Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Best Christmas Present

A few weeks back, I applauded Jack for still having all ("most," accuracy is crucial for Jack) of his teeth. I confessed that I do not regularly floss. That description is far from accurate, and perhaps it would be better to say that I floss a few times a year. There is no planetary alignment that creates a pattern of when I engage in this health behavior. And I don't feel as if I am conducting some crucial hygenie act. Perhaps that is why I am not really motivated to do it. Plus, fickle!, I have sensitive gums and despite careful application, I always end up with reddened tissue and the taste of iron in my mouth.

But I had been a good girl all year long, and flossing my teeth for a week was on my list. So, imagine my elation when Jack presented me with my very first electric flosser. The little bugger signified that there was a person out there concerned about my gums...that means something, right?

Stay Tuned...I am on Day Three and still figuring this thing out. But this may be THE best christmas present for single women every where (unless you'd like to pick up my car and deliver it back to me with the oil changes, the tires rotated, a new air filter, and cleaned inside!)

What was your Best Christmas Present?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Eating Special

I’ve been traveling a lot lately to cities I’ve never been before, and I always like to get a little sampling of local culture by requesting locals for their recommendation on where they like to hang out to relax, sip a cup of good coffee and nosh a scone with free wi-fi, and where to eat food freshly prepared. I like to think that their ideas, spontaneously erupting from sometimes perplexed or flattered faces, links us something together in a tenuous but intimate connection. Most take the suggestion rather seriously, saying something akin to “well, let me think about that for a bit,” as if they are a) revealing something to me about their identity, their values, their story b) worried that my approval, and perhaps that I won’t like what they like. Very frequently, I get, “Well, what sort of foods do you like?” and no matter my response, I think this question is merely to bide them time to integrate a and b above and come up with something that satisfies the question.

This weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to be sent to One World Everybody Eats. The concept of this place centers on a few cooks spontaneously creating a selection of fresh menu items daily from whatever fresh organic ingredients they happen to have in the kitchen that day. A person goes in and gets any amount of food from a selection, which they serve up on homemade plates and bowl, amidst an atmosphere like an independent coffee house run from an old home. It feels warm when you are in there, and the cooks actually serve up the food and again, there is a sense of pride and connection in the exchange.

When I visited the menu involved two types of soup, a cauliflower leek and a lentil dal, a trio of salads, chicken simmered in a red sauce, pancakes, homemade bread and phenomenal desserts: apple brown betty, rice pudding, a delectable vegan pumpkin pie and their famous everything cookie, plus a little lemon bundt cake. I am the queen of samples, and I loved the fact that I could have small portions and taste everything. I felt home and quite comfortable there as a single eater…especially when two other customers started chatting with me about misconceptions about certain cultures and being lost after graduate school.

The most resonating aspect of the meal involves that there is no set price to the meal. It is a pay what you can sort of place. This concept inspires me, not just because it is a genuine way to feed people whom may otherwise not eat fresh food (and organic food can be so overblown in the wallet department) but because it perhaps engenders reflection “how much is this meal worth to me? What does my patronage of this place of business say about my values, my beliefs.”

One thing about the holiday season is that what we eat is more overtly full of meaning. This was one place where the spirit of Christmas is captured as its very foundation.

Where do you eat? What does it say about you? If I asked you where I should go, what would you be telling me about yourself?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Faith while stuck in the airport

"When you have faith, you move"

The words flowed not like a soothing line from a homily, but hissed from mocha colored puckered lips. This irritated woman had been standing in a line of approximately forty people impatiently waiting for the gate agent to increase her productivity. The woman, sporting huge Gucchi glasses on the top of her head, an affront to the winter blizzard howling outside, obviously had reached the end of her rope. It was clear that style was very important to her in her aging years (she was perhaps over 65) as she was sporting a tailored jacket and matched her glasses to her handbag.

But her attitude was monstrous. And she was taking it out on the man beside her.

Those words clutched to me. "When you have faith, you move." I only caught these words, and they hung there. Singular, and naked. It was clear that no one was going anywhere, either fast or slow, and this lack of movement festered a sense of hoplessness, anxiety, and cruelty in the mass awaiting to be set free to take off on whatever destination they had planned on earlier in the day.

Was the woman criticizing her partner for not picking up her carry on? Was she commenting on his lack of insight for taking the last seat by the podium and robbing her of some brief rest? Was she raising her fists into the air to curse the airline authorities or the God that manifested such a powerful storm?

I don't know. I just caught the words, and they made a home in me.

When you are stuck in the airport, you have a few options: complain in protest or step back in anticipation. I chose the later, although I wasn't really good at relaxing while the buzz around me continued to fluster in discontent.

I began to notice all the families and couples but also single people, perhaps waiting to be coupled or joined into the folds of family and friends. They were uncomfortable in their singularity, and thus, a complete lack of faith ensued. This was my predicament.

Being single this Christmas, a bit of my faith loosened from my core. Faith in my life choices, faith in my present place, faith in others to support me, faith in my physical, mental and spiritual health to sustain me. And this absence exacerbated a type of immobility. I stopped circulating.

What I know is that sometimes, when in situations where you have nothing else to do but to sit and wait, noticing things may be a little easier.

I do not want to be like this woman, I thought.

I want to be kind in situations where I feel stuck. And even if I don't feel as if I am going anywhere, I want to still move with faith.

Are you stuck? What does that do to your faith?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Host a themed potluck

This past weekend, a group of women honored me by participating in a Christmas Cookie potluck. The idea involves bringing dough and spending an afternoon shaping and baking it together. At the end of the event, the women get to take a variety of cookies home with them, as well as an infusion of Holiday Spirit.

Being single during the holidays can often foster a sense of being on the outskirts of "real" families. Occassions like these, however, provide confirmation that we are all connected...

The event was far from perfectly prepared

(I forgot to double bake my biscotti before every one left, and I couldn't find my teapot) but in the end, it was perfectly what I needed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am NO slacker!

