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 fa├žade. 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...

About Me

My photo
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.