Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Let Me Count the Ways

Constant lister, frequent completer of lists  
lists create obligation, 
incentive to achieve. 
The dark side of lists, 
they sometimes feel like little alarms going off in my brain, 
other times they sound like bells. 
Permission to destroy, rewrite, revise lists so they fit the me now.
 Letting things rest like bread so different tasks have the time and space to rise and gestate. 
Choose your own adventure - get rid of the censor make
 wings out of postits 
and fly 

Monday, July 23, 2012

How we play the game

Midday at the Pinball museum in Alameda - hot, still air, busier than I've ever seen it. I'm not good at pinball, but I really enjoy it... love the bells, the lights, the rolling balls the flipping flippers. Playing pinball reminds me of playing the slots, except more fun, and less money lost.

On this day I was pinballin it with my sister ,and a cousin, and tried a new (to me) marble game - at first it made no sense, then gradually with practice it all started to become clearer... It is so easy to forget that with a little time, patience, and repetition most information starts to sort itself, and fall into place. The fact is, I often expect that I should swim immediately when dropped in new waters. The truth is, I may swim, I may flail - it's a big unknown...

The reflexive expectation of immediate mastery, and harsh judgement, when I fall short is what makes me so weary at the thought of trying new things.  The high value gambles can be the hardest to make, I will walk around the world and scrub all of the grout in the house to avoid failing at the things I really want. This keeps me safe, from  the larger world,  and the grout clean - am working on doubling my rate of failure, trying more, forgiving more. Inspired by this post on the Discardia blog     http://www.discardia.com/2012/07/keep-experimenting.html

Friday, July 20, 2012

Looking into the Mirror.

Ace Hotel Portland

I first read this poem in The Time Traveler's Wife  by Audrey Niffenegger. Both the book, and this poem, are favorites of mine. So rich and multi-layered. Sitting and appreciating the stratta of self... 

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

- Derek Walcott 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

P.S. Take a breath

In June of 2010  I was 2 years into owning my own business, 3 years out of a hard break up, and about 5 deaths in to a 7 deaths (in 8 years) family death streak.  I was dried out, and yearned for some time out, rest, and contemplation. I wanted to go to Hawaii.

I bought some crazy sandals for the (so far fictitious) trip, and kept saying out loud that I was planning on going to Hawaii - and voila - I ended up with a trip to Hawaii - my dream trip, staying at the hotel of my choice. My head was spinning, and I was thrilled. For the first time I was going on a trip just to relax, and look at the water.

Here's what happened. My hotel was beautiful, so was the ocean... I found out that without any general busyness, or anyone to blame my crankiness on, I was unable to let go. I observed my inner dialogue, and found out that I was mean to myself, keeping myself uncomfortable a lot of the time - I was playing control games. For Example : I need to go to the bathroom, so instead of going, I set a goal to read another paragraph.

This whole unconscious internal cruelty was news to me, and, it explained so much about why I wasn't feeling balanced and loved, even in good situations. Bottom Line, I wanted to learn how to be kinder to me. 

Every morning  I wrote myself letters with drawings, and insights, and mailed them to myself at home.  I didn't want the awareness that I had gained to just disappear, and the letters were a gift to the me in the future. I had been holding on so hard, trying to control the world, that I wasn't able to receive, from myself, or anyone. I wanted to learn how to receive -  I came up with a new mantra: Open one hand, Open the other hand, Open your heart. Easier said than done, but repeating it was a good reminder of my intention. 

The habit of ignoring my needs was going to be hard to break, so I came up with a list to lean on when I start to feel off. This is the list I use(d) for kindness training. 

1. Take a Breath
2. Go to the Bathroom
3 Drink some water
4. Have a small protein snack (nuts)
5. Take another Breath

It was a good place to start. When I returned from Hawaii, I started working the kindness steps, and began learning how to treat myself as someone of worth. The first step being, my most basic human needs. Who Knew.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Here I am, back in the cyber world. My acceptance into Camp Mighty brings me out of the shadows, and into the public place of documenting my dream to reality accomplishments, and the  small adventures of food, fabulousness, and folly that make my world a better place. 

As a fairly solitary bear I hesitate to publicly put pen to paper - however, I love the magic, and if not magic, insight, that can happen within a supportive community. So, without further ado:

Ann Patchett wrote a long essay on writing called The Getaway Car, this quote strikes a major chord for me:

  "I believe that, more than anything else, this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself."

So true - the passages that surround this, about being willing to take your perfect mental picture, and birth it however imperfectly into the real world gives me the impetus to get my dreams dirty, and reach out of the ill fitting box of safety, and into the world of infinite success, and failure, humanity, and possibility. So scary - so exciting. These are the roots of reaching out.