Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I'm wearing shorts today (long ones) even though it's not set to get above 50 degrees (but still, really warm compared to how it has been!)

I was talking the other day about how I wear sleeveless shirts as soon as possible, and all summer. I can't stand to be wearing more clothing than is necessary. But, actually, layers are okay, it's just that I want as much of my skin as possible to be in contact with the sun, the air, the world I"m moving in, as possible.

I don't think I can say the same of my soul. I don't notice it prodding me to be more open - to let as much as possible of the world touch me

Though I would like to be like that. (I think)

Could I walk around the world with the same awareness of my spirit that I have of my skin? - what is touching it? hot, warm, cold, breezes, other people? What would that be like?

Right Being

So, the whole John Woolman question, how to live a "righteous" life, without becoming "self-righteous"

I feel like my head often spins, and I wonder if his would (I think so) with all the considerations going into living rightly. I don't think I could even list the things to be boycotted these days. Maybe he had such considerations, but from so many years later it seems like "sugar and indigo? piece of cake!!!"

Walk into any large grocery store (where most people shop) and I would guess that pretty much NOTHING in there would pass a woolman-esque test of moral acceptability. Pesticides, fossil fuel transportation, chemical ingredients, exploited labor, rainforest devastation. It would be interesting to attempt to find 5 items at my local "Rainbow" that wouldn't incite at least one of these concerns.

I bike rather than driving, and on a used bike (which bypasses the "made in Taiwan" problem - which even US-made bikes have, because their parts are made elsewhere) but I use grease and plastic to keep it going. I have pretty much no clue about the implications, but I know it's not compltely "pure"

I buy almost all of my food at a co-op, keeping a special eye out for processed foods with brand names that have continued to elude Phillip Morris and the other two or three companies that own almost all food production. In the summer I join a CSA, and try to grow a few (very few!) things myself. But living in Minnesota, local produce is at best a half-year proposition. (or should I try to set up a root cellar and keep apples and potatoes and carrots enough to last til spring? I could, but the thought is not appealing) I could stop eating processed and packaged food altogether (I'm sure it's possible, but I can't imagine it)

My sweetie has a car, and I am ashamed to say I often encourage driving (when I'm very lazy or want to go somewhere far away) We try to buy gas at Citgo, which is Venezuelan oil, but it's still gas, and we still run the risk of killing squirrels or cats (or even humans) every time we drive.

I've taken the plane more lately. I went a good 5 years without doing so, I think. I love the train, but it often costs more than flying, even if you don't include the extra days off work. And what damage do trains do? Much less than planes, but still......

I love chocolate, and try to eat mostly fair trade, but reese's peanut butter eggs can suck me in pretty easily.

And, what's more, what is the point????

I can tend to want to be "pure" - I've been a vegetarian for years, and started wearing leather again a few years ago partially to "de-purify" myself and partially for the practical reason that a pair of leather shoes that will last a good long time might do less damage overall (even though their production is generally pretty darn eco-unfriendly) than the 4 pairs of synthetic shoes I might buy in the same time period. (I bought a pair of new leather hiking boots in 2000, and a pair of used leather high-top shoes the next year, I don't forsee having to buy more shoes any time soon. ) I still won't buy leather sandals, because there doesnt' seem to be any reason (they don't wear better than my chacos) and have settled, in future, on only buying leather (and wool) used, which for me is the perfect solution - as it keeps me from getting into my almost ocd animal-free-ness, while not actually financially supporting an industry I can't morally support (It does, however, depend on my fellow american's lack of concern on this issue and general overconsumption, another imperfection in my plan)

And, I think of all the quaker discussion about simplicity being about God's will, and not some random asceticism. At the same time, for me, doing the most ethical thing that you can manage in any given situation is inseperable from doing god's will. It's not just related, it's inextricable.

"I care nothing for a man's religion, whose dog is not the better for it" - was that Mark Twain??? A great quaker spiritual leader, I know, but it's true, as far as I can see.

Carl mentioned on his blog the idea of Community as Green Technology, and a spiritual community committed to right action. The image excites something in me. I wonder if there are enough quakers called to something radically different from mainstream society, and similar enough to each other's visions, to carve something like that out? or a few somethings?