On the surface it may appear that I have slacked off on writing in the pastmonth or so. Although, it's true, I traveled a ton in the month of November;I faithfully punched away on the keyboard as well. In fact, the keyboard gotso much mileage that my five year old Thinkpad's F now explodes in rebellionfrom time to time, popping up after being utilized. And who can write without an F button?
Task #92. Do NaNoWriMo (
I participated in an online write a novel in the month of November projectcalled, WriNamo. The concept is pretty easy: write a novel in a month, atleast 50,000 words ALL created only in November 2008. And this is a HUGEtask, which I didn't really understand fully until the end of the firstweek, when my word count was a little over 8K, and that's after writingevery day. They send an author-wanna be emails encouraging that the secondand fourth week are likely the most depressing and despairingly, and theywere right. Slain by a cold the last week of the month, my head fuzzy eitherfrom snot or from decongestant, I couldn't produce anything of value, muchless capture something on paper..
But! Alas! I prevailed! I wrote furiously and without editing (to theorganization's cheerleading: PRODUCE! Don't EDIT!) And last week, I had 51Kby 8pm on Sunday. I am now in the process of editing..
I'll send you a chapter if you like. The novel is about the life of a smallfamily in snapshots of key moments of their here for a gist ofwhat the book is about..
MY list didn't end there! Also in the month of November, I completed thefollowing:

#41 Set up Google Reader: Yep! It's official! I check my Google Reader about 4times a week! What did I do before Google Reader? Please people, if you'vegot a website you LOVE to check regularly, like this one!, email me and I'llvouch for reader! Also.what are you reading? Let me know!)

#77 (now 2 out of 3, the other was Cheuking Express) Watch a Foreign Film: Priceless, French, which was absolutely charming.Audrey Tatu, shone in a way that made you disgusted with her and yetcheering her on to change her shallow ways

#69 Go to a Comedy Routine (I accompanied my good friend Lisa to a comedyroutine in Columbia,MO while checking out the community there. What I remember from the act wasthat he did a musical number dressing up like 80 pop music stars. Andlaughing)

#31 Go to a book reading (I did even better than that. One of the most inspiringbooks I've read this year is Tales of a Female Nomad. A little similar toEat, Pray, Love, the book is about a woman transformed by her journeysacross the world. Much different, however, is that the woman's alteration isvery much externally and community oriented. She sells all her possessions,adopting the name nomad and truly living as part of these places. I attendeda book club where the author Rita Goldman, was the guest of honor.)

#17 Go to a live music event (1 of 3) Last week, Jack and I went to a barbershop quartetconcert of men singing old Christmas songs. These were just men in thecommunity with a love of music, and what it did for me was cradle me intothe spirit of Christmas.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Whose are you?

Reader, as you pause here, take a deep breathe in. Close your eyes, and make friends with the darkness that will provide the veiling for your image to slowly emerge. Project yourself into that space….
No! You are thinking too hard. Just pause. Are you trying to rush ahead?
Where is the real you? Have you found him/her yet today? Have you acknowledged yourself? Where has the time gone?
There’s an image, albeit fuzzy, it is streaming in at different angles. You are going to have to fine-tune it a bit. Add one splash of color and define the lines a bit. Okay, easy now, turn the knobs of your inner perception, and step into yourself. Ahh…there you are. There you are.

There you are on your first day of school, proudly clutching those crayons and waiting as a whole new terrain unfolds just for your exploration.
There you are, discovering that you were pregnant. There is that moment where your body evoked such an otherness a forgotten language of unity emerges.
There you are, watching a young life thrive and flourish even as a mass of maleficent cells rise up in rebellion and chew away at her youth.
This gift of self-knowing tethers you to something much larger than yourself. The effort of being human is really no effort at all if it is reduced down to survival. But there you are, see yourself? You live amidst the irony of always becoming something new, always adapting and changing, and yet, somehow maintaining coherent sense of you; you stay the same. What nourishes you? What feeds you?
Identity can be a powerful experience if you pay homage to it more often. But the who am I question ultimately does not satisfy. Or if it does, only briefly, before a new hunger presents itself, perpetuating a search for the larger question.
Whose are you?
To whom do you belong?

Where do you belong?
I ask you to pause here again, conjuring up images in your mind. The real and the fantasy. The memory of people or places that are tangible and those that are perhaps unphysical.

Whose are you?
As we began the harried Holiday season, may you feel grounded, capable of caring for yourself with ease and joy...but also connected...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What makes me happy

I have noticed that a lot of people lately are moving around deflated with a lot of fear. There is plenty to be anxious about: people are gloomy about the economy, not having a secure job, and thus worried about their financial security, whether in the form of our emaciated retirement accounts or in the rising cost of milk and eggs; people are aflux with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the terrorism and violence that is present here in our own backyards; we think about the timing of life developments such as when to get married, buy a house, have children, (and not necessarily in that order!) and we scurry about talking about the rise of obesity in children and are constantly worried about the connection between our size and whether we’ll be accepted or not. Thank God the election is over or we’d worry about that!

There are a few things that are making me really happy right now that I wanted to share with you….
1) I have had several great cups of coffee lately. Coffee so good it rivals a glass of zin for me. The bitter liquid at once reviving and consuming. Yum. There is a reason why Starbucks gave free coffee on election day.

2) Many friends have babies, and spending time talking to them about their children or getting to watch before my very eyes their development is inspiring. Way not ready to have children of my own, I sit in awe and declare that motherhood is the most difficult job in the world.

3) Talking with strangers. I’ve struck up many conversations this month with people I don’t know at all. At a random bookclub I attended, in the airports, at the cooking class I took. There is something about risking rejection or judgment by opening up a conversation with people you don’t know and may never interact with again. In many ways, you release your own little ego and have the opportunity to make it up as you go along. It isn’t all about you. There is a natural dance that occurs that hopefully will lead to your improvement. New perspectives should be shaping, and talking with a stranger, well, it is the conversation that you are meant to have right there and then. Listen to the content of that talk, and I believe the lesson that your soul is most in need of will emerge
4) Taking pictures. I find that stopping and noticing something beautiful is extremely gratifying. I see and smell and interact as much as possible. In many ways, pausing, the act of stopping and seeing something, truly visioning it and taking it in, is my form of meditation. Choiceless awareness. I snap it, and feel honored to participate in the bigger rhythm of life. Here is a picture of a bush in a conservatory I stumbled upon this past weekend.

5) Little unexpected blessing. This past weekend, it was carebears gummy chews (thanks Katie!). Paying less than 30 on a tank of gas. I “whoa-hooed” in the parking lot and had a few weird looks. A phone call from a friend right when I needed it. I found a pair of socks that I haven’t worn in months and was delighted at their softness. WOW! This is where I see the hand of God in my life.

I think it is very important to name out loud the unique way our lives reveal moments where happiness is just waiting to be claimed.
If you read this blog, please comment: what has brought you joy in the past 24 hours?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where have I been?

