Public radio is an intensely intimate experience. I love that about it.

3. I made my favorite recipe in the whole world, Carrot Pie from Mollie Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest––domestic bliss for this little touring cyclist that could.

carrot pie recipe // nut crust recipe

There’s magic in stillness, ya’ll.

And eating is a way of knowing. Listening is a way of knowing. Loving is a kind of surrender.

There is rhythm in motion and there is rhythm in staying still.

So glad to be here on this journey with you. The year is off to a whirlwind of a crazy-gorgeous start.

Love to you,

Devi

 

 

 

Happy Holidays!

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Beautiful people of the Internet,

Sending big love your way from a river town in New Zealand where I am hunkered down for a few months to work on writing a book proposal.

It’s slow going and there are lots of little projects to get out of the way before the nitty gritty book proposal production happens HOWEVER — I am in good company.

I’m housesitting for an ex-Buddhist nun and her petulant cat, Dostoyevsky. I’m blasting Amy Winehouse’s album Frank. It’s the time of night when the sky turns indigo. I’m getting back into the swing of rowing and have been invited to race early on in January. I’m going to spend xmas with one of my favorite families on this island. Strawberries are in season and I’m eating them by the handful. I celebrated the solstice in the company of friends. I ate carrot cake in the shape of the sun. I chased kids around a paddock. The sky was sherbet. My hair smells like woodsmoke.

This time six months ago I welcomed the shortest day of the year in Australia. I gave my friend an asymmetrical haircut, communed with some sassy chickens, rode a penny farthing, learned how to drive a stick shift, and drove this here fine manual truck over a mountain, through lots of muddy puddles, OVER A TREE, and to a waterfall.

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I stalled my parents’ car so many times when I was learning to drive a stick that I thought this day would never come!

Australian mud is red & good.

Safe to say: that winter solstice was one of the butchest days of my life, and also pretty darn wonderful.

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solstice sunset in Canberra, Australia — June 2015

This time last year I was in Tuvalu, finding the groove of living on a small island, and about to celebrate a very Tuvaluan Christmas.

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Tuvalu Blue (Funafuti) — December 2014 

In other news:

I have an article that TERRIFIES ME TO SHARE (embrace the vulnerability, yep) coming out between xmas and new years,

— you guys you guys it’s for Buzzfeed! More on that soon —

… plus a photo feature on the way for a digital mag. Ohhhhhhgoodness get to work Devi, there are deadlines to meet!

So many things make my heart sing.

Merry, merry.

This has been the year of the bike.

Hugs to you and yours.

xo

P.S. Sign up for my email list, you know you wanna: http://eepurl.com/bKRzKH

P.P.S. If you want to make all my holiday wishes come true, here’s my Patreon:  http://patreon.com/devi_lockwood  

“Welcome Home”

Hey lovelies,

I’m back in a river town that feels like home
and will be hibernating for a spell
while I plant my roots
and let them grow.

Three people have said: “Welcome home.”

It sure feels that way.

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I love it here.

After a year and a half without touching an oar, I’m getting back into rowing and will be racing in a single, double, and possibly a quad in early January––yahoo! I’m falling in love with this sport all over again.

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On the afternoons when I don’t row, a friend is taking me along to her boxing classes. Old and new movements all at once. This is good. Every punch has a number. More on this later.

In the meantime, I’m starting an email list so that you can stay up do date with my ish.

I’ll whisper sweet somethings to your inbox every so often.

Won’t you join?

http://eepurl.com/bKRzKH

As always, you can support my work on Patreon: http://patreon.com/devi_lockwood  

and read more of what I have written here: http://devi-lockwood.com/read-listen

and here’s that email list sign-up once more: http://eepurl.com/bKRzKH

Arohanui,
Devi

 

Moving Slowly

So I didn’t tell you all that I had a foot injury a couple of weeks back.