Friday, March 24, 2006

Mourning, but at peace

Liz wrote a beautiful memorial to Barbara Greenler, a beloved member of our Northern Yearly Meeting community, and Nightengales, who died recently.

It is a great loss, I think, to our community and to her large beloved family.

She in my small experience always a joyful, fun, calm, centered, wise presence, and I miss her very much.

And yet I'm not grieving, as I have so much lately. If I set out to live a life that would let me die satisfied and at peace with myself and the world, it might look much like Barbara's. I regret nothing on her behalf, except that we missed out on more years together.

It's a very quiet sadness.

(and, let me note here, because it has come up, that her family welcomes cards and prayers, but is not ready for phone calls or visits at this time)

Speaking of God - words and labels

I wrote this title, and apparently nothing else, almost a month ago. What did I mean to write about?

Liz and I got together to last night to have a sort of in-person hashing out of some of these conservative/liberal/what are we called to as quakers? conversations in person. I was really glad we did it.

One thing that came up a LOT for me was the frustration I feel that I feel like I hear people say "we need to go deeper in our quakerism / spirituality" (which intrigues me) but then seemingly (to me) end up doing a very SHALLOW evaluation that tends to assume that christians have a deep spirituality and atheists have no spirituality. (an oversimplification, but one which I hope makes a point)

I think that the answers that you get when you ask "what is it like, being an atheist quakers?" or, "what is it like, being a christian quaker?" are much more intresting (assuming the person, regardless of doctrinal beliefs, is willing to "go deep") than the label we slap on ourselves.

I found when I first came out as a lesbian, I fit most people's stereotypes, and after hearing so much "ALL lesbians are vegetarians", "ALL lesbians don't wear makeup", "ALL lesbians are hippie radical feminists" I was SO excited! Wow! I've found my tribe!

Ha ha, it was not so (alas??) it's not true (!), and I find that of all the labels I regularly slap on myself, lesbian is one that I am least likely to try to build community around (quaker, animal rights activist, co-opper, green, are some that can work pretty well; east coaster, female, lesbian, vegetarian, Italian, atheist, are some that are almost entirely useless)

And, so I guess I've been wondering, and somewhat antagonistic, about what words are important here?

I find myself baffled when I, who have trouble labelling my spirituality, other than "quaker" (I'm atheist but not, pagan but not, even christian but not) but easily and fundamentally identify as an ardent spiritual seeker, feel dismissed by those who crave deepening (which I crave as well) because certain words don't come into my articulation of what that deepening is like for me.

What Would John Woolman Do?

I want to write more about this, but seem to have a block, perhaps getting something else out there will help

I read this question on the Earth Quaker's site (still can't make links, but there's one in my sidebar)

I keep trying to think of the phrase for this - like "right livelihood" (but not just about working for money) or "right action" (though that just sounds odd, and reminds me of "Do the Right Thing" - which is a movie I appreciate quite a bit, but if it ties into quaker faith, the connection happens somewhere over my head)

I think about it mostly, I guess, as those times (ALL those times!) that we are faced with decisions (and aware enough to see them) between what's easiest or most fun, or most convenient for us at the moment

Thursday, March 23, 2006

And Countries

create your own visited countries map

I think this is funny cause I get credit for all of Russia, which is HUGE, because I spent 4 days in Leningrad in 1989. Tis' quite a distorted picture.'

So, since it's almost impossible to tell, I have been to:

* The US, where I was born and currently live.

* Canada, a business trip of my Dad's to Quebec when I was little. Amazingly enough, I've lived in a state that borders Canada for 19 years now, and I haven't visited since then. (Though my ex and I drove to the border once, but I didn't have ID on me and was worried they wouldn't let me back in - we werne't going to Canada, we were being random, so it wasnt' a huge loss)

* Italy - my first time "abroad" I went on a summer trip with a bunch of priviliged US kids when I was 16 (me and this guy from Iowa had "scholarships" but the rest were just rich. I think that was similarly culture-shocky for me to being in a country with a different language) I was there 6 weeks. I also went back through after my junior year semester in Norway, and visited the town in Sicily where my grandfather was born, among other things.

* Belgium - shoudln't really count it, we flew through on the way to Italy

* Norway - my junior year semester abroad thing was in Oslo, an excellent city. It's warmer there than in Minnesota, which surprised me because it's way farther north, but the jetstream or whatever, you know.

