23 May 2012

What I Needed to Hear Tonight

There are dangers all around. Some of you may say, "If things get really tough, we will move here, or we will move back there, and then we will be safe; everything will be all right there." If you do not fix it so that you are safe and in good company when you are alone, or when you are with your own husband or your own wife and your own children, you will not be safe or find happiness anywhere. There is no such thing as geographical security.
Boyd K. Packer

Hmmm.... this is so typical of me. And it's just what I've been doing. Trying to decide where it is that I should be, which location will make me happiest--because none of them seem correct right now. Where am I needed? Where will I be closest to my family? Where will I find a job that I enjoy? Basically I keep trying to do what feels right and since I'm in a new city, it's easy for me to ask myself what that really is, and if I made the right choice (and of course it's too early to tell). I adapt so easily though that it doesn't really matter; it will take a few weeks for me to feel at home. But as far as my outlook on the future goes, I really needed to hear this. I don't have a true home in my heart right now. This is my priority. To build that home in my heart, no matter who I'm around, no matter where geographically I am; I must take that happiness and confidence with me wherever I am.

No more of this deep sea diving with the dark creatures, no more flying with Icarus too close to that fiery star... I shall stroke on higher waters and float, gazing heavenward. My purpose is to adapt. My goal is consistency.

 (Lake Michigan... akin to my beloved Pacific)


:)  Happy to be getting back to this place:

Originally published as a Facebook note on
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Changing (or Not)

You may put “Gabriel’s Oboe” (either or both versions) on repeat, if you choose to read this.

I am writing right now about…
about who I am. About things I believe in.
I am entirely unsure about what will come out of this heart through my little hands and a softly tapping keyboard onto a white page. It will surely be filled with side-notes of music I am hearing, words spoken by others, and feelings given to me. Without further ado…. myself.

I’m already off to a bad start, because I have no idea what to say. If I just force myself to write, something may eventually come of it… at least I can hope. I am listening to “Gabriel’s Oboe,” composed, I can only think by inspiration, by Ennio Morricone for the film The Mission, which I have not seen. This song is … an influence to say the least. It most likely will be the one to accompany me through this journey of words. I believe that music can motivate. I believe that music can manifest soul. I believe that listening to music can be a spiritual experience, as it is for me at this moment.

I know that for some reason, I am crazy happy right now, and have been for a long time. It’s a … really good feeling. And it comes from inside, so I know it’s not circumstance. And I don’t have this much power, so I know it’s not from me. I know what it’s from. It has been a beautiful road, defining this feeling and how it is captured by myself. Maybe I’ll finish my poem about it one day. I have described it as a “chill without chill,” an unfolding of wings, a static that is almost tangible hovering around my chest and arms and back, at its strongest point expanding through every part of me. Beyond mere emotion. An answer without a question. Weeping without sadness. A very present feeling of being held… in a way that surpasses so totally any mortal ability. A brightness in the eyes. I couldn’t say what I’ve done to deserve this feeling so acutely and so frequently, but I am humbled. I hope it is somehow felt by those around me, because this fine matter cannot be contained by a mere membrane, and becomes an electric charge outside my flesh. I cannot do it justice. This … energy that could lift me up off my very feet and carry me to the heavens. The last year has taught me patience, humility, spontaneity, understanding, love… forget it, the list is too long.

Since the beginning of this semester, to a much greater degree than ever before… I have found it possible to find beauty in everything. It is incredible. Everything. I feel so inspired, ten times over, by a walk home from campus. If I stopped every time I saw something that inspired me, something I wanted to photograph, something beautiful… it would take me a year to reach the front door. If I could record every August Rush moment I had… I would have the best symphony of discovery ever created. As I have said before, the request/command/advice to “pray always” is attainable. I make every appreciative glance, every satisfied moment in my eardrum, and that same swelling in my heart, a prayer of thanks.

As for changing…. In the past two years I’ve been trying to figure out … well, who I am or who I’m going to be or something. Aware of it at times, and not at others, I seemed to juggle myself between two identities. Neither was satisfied with herself. Each thought that she would be happy as the other… an interesting experience. Am I now the third outwardly observing the others? I couldn’t tell you… but an amazing change, or lack of change, has happened within, and it is beautiful to me. I can’t even describe this. I can just be… happy. Wherever, whatever I am. I think it first became apparent to me, when I didn’t feel a frantic need to return to California. I am happy here. Of course, I love my ocean; that is a part of my soul like anything else. I love my friends and family. But… I am not returning to find myself. I do not return to complete myself because I am.  …I am complete.

Reading past journal entries, I am sad to see my past inconsistencies (consistent inconsistencies), and how they have hurt others, and myself. So I gave up the battle. And once these two shell-halves had nothing to fight about, they fell like loosened crystals and left… me. In whom the unfolding of wings and body-encasing static and defying of gravity is finally effective. Joy. It comes in waves. I like to tell Father that I miss his hugs, because it’s true, and when he hears that he sends them anyway, and it’s almost as good as before. Happiness is not a destination. Happiness became the road. I don’t know how else to describe it. I’m not worried. I have been told so many times, particularly in the past few months, that everything is going to be alright. In every situation and question, in every moment of hope. It’s not even just that … it’s not just going to be alright. It’s going to be so perfectly, beautifully, “Gabriel’s Oboe” happy. Because I’m just me. And there’s nothing between that person and the Fifth Element laser-beam that heaven is sending down to me, the one that causes an explosive burst inside. Can you see it in my eyes? That is where my soul announces itself. Or maybe in these words. And these feelings…. Are these feelings that any mortal being could possibly experience? No. All things in my nature and all nature would shout “no!” There is so much more to existence. This expansion of my soul can only be reached through a great stretching of my arm, to a past time, to something so far back in my memory…. He granted remembrance… Thank you God. I have reason.