The hard work of healing is intensely private for me, and grappling with this blog being a public space + me being an (at times) intensely private person is… intense/difficult/beautiful. Many things at once.

How said injury happened:

A metal bar that was propping up my friend’s garage door in New Plymouth fell on my foot.

Rest, ice, compression, elevation.

I was not ready to stop cycling. But my body needed to heal.

I navigated the NZ health care system, got an x-ray, and consulted with the doc, who commended me for having the courage to follow my own path and do this trip. She doubles as a life coach from Texas.

All was good. No fractures. No fissures. No breaks.

Just a bruise. A big, fat sunset bruise on top of my foot that needed to set through the rainbow of its colors before I could exert myself again.

I wore a moon boot for days.

I’m not going to lie. Being injured, not cycling every kilometer, felt like a failure.

Which of course it is not.

This is my year. I make up the rules.

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I’m realizing that injuries have a lot to teach me.

I tore my ACL in 2012 playing pick-up soccer in Argentina.

And it was only in moving slowly that I was forced to occupy my body again, in a different way. I couldn’t row for a semester. I was out of running for the top boats and hardly raced that spring. This fact gutted me. Who was I without an oar between my hands?

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that’s me in two seat

 

After I re-learned how to walk (the right quad atrophied a hell of a lot), paid daily homage to the physical therapy gods (thanks, Niki, for putting up with me at my mopiest), made many loaves of bread in the cooperative house where I lived with 32 undergrads (the cleaning and bigger cooking chores were too strenuous, but the bread grew slowly and needed its own time to rise––perfect), and shed my share of tears (salty bread, anyone?)… cycling was the first activity I was able to do again, the first thing that got my heart-rate up.

I could bike to class. I could bike to physical therapy. I could bike to the river and sit and watch the water go by.

I felt free.

And then I dreamed up the bike trip that was the predecessor to this one.

So, hey, scar-from-the-scalpel on my knee. You’re beautiful. And look how far we’ve come.

~

If you’re injured, or recovering from surgery, and it feels like hell —- keep up with the hard work of recovery.

Be gentle with yourself.

The intense pain is temporary. You’ll arrive at a place because of it that you didn’t know existed. And it will be beautiful in its unpredictability.

Keep doing those silly little exercises. Pursue balance but not perfection.

Yes, I struggle at times. Sometimes I hate my knee. But those times are fewer and farther in between.

Take out your pain and look at it.

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When everything felt stable enough to dance again, that’s when I knew I was back in my body.

Patience. Something like that.

Yes, my knee sometimes hurts. It’s generally when I haven’t warmed up or stretched properly or when it’s about to rain.

My body is a rain diviner, how cool is that?

No but really.

 

And the fact that I slowed down early this month for my foot-bruise to heal meant that I hitched a ride to Whanganui (a small town I might otherwise have bypassed) with a friendly Australian couple and their cute-as-a-button three year old who kept correcting my pronunciation of Australia (“It’s ‘straya, not Australia. Mummy, that girl isn’t saying ‘straya right!”).

And here I am, cycling from place to place in Whanganui but mostly staying still for upwards of a week. Lovely people keep taking me in.

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And what a week it has been.

(not pictured: copious amounts of fresh veggies from the garden, a wall of postcards, an elaborate recycling scheme, many newspaper clippings, two walls covered with tiny spoons from around the world)

 

 

 

 

I danced with One Billion Rising on Feb. 14.

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This Valentine’s Day kicks last V-day’s butt, during which my then-girlfriend and I threw emotional slingshots at each other.

What beautiful distance a year can bring.

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Have I mentioned that I love being single and fabulous?

Being centered in my vulnerability.

Being centered in myself.

But more will come in another post, because this one feels full as it is.

tl;dr MOVING SLOWLY HAS ITS BENEFITS, YA’LL

Now I just need to get my butt to Wellington to get a few more months on my visa.