Far from positive that the nonexistent multitude who perhaps keep track of my blog may be wondering where I have been, perhaps considering that I have fallen out of step with my habit of self reflection. No worries, I just want to say that I have been traveling a lot this month and am in the process of writing a book. It is more romantic than it sounds, people! It’s part of my list of nanowrimo and the book is nothing near cohesive. One thing it is getting me to do it proliferate in random places: coffee shops, airport terminals, moving vehicles, and on lunch breaks. I am sort of a journal, topic writer and this process of creating scenes and characters is proving daunting. Hang in there through the end of November, through which I have to produce 50,000 words, and I promise you a little more substantial posting…

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Task #26

Buy Flowers for some one else

I never really got onto the fresh flower train. I know as a woman, I am supposed to swoon over the color, the smell, the pulsation of romance that they emit. There was season where an engorged Lily was appreciated. But I clung to the symbolism more than the actual experience of them: Peace enfolded with vibrant fertility (or so I was informed). When a woman in my circle, whether an office colleague, neighbor or family member received one, my alarm button always fired. Not only would I question their value (wouldn’t you prefer something more practical, like a pair of shoes?) but I questioned their signification. When a person gets flowers, something was abnormal, either in a special, celebratory way, or a grieving, coping manner. Flowers signified, they meant something, they pointed to other things…I found it all an analytical distraction.

And I was completely missing the point.

It was I who was sinning in my denial of the power of flowers to just be what they are, do what they do, live as they live. My incapacity to enjoy their brief, punctuated presence was a little depressing. First off, flowers don’t need my projection of meaning on them to bolster their significance. They don’t require worth in the form of “this one means hope, clarity,” or “this bouquet offers a sense of solidarity in times of sorrow.” I must resist the urge the attempt to rationalize all of creation! Flowers can just be pretty. In fact, they have done some research indicating that for people that enjoy flowers, cultivating a garden or having them around in times of stress has similar healing benefits of prayer. Second (and I can’t stop myself from going all rational and metaphorical here) flowers have a way of reminding us to be focused on the here and now, the present moment. No two flowers are alike, and this points to our human lives as well, smacking us in the heart to remind ourselves that our lives are only temporary and we must seek pleasure right now. Not before it’s too late, but after it’s too early.

Luckily, when receiving collaboration on the creation of this list, my friends called me out on my snobbery. The task today was to buy fresh flowers for someone else.

I had the impulse at 5 am in the morning, and for abut 80 minutes, attempted to rationalize my way out it. My mind said things like: “She wouldn’t like them,” “She said she didn’t want to make a fuss, so why are you?” “What if you get the wrong kind?” “Wouldn’t she want some organic soap instead?” When walking into the market, my mind again battled the habit of patronizing this ritual. I almost got a potted plant, for in my valuation, at least they live a while and omit oxygen into the universe. My practicality threatened to ruin the whole task.

The beauty of this list is that is provides me a reason, a guideline, an anchor, to which I can cling when doubt or habit retreats my growth.

I bought the flowers because when I woke up, I wanted to. I wanted to celebrate her life, her light, the manner in which she uplifted me, our friendship, the honorable way she serves as a wife and a new mother, the hardworking spirit she imbues every task in front of her. I wanted to bring her pleasure knowing that it would not last.

This past year I asked a man, when was the last time he had given any one fresh flowers. Well over the age of 30 and seasoned in a longterm relationship, he informed me that he never had. My heart grieved a bit upon hearing this, signaling a hibernation of some sort in his spirit. My hope is when I am asked I can always say “recently….” For my list, I extend a grateful heart!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A conversation about lasting relationships

“It will come, it will come.” I am left to wonder what it actually entails. But I somehow trust that the it is good, desirable. A soft piece of caramel conglomerating in the very back of my mouth, its residue distinctively extensive.

I picked through that soggy potato salad, blurting, “but can two people start a relationship today and have it last that long?”

No beat skipped here. “If both people have the RIGHT values, of course,” she says with firmness.

Is she convincing herself? Or me? Is there something about convincing me that will strengthed her own resolve.

“You know, you have to just stick with it.” I find myself biting my tongue and twirling the rejected salad, which really isn’t a salad at all, around, around. “It takes work. Compromise.”

But how much? How much? I begin to form the question our loud to her, married “19 years” when the other matron extrapolates, “but it is often about not having everything now. It means going without sometimes.”

She got me there. I want everything now, and my hunger scares me. My desire for purposeful professional life, for intellectual stimulation, for a place in a family, for a hoe with roots, for “inner peace” and “adventure” both on the same day. I am overwhelmed by the want.

But know a lot about not having everything now.

Don’t you?

Isn’t that what life is about? Creating more of the things you desire, and striking a balance with coping with those unattained.

And don’t we all value relationships?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Task #98

Something Out of Character

Most people would describe me as analytical, focused, a rule-follower that is very goal oriented. My achievement orientation often causes a lot of mistakes or humorous experiences. For instance, I often miss details. I once wore a pair of shoes for two months with the new shoe tissue in the toes until a friend who borrowed them pulled them out and laughed “what is WRONG with you?” I am a do-er a mover, a shaker, I’ve got places to go, I can’t slow down for tissues! So you get the point. I am far from creative.

But in doing this list, I am forced to try things perhaps I wouldn’t do on my own. I use the list as an excuse to experience new things and try out different versions of myself.

Embarking on task #98 has brought a lot of laughs out of my circle of loved ones…”you’re doing what?”

“I am making an audition tape to be on a reality TV show.”

“But you don’t watch reality TV…do you?”

“Only ones with food…:

And thus, I began to prepare an audition tape for the Next Food Network Star. I basically spent all weekend thinking of my unique perspective, of designing a fun recipe, of organizing a spontaneous script. I wasn’t going to write anything down. I was just going to practice the words and phrases and follow my gut…and that’s what I did this weekend…I creatively shaped and plucked and paid attention to details. The words. The ingredients. The instruction, the inflexion. It was a masterful exercise in creativity, not taking myself too seriously, but trusting myself as well.

My friend Yvonne came on over and filmed it for me, and then kindly stuck around to make sure my fabulous Break-up brownies were mildly edible (they were! I ate almost half the pan that afternoon!). It was embarrassing at first to be speaking this to an audience, but I quickly became comfortable…I was having fun!

Watching yourself brings about a whole new self-consciousness that defies even middle school angst. Have you ever made a tape of yourself? There is a degree of foreignness there: that’s my voice? My demeanor? Could that really be me? Yep it is…that’s me.

Watching the video releases a small cringe in me. I hope to be creative and enjoy myself, but the task reveals an undertow that says “I have something to say. I want to be heard.” It’s an audition after all: I am attempting to convince the judge of my value as a contestant.

This is one task that is not about the end result. It is HIGHLY unlikely that I will be taken seriously, but that was not the point. The purpose was to engage in something I’ve never done before that others would say “wasn’t typical” of me….but perhaps, as I check off task after task, I become a person that defies typicality in whatever I endeavor.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A New Relationship!

