Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Lamb and the Lion (and the Kitty)

The night before last I had a dream there was a very large lion in my room, and it was lying on the floor, beside Kitty, who was pawing at him, and he was starting to behave threateningly, like he wanted to squash her. I woke up, as you do, thinking wow that was life-like. I was trying to understand it, why the Lion was not tolerating a small kitty, just being playful. When I got to work at the thrift store and walked throughout he vestibule, where all of the donations are placed when the store is closed. along the wall, was a stretched linen on a frame with a lion and a lamb and a goat on it. It was the Isaiah passage from the Bible:
¶ The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
Isaiah 11:6
I took note of it as I walked in. A few minutes later, in walks a lady and her daughter, shopping for things to create her Halloween costume. They gather their goods together and tell me about why they are buying them. They've chosen a challis material with gold feathers on either end of it. She is going to be a Lion for Halloween. I tell her of my dream and She says, maybe you are supposed to read The Chronicles of Narnia. Irene Piffer) has been suggesting I read that book for a long while.

I look up the meaning of the passage, though, I get the general idea: ways shall be mended. I find this description:
"The "lion and the lamb shall lay down together" is often cited a prophecy speaking of a literal utopia on earth to come - a Golden Age - referred to as 'The Millennium'. It is argued that since so many of the prophecies regarding The Christ's first appearing were fulfilled literally, surely such prophecies of a Golden Age will also be fulfilled literally. This yet-to-come Golden Age ("The Millennium") is spoken of as "Paradise Restored" - an age of Paradise on earth where there will be no death, sorrow, pain or sickness. The prophets described this era with the expression, "the lion and the lamb shall lay down together..." But there is a slight, ever so slight, problem with this: the expression, the lion and lamb shall lay down together does not occur in the Bible! The closest we can get to it Isaiah 11:6."

Since that colloquialism, the Lamb and the Lion shall lie down together doesn't seem to exist in the bible, but this variation does, It would seem that its purpose is to suggest with more exaggeration, that ALL WILL BE WELL.The Twain shall meet.
There will be unity.

My dream about the kitty and the Lion tho reminds me somewhat of what I have been observing with good Old Hudson. In my dream, Kitty was behaving much like Hudson does on a daily basis. Relentless. I've been observing him and thinking that in all of the ideas for my future I've been having, that I try them all out. Take each Idea as a gift, and then, without relent, see them through, whether they come to pass or whether they are crags to get footholds on as I reach for the furthest rock within my grasp, grab hold and step up. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

New Trails, Old Trails and Alternate Paths.

There's a wonderful park system where we live. Land Grants and National Parks, State Parks and nature preserves. There's a new one right down the road from me. The trails are developed  but the entrance was just opened and the parking lot and rules of the trails installed. I love to hike and walk and stroll parks with my dog, and my husband when he's able, and my kids if they will.

Our New Dog Hudson is happy to oblige. Since he was a puppy I've observed his behavior in new settings. What I noticed across the board is that he only hesitates for the briefest moment, is pensive only for a breath, before he decides to move forward, and walk right through. Around the corner from our house at the beach there has been new construction. A house being built all summer long. Drills and hammers and loud machines. Trucks chugging, men digging and scraping. We have to walk past it all to get to the water source he likes to explore. Sometimes he stops and just observes what the work crews are doing amid the noise and haste. He hesitates only for a moment but then walks right through. I decided not to drag him through to encourage him not to be afraid, but to follow his lead and just wait. When he's done observing, we move along on our way. My husband has told me that when he walks him, sometimes he just stops and  sits down, seemingly in protest. He wants to go home. When he was a younger puppy, he did that a lot. You forget their legs are still short and they've only played in the confines of a gated 'community', a pen, with their siblings while they awaited the trip home with their new folk, their new family.

As we walk the new trails down the road from my house, I note his excitement and mine too, but a slight hesitation even though there are trail maps on a sign as we get out of the car, and they seem cut and dry. They always seem cut and dry, but

often, it takes me a few times in, to know it by heart. For the red trail and the yellow trail and the and the blue trail cross at times. They overlap and I'm left to decide which path to take. I'm a kinesthetic learner, I learn by doing, and having done.