* Sweden - we did this field trip to other "scandinavian capitals" I loved the community gardens in stockholm, and the city in general

* Russia - the USSR then. The second city on our trip was Leningrad. This was maybe October of 1989, everything changed a lot right after we were there. It was very grey, and I felt like I didn't get to see much (you had to have a guide with you, and the people I was with were mostly disdainful americans)

* Finland - next was Helsinki, which I don't remember very well, except the big wool handknit socks I bought at the pier and never wore for years. Now I wear them all the time.

* Denmark - I was super into the ice cream and bicycling in Copenhagen.

* Germany - A really good friend from high school lives there with his wife. in 1989 they were just dating, and living in the US, but home in Cologne for christmas, so I stopped and spent some time with them.

* Switzerland - I spent a day in Luzern on my way to Italy, and loved it. I met up with a friend in Italy, and we decided to spend xmas in Luzern - arriving there the night of the 24th with money from the US, Britain, Italy, Norway, Germany in our pockets, but only about 50 cents worth of swiss francs. Who would have thought you couldnt' change money in the Venice train station??? I'm sort of sad about the euro, but it would have been handy then. These two young women from Argentina rescued us and lent us bus fare to ride to the hostel with them (we didn't really know where it was either) It's still probably my favorite xmas ever, because it was so low-pressure. We didn't get each other presents, spent the day watching kids try out their new trikes by the lake, and ate dinner in the train station (they only place we could find open)

* Holland - another sort of cheat. I took the boat to England from Rotterdam.

* UK - my last stop on that last tour of europe. I stayed with a guy on whom I had had an INTENSE crush 4 years earlier and his fiancee. It was great, and awkward. It was so weird to be in a place where they spoke english for the first time in 4 months, but they weren't speaking it "quite right"

*Guatemala - I decided I needed to travel again last year, and took myself off to Guatemala for 9 days to study spanish and have an adventure. There were all sorts of scary travel warnings, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't come back alive (worrier that I am) but it was overall an awesome trip.

*Mexico - Just about a month ago, my sweetie and I returned from a week in Cancun. Well, not Cancun, Tulum, which is about the closest town that's near the beach and not freakishly touristy. (2-3 hours south) There were many things that were wonderful about it (even though I got sunburn and tummy trouble) but I think in future I'll make more of a point of avoiding tourist spots.

States I've visited

I didn't get tagged, but I got inspired by Robin to play this silly game. I'm ashamed I haven't been to more states (some I'm not sure about whether to count)

but here's the states I've visited:

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

1. Arizona - My mom has cousins there. I visited them as a child and as a teenager now and then. I loved being so HOT. I had my first real kiss there.

2. California - I thought I wanted to go to college at Pomona, so I flew into LA for the day from Phoenix and visited when I was 17. Taking the bus in LA was an experience

3. Colorado - I think the only time I've been there was when I flew through Denver going somewhere. I dont' think it really counts. But I almost moved there after college, my best friend from high school lived in Boulder at the time (Now she lives in Portland, OR)

4. Connecticutt - My mom had cousins there too, and had had a vacation home there as a child. We went and visited when I was in junior high at some point. I mostly remember the ocean and buying sparkly nailpolish with my cousins.

5. DC - We had friend there when I was a kid, and as a teen and adult I've been there for marches. It's a freaky city, in my opinion.

6. Delaware - I grew up in Philly, and my Dad still lives in a suburb that is closest to the Wilmington stop on the train. I'm sure we drove through it lots when I was a kid, too, but I'm not sure.

7. Florida - not since I was little. My dad had business trips to Miami when I was 3 and 5. I caught pneumonia there - my mom says from wet hair and air conditioning.

8. Idaho - I've been through it on the train from Minneapolis to Seattle, but not sure if I've ever actually set foot there (it's pretty narrow, I don't know if the train has a rest stop there)

9. Illinois - I spent a semester of college in Chicago, and take myself to lunch and a dip in the lake (if it's warm enough!) there when I take the train through going to Philly.

10. Indiana - same best friend from high school went to Earlham for a year. I visited her there. Was that my only time there?

11. Iowa - I went to a Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Luther college in Decorah. I've also been to a camp there to sing with Quakers (Nightengales)

12. Maryland - I visited Johns Hopkins when I was looking for a college, and have just been there - I think most often on weekend drives to buy booze with my Dad, because it's cheaper there than in PA (doesn't that sound wholesome??)