Last night I had an excellent date. Conversation flowed easily from politics (we disagree) to our family members to experiences in our lives that bring us joy. He ordered me wine and complained to the waitstaff when my fish was over charred. He shared his bread, and insisted on paying the bill. He complimented my appearance and made me feel feminine but strong and capable.

It is a joy to announce that I have befriended Jack who is 86 years old. He had a somewhat “bad” week, although he would never describe it in those terms. Men of his generation don’t complain. They bear it, but not grinning. So it was an easy choice for me to change plans at the last minute to be in his company.

Jack is one of my most favorite companions, and we visit weekly. The 2006 consensus estimated that 1.7 % of almost 300 million Americans are over the age of 85 (5.1 million people!). That’s a pretty big number…for an invisible group of people. They are even called the invisible generation.

There are numerous stigmatizations against this population, true, but even more detrimental is the fact that we isolate them from our day to day experiences. Think about it…when is the last time you spent quality time with someone in this category?

Contrary to popular conviction that learning ends with one’s formal education, adults are constantly in the posture of learning and formation. Learning as an adult is a form of empowerment, where formation leads to positive growth and change. It instills me with a newfound sense of responsibility to seriously consider my own role in my formation. I sometimes hinder my own learning by just following my routine, doing what is comfortable rather than exposing myself to new experiences (Thus my list!). I know I can open myself up more to listening to the perspective of my friend, for instance.

Adults are always engaged in a cyclical mode of development, and have the potential of changing themselves and making an impact on the learning of others. My friendship with Jack is the best class I’ve ever taken in my life. With three masters and a PhD, and a butt load of loans, that statement packs a big punch.

What relationship stretches your perspective?

#3 Befriend Someone over 80

I just wrote about my friendship with Jack and those relationships that teach us...but let me tell you a little more about why this was on my list...

Jack tells me frequently that the number one problem people his age face is lonliness. He has a supportive family and attends church, and has the blessing of a caretaker who spends hours with him most days of the week. But interacting with people not in his age range is difficult. Many people in nursing homes, most he tell me, only have visitors a few times each YEAR! Can you imagine not having any conversation, about the weather, the price of gas, Dancing with the Stars, how salty those French fries were, for the entire month?

The main reason I wanted to befriend a person over 80 was the fact that I was lonely, too. I had recently moved to the area and establishing friendship takes patience, tempo, timing. I needed to feel connected to something. It was pretty quick getting set up as a volunteer at the closest assisted living/nursing home to my house. Within two weeks, I was connected with Jack. For the last four months, I’ve seen him weekly. I sent him postcards from Costa Rica. I pick up snacks for him at the market, and clip out funny comics or bring him pictures kids make for me. He tells me stories of his youth, gives me advice about the economy and willingly philosophizes with me on a variety of topics. He is bright, friendly, and he likes me. Jack makes me feel like I belong. Like I matter.

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is madeby the friends we choose.”

Tennessee Williams

Hands down, Jack is one of the biggest blessings of my life right now. I am less lonely because of him, and I hope, he is less lonely because of me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

stages of grief

Saturday morning stretched out before me with endless possibilities, and I breathed in its potential: I could do anything I wanted today. I didn’t want a plan. I curled my toes in my bed and quickly calculated how long it had been since changing the sheets, advancing to the assessment of the dustiness of the hardwood floors, which meant laundry and some sweeping. My heart craved heading up to Seattle and just sitting in a café and writing. I climbed out of bed, realizing that I could adhere to those responsibilities in lickety split time and then head up to seattle. Hopes shattered turned into a mental note of how ingenious I was…this plan was perfect.

First, I needed to make a call…and that’s when it happened. The cell phone was dead…sitting in a minute quarter size of water on the kitchen counter. I tried everything for about an hour, solutions that involved googling, unistalling, blowdrying, walking away and returning…then proceeded researching new, used phones and my plan. THIS was ruining the plans of my unplanned day.

I became obsessed. The failed cell phone signifying my carelessness as well as my isolation. Suddenly, phone calls seemed paramount. Measuring how much I should spend on a new one possessed my fleeting thoughts. Considering taking into a company store while perusing Craiglist searching for a good deal. An hour passed, then two. I visited cell phone websites and calculated prices and the cost of being off the wire for a few days while it shipped. I emailed a dozen merchants or sellers and researched buying a used cell phone and methods of sacrifice to the cellular battery Gods to get the thing back online. I went through stages of grief: denial (the battery is just dead) anger (Verizon Sucks! Why can’t they make phones waterproof?) bargaining (if the phone comes back online I’ll name my first child Motorola) depression (why is the world so cruel and I am so incompetent)…I am still waiting on that acceptance part.

I guess the point of this story is how easily I get sidetracked and impatient with unexpected bumps along the road. I did manage to get the laundry done, and after three hours of this dilemma, I walked out of my front door and drove an hour north to a funky coffee, resisting the strong urge to pull over at the cell phone store and buy a new phone or a new battery. The compulsion is to FIX the problem RIGHT now, because I don’t make it right, rectify my idiotic lack of detail.

So, against all my brain efforts, I promise myself NOT TO FIX this problem for the weekend. I’ll return to it on Monday if possible. In the meantime, I’ll live off the grid and learn to live with it that uncomfortable compulsion…not acceptance, but a compromise at the very least.

(Confession: had to go by the store 3.5 hours later just to find out for sure… after a few glasses of chianti and a few hours surfing craigs list, acceptance feels good!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

#11 and #36 in ONE!

Visiting a Washington Winery
Picking an Apple from a Washington Farm

East of here, through the mountains, the Washington land produces sweetness. Sugars for which it is known. The almost three hour drive from my house offers an array of landscapes to stimulate the journey…moving from freeway emerald city urban, the deciduous ski country, giving way to fertile low lands, and then desert shrubs, and then, pow! Areas of orchards, vineyards, speckled with huge barns that read FRUIT ANTIQUES!

I guess the tradition here is so old that you can purchase fruit antiques.

Eastern Washington speckles color right now, the fingers of the fauna shooting off color and teasing the eye…maybe you’ll find something sweet here.

I needed to get away this weekend. I required, as the saying goes, “a change in perspective” What was so wrong with the perspective I was taking before my trip? Two words jump to mind: anxiety and complacency. The anxiety I believe boiling up and down due to all the negativitiy and uncertainty surrounding me these past few weeks. You see, it is in my job description and most likely personality structure to find things that are deficient, impaired, weak and “fix them.” I pay attention to the uncomfortable aspects of experiences, both on a case by case basis and on a cultural level. It is ingrained into my demeanor to notice such energies and analyze them, and most often, to respond to them in order to give way to relief, or improvement of some sort.