I took an alternate path the other day- I was talking to my dad on the phone as we hiked along. It was a beautiful early autumn day. As usual, I hadn't left enough time really, to do the hike I would have liked to do. I wanted to get Hudson out for a nice jaunt before my art class, when he'd be relegated to his crate for a few hours. In conversing with my dad,  I took a different offshoot than I had the last two times I'd been here- I was remarking to my dad, how we'd only been here once when, Hudson took to the trail running at warp speed, like it was in his bones to run this trail. Like he knew it already by heart. In marveling at this, I realized I must have missed the entrance back to the trail as we were no longer on the stretch along the open fields that I recognized.

I'd taken an alternate trail.

I told my dad I'd have to go since I had to get to my art class and I needed to find my way back. Dad's don't like to hear you've lost your way on a trail out in  the woods.

Perhaps I should rely on Hudson's nose. He's proven it to be very good. On the beach this summer he found all kinds of souvenirs, 4 of which had human scent. 3 hair bands and a pair of headphones. I had found this quite interesting. I trust his nose more than I trust my own eyes. I picked up a cute greeting card once with  child drawn stick figures of a person and a dog. It said, "If your dog doesn't like someone, maybe you shouldn't either." and it quoted a 6 year old.

When we get to a stream we need to cross, Hudson eagerly stops to drink. The trails are forged by horseman and where you enter and exit the stream are soft, hoof-impressioned mud cakes. I am wearing nearly new tennis shoes. I choose the side where rocks that peek out of the water line the creek, but there's a down hill edge that's wet and more inclined to horse hooves than to Saucony Cross Training shoes. I take my time. My Yoga and Mindfulness serve me every day. Hudson has easily completed his crossing not stopping to think.

  Mindfulness is his way of life and he never shuts his yoga off. He awaits for me eagerly 15 feet beyond the crossing, concerned for me, watching where I've decided to place my feet and the stones I choose to use to get across. I've eyed up, of course the ones that look sturdy. I think Hudson bypassed them all and just leapt over the whole darn stream, intending to land on dry, stable ground. He's crossed this trail before and it only takes him once to know.

I can try to follow my steps back from where I think I came from, or  I can take an alternate trail and see where it goes.

I think I'll take the alternate trail and see where it goes. By this time now, I've entered on the blue trail, strode the yellow, I've found where the red trail sides up and walked that too. I hear there's another- the grey trail, maybe I'll dip into that one too. I note his excitement, and mine too. If I can't readily find my way back, I'll ask Hudson to assist. I trust his nose, but I trust my own inner compass too. Together we'll get there. together we two.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Whys and Wherefores of it All

Separating things
easier to digest 
and use 
and find

is the mother in me, 
the idealist in me,
the practical-ist in me

the consolidator in me

clawing her way into the light
with a roll of wrapping paper
some bows 
and a pair of scissors, me,

to deliver
what's presented
itself to me

In the most obvious way that I can, me.

Which is to say, 
"and the Angels sing"
and although I thought I was an Alto, 
I release a drawn out Soprano "ahhhh"

which is the result 
of a complete exhalation.

a decision.

Which is a relief 
of profound proportions

Where there is a Will,
There is a Way, me.

May I introduce you,

to Me.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Of Walking Sticks and Crutches, Puppies and Dogs

Last week we got a new puppy. It has been 5 months since our dear dog Captain died. Although we knew his death was imminent due to Cancer, and despite our best efforts, his loss was particularly difficult for me. If you've read any of my posts here, you may have happened upon quite a few whose focus is Captain. He taught me a lot. He brought me much Joy. He  kept me afloat. Experiencing his Cancer alongside him, and his amputation and recovery was one of my great Life challenges thus far. Making decisions for another soul is particularly hard. Especially for one who can't speak. The thing about Captain was his intention. He wanted to engage you. He wanted your attention. He wanted to make you laugh. And he did. When he left, he took those things with him. 

