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Hello treasured friends. This month my bedside reading is Living From A Place of Surrender; The Untethered Soul in Action. Michael Singer, the author, reads the audiobook. The book continues to inspire me to “Let it go! Let it go!” (Insert Frozen soundtrack here!) And to live in the wonder of this miraculous planet. I looked for a link to purchase, but that hard copy is spendy. I suggest the Multnomah County Library! Do y’all know about Libby? Thousands of free eBooks and audiobooks. It’s a gem. I listen to the author while running in my headphones, and he’s a great driving buddy too. More on running later.

What’s in a name?

Names. Several years ago, at an Artist’s Rep workshop, we introduced ourselves with the story of our name. What’s in a name? So much. I was enthralled to hear the numerous stories of my colleagues. Laughter, tears, and connection, all from what seemed such a simple question. My name, Susannah, was suggested to my father while he was in a Broadway show, The Affair, with, among others, the British actor Donald Moffat. It was very “Stage Door.” Whispering asides, “It’s a GIRL!” from the wings. Dad told me: “I told Donald we’d just had a daughter and asked him what to name her, and he said Susannah is a nice name.” DONE. Thank you, Donald. I do love my name.

My middle name, Lena, was the name of my great-grandmother from Vilna, Lithuania. Mars was the name of my father’s stepfather, whom he hated, whose name remained a part of us. As my daughter Olivia (we liked the name, no historical connection) ascended Mt. Shasta last weekend, I wondered about the history of the name of that glorious mountain. One of the names I’ve come across, the Shasta Indian People’s name for Mt. Shasta, is Waka-nunee-Tuki-wuki. I’ve read that four territories of Native American Peoples meet at that location; The Shasta, Modoc, Ajumawi/Atsuwegi, and Wintu. Also, the Karuk and Klamath tribes are within view. Learn more about The Shasta Indian Nation here.

We are a family of runners

I’ll be running Hood to Coast this year with my friends at Portland Center Stage, and our family spends quite a lot of time on the Springwater Trail, which we love. At the Boring Trailhead is a beautiful map, complete with the names that our majestic surrounding mountains were given by settlers. Seeing it brought me back to years ago when Artist’s Rep produced The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa Fasthorse, a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation of South Dakota. The play will be headed to Broadway, and Larissa will be the first female Native American playwright produced there. Fantastic stuff.

Larissa shepherded us through a treasured weekend of reverence and learning about native culture while she was in town and inspired my journey into, among other things, learning native names of the places I’d previously known only by the names settlers had provided. Last week as we were running on Springwater Trail, I came to the Boring Trailhead map and noticed that the native names were missing. In an act of radical happiness, I added them! What if we continued to open, open, open to what all people might enjoy? There are so many exquisite stories that spring from names.

And what if we added interdependence to the celebration of American independence?

Several writings this July 4th that I came upon spoke to my conflicted feelings about celebrating independence in this country. Brown Hope inspired me with their thoughts on interdependence, and these glorious words by Gina Puorro filled my heart:

May we release the myth of independence and make a declaration to embrace and nourish our interdependence

May we pledge allegiance to the land, to the waters, to our human and nonhuman kin, to the earth-body we call home

May we find our house of worship in the trees, the sky, the dirt, the mountains, in our own bodies.

May we find new places of power, shimmering along the edges of what we think is the only way forward

May we love each other and honor life more than we love guns, oil, money, power, control, or the written word of hungry ghosts.

May we midwife systems of harm to die with grace, and compost them into new ways of caring for each other

May we honor our grief, make space for deep rest, find pleasure in our pursuit for justice, and ignite transformation with our holy rage

And so I come full circle and will continue to drink in Living From a Place of Surrender. I will strive to stand for love for all. Unobstructed. Loving who and what is before me without reservation.


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