And my experience has lead to efficiency at it.

Yet, one cannot provide sufficient relief for many problems. Suffering often sums up greater than the hope I am engendering. It is in these seasons, usually a period of 5 weeks, that I find I need to “reset” “revision” and allow myself to accept grace and start my perspective fresh.

Thus, the escape. For me, traveling (which is self defined as staying at least one night away) most often enables this catalyzing change in perspective.

This weekend I found myself saying “everyone is so more friendly around here.” They would recommend that I spend my money at different business than their, they would throw their heads back in easy laughter, they would easily reminisce about a story and so easily shared their passions when encouraged. One man called me “trouble” which I am when I am my most authentic happy K. And this got me to acknowledge that perhaps it wasn’t just the people of the place that were more open, more congenial and approachable and more community-minded. It was me. It was my fundamental approach to the experience to embrace it fully and make the Positivity mine. Now, it’s true the equation doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes the people aren’t so friendly no matter how open you are (I think of Paris). Even then, however, I do believe it is a synergy, this traveling. Traveling can reveal insecurity (let’s say with French pronunciation) and a sense of inadequacy (in navigating Paris’ streets) and a feeling of inferiority (in anything artist or edible). These feelings may be carried like invisible luggage and that burden may prevent you from truly being free and thus you don’t find the place or the people or the experience liberating at all…

Most of the time, however, I like the version of myself when traveling. I am more capable, more grateful, less analytical, more trusting of my intuition, less goal oriented and more gracious all around. This weekend I found myself noticing light, watching the colors around me more easily. I shot pictures without action or identification in them at all. This is not like me. I’ve expressed to others that I disdain about traveling pictures…you can’t even tell YOU were there” I like to stamp my pictures with something connecting me to it. Functionality is key. I consider “will I print this? Would someone actually like to look at this picture? Place it on a fridge.

This weekend, however, I took multiple shots of the same object just for the exposure to multiple perspectives. A young bud of practice…

The change of perspective, whether gained from traveling (to wine country), the words of an expert (it’s cancer) or a relationship (Mom, I want some more water) powerfully marks our lives in a way that we too quickly habituate to. I want to be the “Traveling K” more in the “Normal Day K” or even the “Weekend K” or “Lunchbreak K”…

Who are you when traveling?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Letter to my body

Body letter

The task involved writing a short letter to our bodies. Well, not a community endeavor, because that would be a different audience, a collective purpose. No, this task was more specific, singular: MY BODY. Using MY VOICE. From MY HEAD. There was too much to say to jam into the parameters of X amount o words. I have a lot to say to my body. I have a lot of shaping to do, a lot of correcting, a lot of guiding and providing it insight. Most of the things I say are done out of positive intentions: It should be more proud, it should be less ashamed. Some of it was apologetic, requesting forgiveness. Across a month I attempted to produce some bit of communication, and yet a rebellion occurred. The voice emerging not mental in nature at all. It was my heart that spoke. My head wasn’t ruling over and wisely advising my body in the usual modus operand. No, the distant tone insisting the audience was my body. My body finally asserted that IT had something to declare to my mind, to the core of me.
Here is my body’s letter to my mind. Dear audience, do it justice and speak it aloud. This is not the space for shyness. Do not isolate it to the corners of your brain. It demands to be spoken, infused with the elixir of your lungs, your diaphragm, your breathy throat. Please, speak my heart.
Speak me
Speak me

You react to me as if I am unruly. You insist that I behave
You attempt to tame my appetites. You bind up my feet, cover up my lines and disguise my softness. You regulate my tempos, minimize my cycles, ignore my flow.
You attempt to mold me in some image for a crown you crave.
You minimize me in order to gain entry into a party room that does not have your name on the guestlist.
I scare you. I mesmerize you. I confuse you…you fail to notice how I swell, alter, shift. You’d rather forget me altogether.

You have got it all wrong.
I am not something you merely “have a relationship with”
I am not the foreign-tongued enemy that you bomb from distant lands, assuming your superiority. I am not the bestfriend to whom you whisper your secrets when the sun submerges.
I am not separate. Distinct. Something you possess, seize, rule.
I don’t belong to you.
I am not an image you have, a shape shifting mirage in the desert of your spiritual thirst.
I am not a part of you: the seeing part, the breathing part, the bleeding part, the fat or thin part.
I am all that you are:
An announcement of vigor, vulnerability.
The sacred, the secular

So… I will not beg for your mercy.
I will not crawl and request that you stop apologizing for me.
I will not defend my desires or barter for gratification.
There will be no passive-aggressive revolt against your discrimination.
There is no repentance required. No abdication to forgive.
Just the denouncement of illusionary exile.
And the proclamation of being.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hands and Home

Hands. Doing Something with your hands, shaping something into something else. Creating a whole from smaller parts. Seeing your contribution matter. I recently wrote about mattering and after volunteering just two times for Habitat, I know that this is the feeling it engenders. The connection, the clear fact that my behavior is leading to a positive outcome in this world full many negative ones. Contribution brings relief. The focus off of myself, temporary freedom from what-ifs, the if-onlys, if-this-then-that’s. When I feel connected and doing things that actually bring positive change, my self preoccupation is dampened. My dissertation involved looking at what youth articulate as being purposeful in their lives, and many of them noted areas of service. Perhaps they were just trying to impress the researchers, in a similar way that I attempt to curry the recognition o my supervisors. And yet deep down, I think people get this…we matter to others. In these days of anxiety about our futures, it is easy to become singular. To cease from giving in an attempt to reserve our resources. When we live in a culture of depravity, it is easy to become isolated. Perhaps a haven in the midst of the upheaval is to start seizing our non financial assets. To mobilize and capitalize on our ability to attend to the needs of others. To contribute. To stand up and cast our vision, our votes. To commit to one hour a week focused on a volunteer effort. Something that feels “like work” initially and slowing transforms into an investment with high dividends. Again, I say: You, you are part of me. We participate in the becoming of others. And this is what matters to me right now.

#13 Habitat for Humanity

There is something fundamentally inspiring in helping a person build a home. Our faith and ability to experience pleasure develops as our capacity to grow communally develops. And the more we exclude or confine ourselves to like-minded people, the more limited our gratitude remains. Too often we mark out “this is my space, this is yours.” Stay on this side of the line. That line can mark being female, having a certain educated, claiming to be a particular faith or voting party, living in a certain neighborhood or country, having a significant relationship or not.