13. Massachusetts - My sistser lives in Wellesley now, but last time I visited she lived in Cambridge.

14. Michigan - My Dad was born in Detroit and grew up in Croswell, 3 hours north. I visited there a lot as a kid.

15. Minnesota - Home sweet home! Y'all don't know what you're missing.

16. Montana - the train again, but I know that we stopped and walked around there. It was a train with no smoking car, so they had to stop and take smoke breaks. I hate smoke, but crave fresh air, so I would hold my breath and run past the cloud by the train and skip around until it was time to go. I think we also had a long break to go buy food there. I really want to visit Glacier Park, it was just beautiful, what I could see of it.

17. Nevada - My cousin from AZ got married in Las Vegas when I was 14. I thought it was really funny, but his girlfriend was from there, and it wasn't a cheezy wedding at all. I wasted a lot of money on slot machines though.

18. New Jersey - The shore, what else?

19. New York - My mom grew up in Manhattan, and much of her family is still there. We lived in the 'burbs there a few times when I was a kid. I visited the finger lakes region after Gathering in Rochester a few years ago. It's beautiful there.

20. North Carolina - another college visit. I really wanted to go to UNC, but I got waitlisted and never called up. Stayed with a (Michigan) cousin there.

21. North Dakota - train again. Again, I can't even say for sure I've ever set foot on the ground there.

22. Ohio - Cousins in Cleaveland when I was a kid, plus trains, plus my sweetie is from there (rural OH, not Cleaveland) but I haven't visited with her yet)

23. Oregon - I have a good friend from high school and a good friend from college there now. I have visited a few times. It's perhaps the only other US city I can see myself living in aside from Minneapolis (though, really, really, I do like nice weather!)

24. Pennsylvania - I grew up there. I miss crocuses and stone houses the most (we have both here, but much fewer and farther between)

25. South Dakota - my ex's parents live there. Plus we went to the Badlands once - breathtaking!

26. Texas - my (NY) cousin lives in Dallas now, but I've never visited. Perhaps only stopovers on the plane.

27. Vermont - My NY cousin's other Grandma lived there. I went up there with them one summer, and swam in a quarry. The coolest thing.

28. Virginia - Family friends in a DC suburb when I was a kid.

29. Washington - Have visited Seattle a few times. It's a great city, but I feel consistently not hip enough when I'm there.

30. West Virginia - Only drive through and train throughs. Though I know I have set foot in it. I made a point of doing so so I could count it on something like this when I was in college.

31. I can't believe I forgot Wisconsin, my closest neighbor. My newest dog, Jordan, is from Wisconsin (or at least was fostered there before coming to me) My ex is from Eau Claire, where her parents still lived when we met, so I've been thre a lot. Also Madison and Milwaukee for Nightengales, and the first time I went to FGC Gathering was 1998, when it was in River Falls (where it will be again next year, if I'm not mistaken)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The nature of (quaker) blogging


I've been thinking about the assumptions inherent in blogging. What are the limits of the technology?

I read the book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television about a million years ago (ok, ten, plain speech, Pam, plain speech) and loved it, but one of the things that most stayed with me was the idea that TV isnt' only full of crappy programming, or run by the wrong sort of folks, it has inherent limitations, as a technology, that cannot be fixed by better writers, or making it less commercial. For examples, you can portray violence on TV very well, it consists of big movements, visuals, sounds, simple images. You cannot convey the beauty of a still forest at all. It's not just that people like violence better, it's also that it "works" where other things simply don't, in that framework.

There are all sorts of things about blogging that strike me this way, inherent limitations, some of which we could bypass within the technolgy (I still long for the days of discussion groups, and wish that there were more and better discussion boards that were centered on topics, rather than individuals. I don't particularly want to blog, to have my name in lights, as it were, but there are things I want to discuss, and this seems the best way to reach people who might be interested and interesting to me.) and some we cannot address within the technolgoy:

*it's one dimensional (a flat screen)

*it's a tool of a priviliged few (Rob asked the other day if there are any quaker bloggers in Africa or Latin America - I answered that I think there are quite few. Think of how likely someone in the US or Britain is to own a computer with internet access good enough to make this pastime reasonable, and that has yielded, what? 30? 50? I doubt near 100 quakers bloggers. It's quite easy to forget that it's not the norm everywhere. And much of me hopes that those who share my quaker ideals would probably not access the technology in a place where it was so relatively extravagant - it would be like me having satellite TV and one of those huge TVs and gosh knows what else.

