Kati Hoehl for Unsplash

I believe in music, its power to spark many emotions, its abstract beauty, sometimes the words that go with the melody, particularly gospel lyrics, show tunes and the swelling voices of a chorale.

I believe in nature, its ability to surprise as in a sudden hail storm, to calm as in a beautiful sunrise or sunset, and to heal the big and little traumas of living with glorious flowers, delicate butterflies, and magisterial oceans.

I believe in color, the hues of birds and landscapes, the orange of my living room walls in Oakland and the pale aqua walls in my current bedroom; the color of fuju persimmons, a pink lady apple, fresh string beans and shrimp. Color warms me, calms me, makes me curious, and tickles my funny bone.

I believe in words spoken, written, sung, and thought. Words soar, words crush, words inspire, words soothe.

I believe in myself, in my ability to be with people in such a way that they know they are seen and heard. I believe in my courage, my willingness to step into situations in which I am afraid or angry, to seek connection through information, empathy and humor. I am often unsure of the right thing to do, but not of my ability to try, to engage, be present, state my case.

I believe in the power of food to bring us together, to entice our palates, to spark conversations and new friends, to be both pleasing and nourishing.

I believe in love, most of the time.