For many moments in my life, these boxes have constrained my ability to experience life fully. And I am proud that the list is helping me shatter some of those boxes…and I find balance that it is in the act of building a box for someone to live in that my own are destroyed.

What is home to you? I heard numbers once that most Americans move every 4 years. I would guess that the number is higher for those of us 35 and under, perhaps shifting to move jobs, alter relationship status, finish parts of our education or training. And this mobility can exacerbate a loss of identity, a diminishment of affiliation, a forced letting go of ritual and an abandonment o ritual. All the things to me, that says home.

“Hello, Welcome” “You can trust this place” “You know what to expect” “You can go out and explore the world, but you will come back to this place of groundedness” “This is safe”

Homes define us. Which is why so many of us feel pressured to “own” them (see previous post here) But more than a place with things, I believe home is our sense of groundedness. A sense of being nourished, a sense of cultivating roots in our beings…

And those foundations MUST be connected to others.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Guilt Assault of the dirty microwave

How often do you resist the experiences that feel good to your body?
I was laying in bed this morning, sipping on Costa Rican coffee and wiggling my toes in the bed blanker while spooning up a chapter from my latest infatuating read. Heaven! Peace!
And then WHAM!
I got out of bed to warm up my coffee and noticed crap in my microwave. Deflation! Dirt! Bleach to the rescue! Must sanitize it! NOW! Deflation…REGRET. The thought was somehow that instead of sinking into the experience of pleasure, I should be doing something more productive. I had to sanitize my laziness and redeem it somehow.
For me, at times my body feels intolerable of my spirit, as if one were completely distinct from the other. The body and spirit feels as if they operate as rivilary teams---only one side can win at a time, and no matter what authority figures have told you, it is NOT about how you play the game. And yet, my moments of most aliveness are when the body and spirit raise white flags, call a truce, and decide to marry, even if for a brief, succulent twenty minutes. While I can sometimes articulate the triggers to this alignment, it cannot be manufactured or artificially designed.
What I do know is that at the moment when my body feels pleasurable, fear is present. It is hard to confess, but I feel as if I must point that out to myself, acknowlede and be mindful of that emotion of worry, anxiety, alarm. Dread accompanies the union as an inherited dowry of the union, because, as the pleasure swells, both appetites are momentarily appeased. First, initial release and exhiliration…quickly followed by guilt, the OH! Of expected dissapointment that the moment will soon pass. I often will then limit the experience of pleasure to be in control of its disminishment or to prevent getting overtaking by the allure of it and losing all sanity together. Silliness, I know…but the true fear is that the pleasure will transform me into a bed of impulses inducing unmanageable promiscuity, an unfaithfulness.
Yet true appeasement does not have to leave a mark of regret. Does it?
With a sparkling clean microwave you’d think that I’d be able to return to reading. But I couldn’t. The moment had passed…and so I turned to writing, the neutral zone of the warfaring fields. How often do you resist the experiences that feel good to your body?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Yep! I rode a motorcycle for the first time this last week! Let me tell you, there is something incredibly freeing about whizzing on a bike on the highway. The engagement with your surroundings makes the journey more alive, pulsing, more aware of the other travelers on the road, the details of the scenery, the state of the air and weather. Like any new experience involving the description "primal scream therapy" there was an inital fear and hestitancy...but after a few minutes of deep breathing, the fear of getting railed by another car lessened, and lo and behold, my body, my spirit relaxed. A balance ensued between adrenaline and new experience and peace, quite similar to experiences in Costa Rica. The next step is riding some more...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Just Renting

Unthethered. Not connected…just biding time.

Do you ever feel ashamed of being a renter? These are my thoughts this week, the sense of ambivilence that I am “just renting.” I think I must have said this term at least a handful of time this week. Either not willing or not capable of ownership. RENTER sometimes goes hand in hand with BEING SINGLE.

There’s a sense of shame for not having reached or not possessing that American Ideal of Success: Ownership. Possession of something.

And often women wait to own a home, or commit to a community/profession/senseofstyle/younameit, until we are in a serious relationship. It’s like were a pile of seedlings waiting to take root but longing for someone to transplant us into furtile ground.

“Nah I am just renting….”….”For Now,” I add quickly so he won’t think I am irresponsible either fincancially or relationally bankrupt.

With the all the drama unfolding this week regarding the ill state of the bedrock of American Security—consumerism—it seems funny that this notion of shame and “just renting” are married. In fact, many greedy people enticed people into financial obligations that they could not afford. Meaning they responsibly maintain their assets.

They weren’t ready. They weren’t mature. That’s what I’ve been hearing all week: “Be glad you don’t own anything right now, you’d be suffering.” But still, the sense of shame pervades…it is the first grey hair that arrives and you pluck out, knowing that you are silly because you keep thinking about it perplexed that something so small and insignificant on its own can signify confusion and betrayal of your own logical heart.

Do you know what “To RENT” actually means? A fissure. An opening. A breach. A schism….in plain terms, something that distances. To be separate from. I am “just renting” like I am “damaged goods” or “not ready yet” despite my efforts to prove to myself and others that I am not. Rent—a thin almost imperceptible rip in the fabric of being…that I hide behind a strong façade. Rent—the notion that something is being paid for without the assurance that it is long-lasting, not really belonging in one’s complete possession, temporary, insecure and unstable. Do you ever feel as if you are just perpetually renting your life? As if you do not outright own it securely, or are just occupying space?

Sometimes this fear of not belonging anywhere, of having a spiritual sense of self and other that is “just renting” prevents authenticity. I fear rejection, abandonment, that others will think that I am not good enough. There is something to prove: it is our worth, our entitlement to be alive and occupy space. Spiritually speaking, we want to demonstrate that we are useful. We are productive. Have us on your team and you won’t be sorry!

For me, I’ve always had this internal motor driving me forward. And it worked. I did win people over, earning scholarships, gaining entry into research projects, and being the most reliable and responsible person in the room.

But renting does not satisfy for long because we seek to belong. We anticipate it. We expect it.
Underneath the value of moving from renting to owning is the desire to belong somewhere and to be known. Let’s think about that desire rather than focus on that hallmark sign of “home ownership” we equate with maturity and success. Next time we say “I am just renting…for now”

I dare you to share how you are renting your life.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

#74 Tour A Farm

I've caught a big case of "Green Guilt". I haven't checked to see if my light bulbs are energy efficitent. My Scion, which gets around 34 mpg, is NOT a hybrid. I have compulsions to go into the trash and rescue aluminum cans. Americans are LAST in getting on the green wagon. Naturally, I want to compensate.

