paying it forward

I don’t count times people help me

because I don’t count times I help others

ultimately it evens out

but sometimes, some things are more memorable and need to be recounted

on a busy road at work today, a car stalled in the slow lane of a busy aterial

the poor guy who was driving it is an elderly Somali man, standing on the sidewalk

I drove around and tried to help him

I offered to push if he can put his car in neutral

low and behold he speaks no English….I could tell he could understand some of what I was saying, but just like my dad, he can’t reply very well

I took his key and entered his car, and put his hazards on….

and realized…I can’t even move his transmission out of park!

the horror

I was wishing this wasn’t the case because he was already on an incline so it would be easy to push

then a random white guy comes to help…thankfully – he parks right behind the dead car with his hazards on too

we can’t get the car to do anything….while we wait…

the other guy, David, knows more about cars than I do….obviously

he said all signs lead to some electrical issues, not necessarily battery-related,

anyway…I ultimately jump on the Somali guy’s phone with another Somali who speaks English….he asks me to stay on the scene if I can until the two truck comes

David and I wait the full 45 minutes with him until the tow guys come

we helped push/pull the car up the tow truck after failing to jump it

it was confusing, frustrating and it was all worth it.

we’ve all been there before

one could be someone I know.

this has happened before and it will happen again



what else can I use my muscles for if not this type of good Samaritan effort….



I got options

you got options

never settle

don’t settle.

fuck no

go for broke….


below, a picture my friend just shared on FB. she is an artist

and she just got this print on her office wall

below is something I just found on LinkedIn today


powerful shit




if I have made you feel cold

it was by design

there is no place for you here anymore.

if I made you feel unwelcome, it was by design

there is nothing good for you here

if I made you feel distant

that is by design

you are a guest

and welcome no more.

you cannot be ungrateful

and think I won’t react

when you take me for granted.

I’ve already left.


holding space

we each decide what we hold space for

in our hearts. in our bodies. in our lives. in our circles. in our homes. in our thoughts.

last night, I saw a sublime and powerful play. it is called Hold These Truths

find the link here:

it is a stirring one man show about one man’s courageous fight against the US gov’t during the illegal and immoral internment of Japanese Americans during WWII

the last 1/3 of the play, I teared up a few times thinking about the sacrifices of early Asians fighting for civil rights in this country and my own parents’ Hmong legacy of their own sacrifice in Laos to get us here today. what a stark reminder that every thing we have and can do was fought for, and it was sealed in blood and sweat, tears, and sacrifice.

when we hold space for something, or someone, we make a value statement

a judgement call

for a dialogue

for safety

and the safety to have that dialogue and consciousness

to talk, share, express, debate and hash out the things which hurt us the most

the very thing we fear

the very thing that makes us uncomfortable.

can we hold these truths?

no matter their weight?


art is therapeutic

getting back after putting my hobby on hold for 20 years

is like peeling onion

and layers of myself I forgot was there

I didn’t know was there

that I hid

and harbored

for a lifetime

I am glad I have re-found my talent

and passion


when the last of the dust is fallen

and the last of the ashes melted into nothingness

from where the moon no longer shines

and to where the sun no longer rises

you will find one last thing


and that is this

with 206 bones in my body

to the marrow

I do not give a damn

simple things

the other week I had a friend

she grew up in a major city, impoverished

until now she had taken public transportation and biked everywhere

she saved up and bought her first car, a used car

in 29 years of life she had never seen an oil change or refill

so she asked me to show her how to replenish oil if her tank was low

so she drove to my house and I showed her

it was a fun time making fun of her but also catching up

these little things

we take for granted

not everyone knows…or grew up knowing….