Seattle, Washington, United States
For those who love coffee, poetry, art, or stories - stay. Have a cup with us.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Sip: Let's Chuck Superman

Strength does not come from muscles or achievement. It comes from the simplicity, humility, spirit, and confidence to look someone in the eye and say: I am not Superman. I am Me, and Me likes coffee and books and sometimes Me screws up. But I'm strong enough to keep going, keep loving, keep believing.

So let's chuck Superman out the window. I never did like wearing my underwear on the outside anyway.

Join me for a cup.
-Michael

(Thank you to my friend Lee for showing me this song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J8k7GFZHW8)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sorry!

To my most loyal and wonderful readers - I apologize for the lack of entry this week. I was on vacation and had no time to get anything written. Look for a great entry next Thursday! (And, of course, a Sunday Sip this week as well).

Keep the coffee strong.
-Michael

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Sip: Enjoy Everything

The days when nothing goes your way and everything that can go wrong does go wrong - those are the best of days. They are filled with laughter, joy, and a certain sense of wild abandonment. Enjoy everything, whether it is frought with worry, filled with issues, or touched with trouble. Just enjoy it.

Join me for a cup.
-Michael

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Fresh Start

I would like to start off with a confession this week, Coffee Lovers. This last Sunday was the first time I have ever seriously considered quitting Stronger Coffee. For a moment, I just couldn't see the point. It was a sad moment. And then I decided I would give it one more go and I wrote a Sunday Sip inquiring as to your thoughts and suggestions.

I got one response (such is life), but it was a very, very good response. My ever-loyal, ever-wonderful friend Shreya Tewari suggested I begin to use the artwork, music, photography, and other such gems of those around me in my blog.

I was taken aback by the genius of the idea. And that is what I am going to start doing.

So, I guess today is kind of a new beginning. It is the 61st post of Stronger Coffee and I'm going to take this moment to reflect on what this 61st entry will mean.

It's time for a change. I can't just write to all of you anymore without involving you. If you read Stronger Coffee and you can sing, or you can paint, or you can snap beautiful photos, or you can write poetry - I want to read that and then show that to the world. We are a community. And this is a community revival.

I asked Shreya to give me some pictures which symbolize new birth (sunsets, flowers, etc). And she provided me with fourteen gorgeous choices. The photographs in this entry are entirely hers, and I thought it was only natural to show case such a brilliant photographer in my first shared entry, especially because all of this was her idea. Thank you, Shreya.


But now - it's time for what you all logged on for: Why am I writing this week? I think that we, as human beings, take too little time for ourselves. We seem to think that busy means happy. Americans are especially affected by this mindset. Elizabeth Gilbert is of the mind that Americans live their 70-year lives without experiencing any kind of real pleasure. We push and we drive and we try too hard to get everything right on the first try.

The fact of the matter is that we are not that perfect. And we are not that strong. Nothing can be started that can't be restarted. Nothing can be made that can't be un-made. Buddhists hold that nothing is permanent, and that neither objects nor people can remain constant. They are right. We are in a state of flux, no matter what we want to tell ourselves.
But sometimes we have to put a stop to the flux, an end to the immortal push of mankind, and just restart. We have to recognize a sunrise for ourselves, a new low-tide, a flower bud just blooming. The beauty of this is that it is your choice when you hit RESET, and only you have to know about it. Our lives were not meant to be lived in one fell swoop. They are supposed to be a cacophony of laughter at mistakes made, tears shed, and new days faced with a whole new attitude.

And that means if the java isn't right on the first go around, you can always chuckle and brew it again.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
-Michael


Photography by
Shreya Tewari (Pictured Here)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Sip: Hearing Back

I write a lot of different things to all of you here. But I don't hear a lot back. I want to know what you all think, what you question, what you agree with, disagree with, and don't like. Please take an opportunity sometime this week to comment on a post, send me an email (michaelabraham9@aol.com) or find me on Facebook and let me know what is and isn't working.

After all, this blog is about all of us.

Join me for a cup.
-Michael

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simple and Beautiful.

Life isn't that complicated.

Coming from me, that statement is like a priest proclaiming, "Satan isn't all that bad." When my life isn't complicated, I find ways to complicate it. I am one of the most complicated people I know. But I was listening to a song by Regina Spektor this week. It's called "On the Radio." She spends about four minutes regaling her audience with simple, obvious statements about life.

This is how it works - you're young until you're not; you love until you don't; you try until you can't; you laugh until you cry; you cry until you laugh, and everyone must breathe until their dying breath. Those are some of the lyrics in the second verse. There is nothing profound about these words except for their profoundly beautiful simplicity.

We make things too hard. We create rules, social politics, and games. We set expectations, tell lies, and go around pretending at friendship. I'm guilty of all of those things. I have a very clear idea of how people should act around me, and, when those expectations aren't met, I find ways of changing that social disappointment into a personal insult.

But why? Why care? Why expect? Why try to control and complicate? Everyone must breathe until their dying breath. That's a lot of time, and a lot of rules could be made, broken, and remade in that time. Honestly, the idea of spending the next sixty-some years of my life telling people how to act in my presence is exhausting.

We cannot prevent disappointment, or, at least, I can't. The only people who make it through life with minimal disappointment are those like Emily Dickinson, who are so afraid of facing broken rules that they never leave their homes. That is not a Stronger Coffee existance.

But crying, laughing, aging, and breathing? Those are the things I believe in.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
-Michael

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Sip: Unity

We are a nation of people united. We love to be together. Even something as small as a football game can unite 312 million people.

Gather with those you love and who love you. Enjoy unity.

Join me for a cup.
-Michael

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fairytales

I was listening to a song by Sara Bareilles this week and it got me thinking about what I would like to write about today. The song, titled "Fairytale," tells twisted after-stories about all of the famous fairy-story princesses. In each case, Prince Charming saved them from a hellish life to drop them into a new life equally as hellish but in all new ways.

Besides being a catchy song, it raises a crucial question: Why do we let others save us? Most people, in the midst of a difficult situation, hand that situation off to someone else, hoping that not dealing with the problem will make the problem go away.

I've learned a little bit about problems in the last few years. And one of the things that I have learned is that the greatest issues arise when your problem is no longer yours. When you let others march their white steeds up to your own personal tower of distress, usually the prince proves to be a bit too heavy and you take a Rapunzel tumble out the window, leaving everything simply worse off than it was before.

So I got to thinking about letting other people save me. And it occurred to me that if I spent less time every day thinking about myself and my issues, maybe I wouldn't need other people to put on their shining armor and save me. Maybe, if I learned to spend time thinking of other people and other things, I'd solve my own problems. The fairytale was cute when we were children who didn't know how to tie our shoes or button up our Sunday shirts. But the love-and-sunshine, lemonade-and-popsicle reality that is childhood is no longer mine and (unless I have a decidedly younger readership than I thought) it is no longer yours either. Our problems have gotten too big for knights in shining armor and general laziness or fear to save us.

I'm not saying we must slay dragons alone. We all have friends. But it is no longer time to let others stick their well-meaning hands in our business and control us. We are our own people, Coffee Lovers. We have our own thoughts, our own dreams, and our own complications. Our stories have gotten too big to be called fairy tales.

And thank God for that.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
-Michael