I guess around 20% of Americans also feel green guilt. ive days a week, my cable is set on channel 201, the Planet Green channel, where I am addicted to the show about cool green inventions. There is something super alluring about sustainable farming,
about being a good steward .

So I fed my addiction by touring an organic farm last weekend, located about 50 minutes away. There are many organic farms closer to me, but I visited this one because a group of women were gathering together to learn more about writing. So! The two, writing and farming, was too irrestible.

The "tour bus" is an old tractor
(I confess that I was thinking about how ineficient the old engine was that it might be polluting the air and thus the plants...)

My favorite part of the organic farm was the large section of herbs available to pick. A group of women there were selecting carefully in order to make a tea...a tea! AH! maybe that will be my next task...

Rush, Rush, Rush

A bug lands, searches, and intuitively searches for its purpose: to propel itself on. It is not aware of its fuller place in the larger network of the organic farm—the pollination, the protection, the advertising of the fruit’s stage o ripeness. The visit to the organic farm, the tour, revitalized how the sugar of existence bekons or ingestion. The natural cycle of seasons announces and reannounces something essential in all lie: birth, death, resurrection, particularly in autumn. Autumn, with the dying of warm everything, and the retreat of cool cravings and lazy inclinations. The proclamation of color right before the “fall”. Apples, pears, pumpkins. Saying those words out loud (try it now) is like a chant, offering a balm, a refuge.

Many people name autumn as their favorite season.
Say the words aloud again:
apples, pears, pumpkins.
There is something round, alluring, and freeing the fall from summer’s business of RUSH, RUSH, RUSH. That is my immediate modus operand to my life: Get IT Done. The quicker the better. Dispose of this thought, check this errand of the list, complete this task. Now, now, now.
There is no need to rush the autumn.
In autumn, on the farm, rushing is antithetical to production, to fertility, to the purpose of propelling forward.

The fly flies.

What are you rushing in your life?

(See more about the farm tour on my 101 list!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I slapped up the post below because I hear a lot these days about sisterhood...of the traveling pants variety, or the Secret Life of Bees, Ya-Yas....

but are you acting like a sister?

are you feeling like one?

Are you one to yourself?


“Will you be my sister?” The request came with a squeeze on my arm, and for some reason, the
combination of words and touch catalyzed the inevitable abeyance of doubt that unfolds in such matters of connection. The moment punctuated concerns of “good enough” and lack of shared history and ripened in my belly.

This was love.

Grace with skin on, this 6 year old with missing teeth. Scars threaded like rivers down her neck to her heart, paying homage to the veins and arteries unseen, but active, underneath. “You are to me, my Da-Da.” Translation: Sister.

Oh, God. This love is unbearable in its unbelievable beauty. Undeserved. Unearned. Undulated.

She didn’t even wait for a response from me. The deal had already been sealed. I belonged. She offered herself completely, and I was folded into her existence.

A flash of recognition quickened in my memory a split second later. As if waving hello to me. My epiphany. There was the identifiable hunger. The unexpecting joy that also finds a home in you. The unaware beauty that is also yours.

I traveled halfway around the globe, and it was winter in Kenya, and my feet were sticking into the mud swelling around the village. Forced to trudge. Forced to pick up my feet. And there she was, skipping. Literally, her movements were cadences of hope. And she was in you. And I carried you with me.

For there are moments, out here in this place and in this time, where our lives unravel. Where love discovers the rawness of our humanity, and lays bare ties that bind. This memory of mine is yours also, compelling a remembrance of something indiscernibly remarkable in the letting go. In the release. In the loss. In the distance.

Be untethered, my sister, to the fears that confine you. Do not be defined by the spaces surrounding you. For you must know how you are able to light up a room. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are a mystery to yourself, unabated in your splendor.

Step into yourself. And in the stepping, feel also that you are loved. Take this love I have for you from and for me. And take it with you. Take it and call it yours like only you can. Do not settle for complacency or passionless mediocrity. Have the courage to take it and speak into it.

Will you? Will you be my sister?

Will you be yours?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

#72 Try Rockclimbing or Canyoning

Jumping, scrambling, a sinking motion, treking down a rocky cliff. It's a drop, and in Costa Rica, canyoning entails rappelling down waterfalls.

Sure, I considered myself a normal, usually logical, rational PhD psychologist. I face my fears. I seek adventure, experience, a new opportunity. I am not prone to fear.

But fear pounded through each tiny capillary waiting to jump down that first waterfall. I chatted annoyingly in minimal spanish with our guides not to better prepare me, but to elicit all my educational skills of distraction to stop my body's fear of impending doom. Afterall, throwing oneself off the side of a waterfall is NOT NORMAL, people!

Here I am!

I LOVED IT! This experience was the first time (and perhaps that the last time) in a while that I peeds my pants....
just a sprinkle, but it counts!
Can't WAIT to try rockclimbing NEXT!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

# 63

Lay in a Hammock!
So, the first hammock I spent all of 5 minutes in (in Carribean) but the second one, wow! Look at the view I captured at 5:15 am one morning. I journaled here and it completely sent my heart in a state of awe. Beginning my days in such a fashion, a moment of centering, of reflection, reminded me again of how to feel beautifully free.

The hammock experience, swinging peacefully, reminded me of this quote:

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.-Meister Eckhart

Many Items completed!

"WILD" The word erupts from my mouth carefreely when people ask me how my vacation to Costa Rica went. Because "good," "great" and "awesome," just doesn't do it justice. Why WILD? For one thing, I rappelled down flipping waterfalls, zipped in the air through a rainforest, boated through jungle-river canals, watched a 2-hour process of sea turtles laying eggs, hiked through jungle trail by a dormant volcano (with an ill defined path!), sucked coconut sponge and slurped coconut jelly, and capsized in a lake. I broke my sunglasses, misplaced my beloved Sigg Water Ball in a "soda" (a family run small eatery) waterlogged and ruined my digital camera (from the kayak fall on the lake) and sunburned my head through my cornrows. I met cool people from Belgium, Portugal, Canada, France, Holland, talked a police officer (okay, bribed) out of detaining my traveling partner, got a massage from Juan Carlos, and woke up everyday with the sunrise…Not to mention, I chucked A LOT OF LIFE in this trip! Overlooking my list, I experienced 5 of them within the week (and I began training to complete that crossword by March 31 2010 in airports, on buses, amid boats!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The morning started off as if any other: the tapping toes while pulsing my coffee beans (the extra 30 seconds feel like agony but the taste outweighs my impatience) the scrambling of ensuring I am in physical possession of my ID badge, the mental checklist during the commute of "remember to pick up…., you should call…., don't forget…." The half-listening to DJ editorialize a political candidate. I was my usual 10 minutes behind. Deciding (uncharacteristically! Don't judge me!) to park in an "off-limits" lot, I accessed a hospital door infrequently accessed by me…and ran into one of my first patients from this position.
I work primarily, solely with children.
And she had grown. Her hair was cut more adult-like, she was toting a stylish purse, as if
remarking to the world her more mature status, and the manner in which she carried herself was clear: HERE I AM SUN! GET READY! I AM GOING TO TOUCH YOU TODAY.
And immediately I smiled.
When her eyes located mine, indeed, the world was caught off guard. Without hesitation and inhibition, she now girlishly skipped over to me and threw her arms around me. Such unabandoned affection, such physical affirmation first thing in the morning was so alarmingly stirring all rational thought left me. In the moment, all my poised preparations for the day leaked away, and my brain dumped that recognition of being "behind. "
Because she remembered me. Because I mattered to her.
There was no behind. There was no not enough. There was no must do.
Whether you live alone or have a family, our days too often begin with a lack of awareness of the meat of our interactions. It's not because I am single that I am not touched in the morning. I gather that even if I had children, the bubble would preside, articulating: "Don't touch! You will DETER me!" We mend a robotic imperialism that does not allow us to engage, experience, connect, live.
If I had not been late, behind, I would have never experienced this creature, on the cusp of young womanhood, and would not have been touched.