The opportunity to hear Terryl Givens speak at forum on Thursday was an incomparable blessing. He spoke truth. Pure truth. And I know that because the truth-witness was there to witness, and He fulfilled that most important duty. Beautiful words from William Rounseville Alger:

"The fragmentary visions, broken snatches, mystic strains, incongruous thoughts, fading gleams, with which imperfect recollection comes laden from our childish years and our nightly dreams, are referred to some earlier and nobler existence. We solve the mysteries of experience by calling them the veiled vestiges of a bright life departed, pathetic waifs drifted to these intellectual shores over the surge of feeling from the wrecked orb of an anterior existence. It gratifies our pride to think the soul "a star-travelled stranger," a disguised prince, who has passingly alighted on this globe in his eternal wanderings. The gorgeous glimpses of truth and beauty here vouchsafed to genius, the wondrous strains of feeling that haunt the soul in tender hours, are feeble reminiscences of the prerogatives we enjoyed in those eons when we trod the planets that sail around the upper world of the gods."

And indeed, men are princes, who have passingly alighted on this globe in their eternal wanderings.

And for those I knew in that time, that time of trodding the planets in that upper world, our spiritual bond is undeniable, and I love you. As Tennyson, I could say: “So, friend, when I first looked upon your face, our thoughts gave answer each to each. Opposed mirrors each reflecting each, although I knew not in what time or place, methought that I had often met with you, and each had lived in other's mind and speech.”

You know who you are.

Thank God, thank you Father, for some memories made manifest, for another soul’s hand to hold, for guidance and beauty, for things to be thankful for. Thank you for helping me to leave the path to happiness, and leading me down the path of happiness. The amount of love that I possess, that regenerating love, which I will never call “drained” again, is uncalculated and beyond infinite. It truly surpasses mortality. Thank you.

And, Daddy… I miss your hugs.

∞ a star-travelled stranger

21 May 2012

Historical Nauvoo

“Patience is heavenly, obedience is noble, forgiveness is merciful, and exaltation is godly; and he that holds out faithful to the end shall in no wise lose his reward.  A good man will endure all things to honor Christ, and even dispose of the whole world, and all in it, to save his soul.” [Joseph Smith, Jr. and Hyrum Smith, 1844]

This is a beautiful place.

It is an honor to stand in this place, where so many sacrificed and left behind those things that were dearest to them. Many of them "endured all things."

And... in that spirit... or not... here is a video of me beating a little boy at a bear-racing-up-the-string competition. I'm totally making these for my kids. I stayed there for like 20 min. racing this kid.

17 May 2012

Something to say?

You can bend my ear. We can talk all day. Just make sure I'm around when you finally have something to say.

10 May 2012

This is an echo. This is the glory. This is the pounding of a midnight heart.

This is a hammer.
this is a hymn.
This is a match to a ball of lies.
This is the blade.
This is the beauty.
These are the stars raining down from the sky

This is the light that shines and I can see the pines are dancing.
This is the leaving of another love.
This is the howling at the moon.
These are the arms you fell into.
I am a fire and I must burn today.

This is an echo.
This is the Glory.
This is the pounding of a midnight heart
This is the mountains.
This is the lightning.
This is the man pulling on his iron chains.

This is the light that shines and I can see the pines are dancing.
This is the leaving of another love.
This is the howling at the moon.
These are the arms you fell into.
I am a fire and I must burn today.

[A.A. Bondy]

05 May 2012

Fake Polaroids

YOU SUCK. I hate it when people make fake Polaroids. It's so stupid. If you want a Polaroid, buy yourself a camera and spend a million dollars on film and take the ONE SHOT that can't be reproduced digitally a million times, like I have. That's why it's special. If you didn't take it and sit and enjoy the magic of watching it develop before your eyes, then you're missing the whole point. It's not special because of the little white box around it. That's simply a marker of its identity. Next person who makes a fake polaroid gets punched in the face.

Sincerely, Laurel

01 May 2012

Idaho to Chicago to Poland to Germany to Denmark

OKAY I'm back from Europe... I meant to keep a very faithful travel journal, but it didn't happen. All that time riding on trains and it didn't happen... Everything was beautiful. A bit cold, but still lovely.

I started in Gdańsk, because I had never lived there while I was on my mission, and I'd heard so much about it. [can I add a random insert about myself: if I made a typo 10 words back, I will push the Backspace button until I reach it, rather than just using my mouse to click it. That seems really inefficient. I promise I'm usually really efficient] <--Now, the reason I did not put the period after the brackets is that it technically isn't related to the previous sentence. Clearly. And that's why they're brackets and not parenthesis.

Anyway. My favorite thing about flying away from Copenhagen was looking down at the patchwork of farms and seeing the tiny salt-and-pepper specks of sheep grazing below on their green canvases.

It's a beautiful world.

I also loved looking out the windows of the train between Gdańsk and Warsaw, Warsaw and Katowice, while we passed the farmland. There isn't much to do out there, so parents have memorized the train schedule, and they come and sit on the sidelines with their little kids, who frantically wave at the passing hulk of metal. I wave back.

I feel very at home in Europe, but it's nice to be back in America as well. Then again, I've barely lived in Chicago for a day, so I wouldn't feel right about calling it home yet. I do, however, love my neighborhood and my oldstyle apartment. It's good to be here.

Well, I had better get to work. Welcome home, Chiiiiitown!