Burritos, Chaos, and Round Windows

Christina and I sit across from one another in chairs affixed to concrete above the Bay, cradling warmish halves of a burrito between our hands. The night is calm and alight, buzzing with an energy that makes me never want to leave this city. If I didn’t have a flight in four days to Fiji, I probably wouldn’t go. Programmed light bulbs on the spires of the Bay Bridge dance in waves from left to right, whispering in my ear: Stay. Just stay.

baybridge“YEAH, GIANTS!!!!!!!!” someone screams from the moon roof of a passing car, their orange foam finger waving in the air.

We laugh. A drunk San Franciscan stumbles by and sees my sign perched on the edge of the chair: tell me a story about water. He mumbles with a mouth full of spittle: “Is that for the Giants?”

“Yes. Unequivocally yes.”

“World series, here we come!” Christina chimes.

I take a bite and let rice and red beans and avocado meld in my mouth. This burrito has ruined all future burritos for me (thanks, burrito). The flavor is chaotic and free. I feel so alive.

A grease stain from the bag of tortilla chips that came with the burritos marks my “tell me a story about water” sign, oblong and unapologetic just below the letter T.

~

Christina picks me up in her Prius outside of the UCSF library where I had hunkered down for an afternoon of writing. Though I love the act of meeting new people and listening, just listening, I get exhausted from constant conversation. Writing without interruption is a refuge.

I was an endurance athlete in college, and apparently that side of my character permeated the design of this trip. Just. Keep. Going (but remember to rest and recharge).

I have lost track of the number of times I introduce myself in a day.

“What is that sign all about?” it begins. I have a short version, medium version, and long version of my life story to share with anyone who asks.

The medical books in the library lend me their quiet. I open one on brain aneurism surgery and quietly close it, nauseated. Another book shows me the diagram of the inside of a human ear. There exists a membrane called the round window that vibrates with opposite phase to vibrations entering the inner ear. The round window allows fluid in the snail-shaped tube (the cochlea) to move. This movement generates pressure waves in the fluid, ensuring that hair cells of the basilar membrane are stimulated. The hair cells connect to a neuron that translates the bending motion into a signal that enters the brain. Brilliant.

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Silence can be self-care.

~

Christina opens the car door from the inside and welcomes me into her life with the whole of her smile and a big hug. Though we are both part of an online community of women writers that started back in July, we have yet to meet in person. Christina saw on Facebook that I was passing through San Francisco and offered to get dinner and chat. I am so glad that I said yes.

Her voice is a duvet cover. Soft. Present. A balm to my fatigue.

“So where do you want to go eat?” she asks.

“I’ve heard that the burritos here are something else.”

“Then we’ll get burritos. There are two great taquerías in the Mission,” she explains, “and they’re just around the corner from each other. What do you say we do a taste test?”

The Prius is eerily quiet at stoplights. The car could be dead but for our voices. I can see how many miles per gallon we earn on the dash. Thirty-four on the straightaway. Ninety-nine on the downhill. We speed through the city, crisp and efficient.

Minutes in to our conversation, it is a relief not to censor myself: “I don’t know if this is TMI, but…” I begin.

Christina butts in: “There is no such thing as TMI here.”

That’s when I know I have found a friend.

Our conversation spreads from the car’s interior to the sidewalk as we catch up on each other’s lives––the small stories that have brought us to this precise moment. Our families. Our earliest memories. The things we love.

“So you were a dancer, right?” she says.

“How did you know?”

She cites Facebook pictures in which I have my hands up in a particularly dancer-like pose.

 

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Ok—I guess it’s pretty obvious.

We both grew up dancing. We rowed in college. We are fascinated with the idea of flow in movement. We reject settling down and settling for less than the best in relationships. We are 25 years apart in age but none of that matters. We remember the freedom of learning to ride a bike. We love the feeling of San Francisco’s hills in our legs.

Errant, elated cars honk and bleat as they pass behind us.

The bay water laps itself free.