When do you know that you matter?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I ate a quail Egg!

Task #9

Eat a Quail Egg

I've always wanted to eat a quail egg...especially because it seems as if all the gourmet cooking shows that I love, like Top Chef and FoodNetwork Star, seem to pull off simple, yet elegant by adding quail eggs to their creations. So, 6 days into my trip to Costa Rica, a salad popped up on a menu in La Fortuna's Don Rufinos. The salad boasted oranges, nuts, a pomegranite dressing, greens, and these eggs. What exactly is a quail egg?
Well, it is smaller than a chicken egg, and when you pop it in your mouth, it tastes a little sweet....but honestly, a little tasteless. funny, because I heard they have a TON more cholesterol than a regular egg. This one was boiled, so perhaps it would taste different fried...

Monday, August 18, 2008


Perhaps it is just me, and not a function of being female. But I see a lot of women, especially single women, accounting for things. We are trackers, counters, adder-uppers. Earners. I am growing weary of the inceessant need to prove myself deserving of X, Y, Z and the other 23 remaining letters signifying anything that I want. Such as, "I deserve to spend extra bit of something at Trader Joes because I didn't get the expensive cheese last time." Goodness! What a mouse-trap. Or, "I haven't bought a new pair of (fill in the blank) for over a (lengthy time span goes here" therefore, getting it now is okay." As if delay of gratification or denial grants my desires validation.
Do you find yourself doing this?
Dare I ask WHY? My bad habits involve overjustification, an obsession with rationalizing this or that, and thus domesticizing of filtering my longing to render them more palatable to myself...
No one will ever ask me to account for these things...but I;d like to be ready should they ever pull me over and demand to know if I should really be indulging in that I Tunes purchase...just in case I downloaded some things a few hours previously, or yesterday....or for the last month. But no one asks, because, overall, I am a sensible woman who makes excellent decisions...I don't need to defend myself against the scrutiny of others, it's just me in here who is intensely analyzing these details.

And I don't see a lot of men saying, "I don't know if I should go see that movie, I already took some me time away from the girlfriend Wednesday when I played basketball." Why do women like to tell ourselves that "we deserve it?"

Okay, you know what? Screw the why...I don't want to think about WHY any longer...I just want to know HOW. HOW do I stop keeping score against myself? Will it become more natural with age? With experience?

Am I in outerspace on this one, does any one do this too?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Task #19 Sing a Song in Public

Task #19
Sing a song in public

Feeling funky, feeling sad & frustrated…that my battle with these negative emotions was futile. I was noticing them, aware of them, but just because you are noticing and aware of the dishes in the sink doesn’t eradicate their existence. Yep, “Ms. Pissy Pants” and I can’t really adequately describe my feelings that would give this state justice, so enough said there…

But the park sparkled, and I noticed that, too. And I SO wanted to be in a positive state, to seize the moment, to feel connected and alive. The thought to enjoy “THIS BEAUTY” right now, flustered me…HOW? HOW? HOW? My mind short circuited, and Ms. Pissy Pants was still winning…awareness and thoughts had little effect, a toothpick shoveling a pile of bricks. I wanted freedom, escape from this funkyness, and despised the dissonance between what I wanted and where I was inside.

AH! Step in the power of the list….

Abandoned the thoughts and just DID. With fullness of my lungs, I belted the song, and in the bottom of my uterus, something clicked away. No matter the stares, the impression I was exuding, I was just ME. Purely ME, not performing, not achieving, just this animal vocalization of something essential…

And out of the blue, POOF! Ms. Pissy Pants deflated….

Here is the last clip of video from the task! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

To Read or Not to Read

July 2nd, 2007
Task #83
Visit the biggest bookstore in America: Powells in Portland

My being is like a sailing ship, that is not ready or destined to dock…it is always roaming about the waters. Yet, my being still finds the light from the house on the shore assuring….Books are my lighthouses. They provide groundedness---a stability, in malleable form…always changing, the interpretation so connected to experience of the here and now.

For the past two moves of my life, I go through a process of purging items. I rate my belongings on a scale of 1-5 and only items rated a 4 or 5 come with me. I don’t own much, so it must say something that 50% of the boxes I unpack each time are books of some sort.

And I have a passion for independent bookstores. This is my “Cheers”…my church. My place of worship, where the sacredness in me is honored and I am known as a regular, and often recognizable for pursuing the “pews” but also so unknown as well by the other parishoners, the most essential parts of me hidden or unexplored, and only tapped into when I pick up a book and possibility fumes from the pages below.

God help me should I ever go blind…my heart would hurt so much from the lack of freedom I would experience from the depravity of picking up a book and the surge of empowerment I feel from deciding whether to read or not to read…

For me, books are a pathway to hope. They are the key to transformation, the illumination of evolution. Not an escape, but a compass for sailing in a direction to an undiscovered, yet-to-be-named terrain that waits for me to claim it as my own.

And thus, Powells in Portland was mind-blowingly awesome. So awesome that I hope that it starts a new tradition of seeking out independent bookstores wherever I travel…any suggestions?

About Me

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PhD in clinical psychology. Single. Pushing 30. Suffering Whiplash from the Roaming 20s...Who am I? What do I want? Where do I belong? Welcome to my self-induced treatment, a testament that we can all be a little crazy in our search for significance.