*it thereby limits who you talk to. By focusing my communicative energy on blogging I am choosing not to focus it on other more simple, possibly more accessible (though I think mail service is terrible in many places too, and blogs may reach more people than periodicals do), and certainly more local forms of communication.

*for the most part we do it alone. Our breathing does not fall in together, we don't even say something and have it heard on the same day, maybe even the same week. Does it create disconnect? Do those things matter?

* Zach has a great post about peak oil and the coming doom of civilization as we know it (it's true, you gotta love him!) and one of the articles he links talks about the petroleum and plain old water that is used up in the production of computers and computer products. I tend to turn a blind eye to this stuff, but every now and then I can't run from it and I think my god! what are we doing? using all these resources so we can blather on about what it means to be a quaker. In my heart I know that it doesn't mean using resources that others don't have access too, and that are running out as I type to sit alone and navel gaze publicly!

* I already alluded to this, but it's about ME, this is MY blog, come pay attention to ME. Is that what we want, as a community? as I said, I think it would be useful to have more fora, like nontheist friends, for mutual disucssion (Is there a way to create some sort of open blog? I know that one can have more than one user, but can it be unrestricted? Is there a way to make it essentially so??

*Oh yea, this is a bit different, but I wonder about quaker blogging. I found out about the trend from Liz a while ago, and I remember asking her if people who were quakers just wrote about their whole lives (crushes, work trouble, heating bills) or just about quaker spirituality. I've come to see that it's both, but I find that I feel I am somehow representing quakers, that if I just write about being scared to raise kids, I'm somehow being overly self-absorbed. And Zach, has three blogs (that I know of) - sort of keeping distinct spirituality, activism, and personal stuff..... I have thought of doing something like that, and yet I hope that my whole life is informed by my quaker values, and what's more, that my quakerism is informed by my whole life and the wholeness of life around me.

But then maybe that gets back to how many dimensions blogging has, or can have, and how many I need it to have. hmmmmm.

Am I just having a cranky day???


Monday, March 13, 2006

Greiving & Forgiveness

Thinking much of Tom Fox, and the other hostages, whose fate we still don't know, today.

It's hitting me for the first time, it all seemed so remote before somehow. Maybe I thought that they wouldn't kill any of them - that it would be bad "PR", or that compassion would win out. Maybe I thought they'd plotted it together to get the US to pay attention.

I have written so much of personal grief here. This person or that person (or dog) dies, and my life is the poorer for it, sometimes I wonder why it had to happen, if it had to happen, what I could have or should have done.

I didn't know Tom Fox, or any of the others. As I said, they seemed distant to me, movie characters. I didnt' spend any time imagining what they were doing day to day in captivity (of course, why would I want to?)

And yet my grief is real, for those who knew him, who have lost someone who was clearly an amazing man. And also for the world. My grief that that sort of sacrifice is ever called for in this world, that acting with such great love and vulnerability and courage doesn't bring immediate or guaranteed change. That I can't imagine ever having such courage and love myself.

And of Forgiveness, which I mull over quite a bit. How to forgive that? To preemptorily forgive those who will harm you, to choose to put yourself in harm's way anyway. It is so powerful, and yet I don't know, still, if I can make sense of it. My sense of self preservation is perhaps too strong, or my faith too weak.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

a good rant

Just want to hold up an essay that James posted recently on the nontheist Friends site, "A liberal Quaker rant against conservative-leaning liberal Quakerism"

This is still weighing heavy on my mind and heart (as it probably will for a while) and I don't agree with everything he says (wow, quakers disagreeing, there's a shock) but I found it a good overall statement of some of what we struggle with.

I feel that we are in a state of adolescence - lots of new information, lots of changes, some crazy-acting, some writing each other off forever and then realizing that we don't really want to leave our home, that we can grow up and become a more mature and complete version of what we were before.

At least that's what I'm hoping.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I am thinking about adopting kids.

Well, I mean, I've been thinking about it since I was a kid myself. But I just got assigned my social worker (we're playing phone tag) It's freaky.

I have friends who are further along in the process than I am - their homestudy is all written, but they haven't discussed any specific kids yet. We're both doing the county adoption program, so we're not looking at babies, and we're not necessarily looking at only one (though I only have one extra bedroom, and am only one person, so I may not be allowed to adopt a sibling group).

They talked about how freaky it was to have someone evaluating their ability to parent. Usually people don't get to pass judgement on such an intimate part of your life, and especially if you're not actually intimate with them.

I didn't really get it, but now I do. Even though it hasn't started yet. I'm terrified to sort of lay it all out there for this woman who I don't know and have her basically "grade" me as a potential parent.

And that's not even the half of it. How much does your life change when you have kids? It seems unfathomable. And then, what if they're not even people you got a chance to "know" in utero, before you could really know them? And then what if they actually have 2, 5, 10 years of life experience that didnt' include you? and all the pains and fears and walls that come with some of those experiences (if it had been a rosy experience, they wouldn't be looking for new parents), and what if there are three of them? And how do you ever feel ready for that? How do you find the fortitude to do it even though you never really feel ready?




I have been mulling over forgiveness for a good while now.

I'm not very good at it.

I mean, I'm really not.

Nancy recently found an article on Christian and Jewish experience of forgiveness to be a reaffirming of her Christianity, here:


And, in the process of researching further, I found this article:


I have never in any way identified as a Jew, but the jewish viewpoint resonated with me here. The idea that repentance is important. That forgiveness isn't somehow "owed" to anyone who asks for it.

(edit 3/2/06 This is perhaps the part I was focusing on: "However, almost all agree that repentance requires five elements: recognition of one's sins as sins (hakarát ha-chét'), remorse (charatá), desisting from sin (azivát ha-chét'), restitution where possible (peira'ón), and confession (vidúi). ")

I have purchased a copy of the Sunflower recently, but haven't read beyond the introduction (aside - don't buy it at Amazon.com, even though I linked there, it's great for looking up books, but see quakerbooks, or my sidebar to order it - see my last post!)

It's about a person in a concentration camp being asked to forgive a dying nazi officer (and then, I assume, go back to life in the camp), and they couldn't. It's essays by various people about what they would have done. What I find shocking is that apparently some people seriously take issue with the fact that he couldnt' forgive. I mean, are people SERIOUS???????

I can say pretty confidently that I wouldn't. I can say less confidently that that doesnt' worry me too much. I can't believe that hasn't been through something that horrific can honestly say that they would, but maybe I am too laacking in faith in others.

I can see that in a saintly world, that might be the ideal. That if I was a fully evolved being of light I could forgive people as they drove stakes through my hands on a trumped up charge (reference, anyone?)

But I don't know, maybe I'm spiritually dense, but I'm much more interested in working on the folks who are driving the stakes than whether or not the persecuted can forgive.

I was talking to a f/Friend about forgiving our ex girlfriends (!) this week. I have one who treated me pretty badly and then was offended that I "wouldn't" (I would say "couldn't" - it doesn't feel like a decision exactly, but more like a state of grace, that I wasnt' in) forgive her.

I was reminded by a woman I know (though I haven't seen her in years) who I often do think of as a "fully evolved being of the light" (to use consistent terminology). She was telling me once about her feelings about her ex husband, father of her children. I dont' remember the specifics, but he had been very bad for her, and still wasn't very present to her kids.

She talked with great joy about how much God loves this man. How she doesn't think he will go to hell, how God will embrace him and forgive him..... and I remarked on how impressed I was by her forgiveness and she said something like "oh, no! I hate the bastard!"

And ever since, I guess that's been the sort of forgiveness I can aim for.

I believe that we are all children of God. Loved in a way by God (/Life / Spirit / Love) in a way that none of us in our limited human forms can fully fathom.

I can take great joy in that Love - for me, for George Bush, for Hitler, for my ex girlfriend :)

(though I say that I still hope there is a "hell" that consists of true empathy and understanding - how could true knowing not be hell for Hitler? - but like the scouring out of a wound that will heal, not eternal torture)

and at the same time, I can let myself off the hook for not being able to conjure that love for people who have hurt me to the core, and especially not for those who are still hurting me!