We've always had wonderful pets. God's gifted us that way. We've been given pets that are loving, and gentle. Pets that are funny, pets that show you Joy and pets whom others loved just as much as we did. When Captain died, I immediately contacted our breeder and discussed the possibility of a puppy. I'd automatically assumed we'd get another, just because we've always had one. And just because it had always been such a good thing for our family. For a minute there, Terry objected. He felt as if we needed more freedom now- the ability to travel at will. I was crushed. The thought of our family without a pet was something I couldn't fathom. 

Ever since I was a child I've connected with animals. I've needed them in my heart. Mostly, they were cats. If you've read any of my posts, you may know there were a few cats in my past. But not because my family were pet people- but in spite of the fact that they weren't. I'd like to think my folks saw my need to care for and connect with another at a different level,  and agreed to support that; but it might have been that they were tired and relented; with exceptions- no indoor pets. And I was the only one- of their seven children  who had that distinct need. Even bough I had been bitten in the face by a gas station dog who was chained to a fence. I needed to make it clear to Terry- that being with a pet was a function of my well being. I bemoaned this somewhat when I spoke to our vet of his death- I told her ashamedly that Captain had been my crutch- but she said, not crutch- walking stick. An important  distinction. 

So now we have a puppy. But the thing is, as I learned when we got Spencer, and and  learned when we got Captain, this dog isn't Captain, and this Dog isn't Spencer, and this dog isn't Marlin. It's a different Dog. It's a dog who's only job is to be himself, and to show me  "himself."  I've made the mistake of comparing them, and my kids have pointed that out. "Mom, he's not Spencer" I loved Spencer dearly. He was quick to curl up with me when ever I sat down.  Captain wasn't the same. But Captain ended up to be Captain; the dog who curled up behind the bend in my legs each night, the dog who kissed me incessantly every day without fail- the dog who did things specifically to make me laugh-The Dog whom I felt was God making himself known to me- reminding me of one of the places he resides. Dog spelled backward is clearly God. Captain had given me many blogposts. Stories. Not just about his every day antics, although they were entertaining enough- but metaphors and analogies- reassurance and comfort for whatever I was challenged by at any given moment. He gave me answers through his behavior as we hiked along; wherever and whatever we were doing- he had something of depth to convey. He was my pocket monk. 

This puppy clearly isn't Captain. At least not in this puppy stage-he is relentless and willful and attempts to eat everything in site: mulch, grass, flowers plants, leaves, and anything he can pick up. He isn't afraid of anything. He is pensive only for the shortest moment, and then walks right through. He barks incessantly at new dogs he meets, and when my brother-in-law's dogs growl at him, he doesn't heed their warning. When I open the laundry room door, he hightails it straight to the cat's litterbox and gets himself a treat. "No"apparently means step right up-and have another! I called the Breeder on day two, concerned that there was something terribly wrong. It wasn't met with much help, except the remark that we must be doing something wrong! Not feeding him enough, not giving him enough exercise....  No one in my family seemed as concerned as I. But I guess they are smarter than I. I guess they are expecting him to grow out of these things. Funny, I don't remember Captain having any challenging behaviors. But, he was a puppy once too. 

I just hope our new Puppy, Hudson will want to hike with Me. I hope he'll show me who he is. But what I'm wondering at this moment is if this puppy needs a walking stick. If perhaps I'm his walking stick. At least for now, or if we'll take turns being each other's walking sticks. 

Hikes are always easier with walking sticks.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Apples and Oranges: Both Fruit

When my son was 17, he got a Jeep Wrangler. A few of his friends had them too. It wasn't long after he got it, that he discovered there was a fraternity among a Jeep  Wrangler owners: When you pass one, you wave to each other. He thought this was kind of neat- I did too.

I had always driven an SUV of some kind, myself. When I graduated from College, I was eager to buy my own first car. My dad was a co-signer, and wasn't very eager to sign off on something other than practical, so I got what, when  I look back on it, was an old Man car. A Chevy Celebrity. It was, however a NEW car. I had been all ready to buy a used Thunderbird, but on the day I brought my Dad in to look at it, there was bad news! The car dealer's son had taken it out for a Joy ride and crashed it. 

I had the Celebrity for  maybe 5 years, and it carried me through my first two children, until we were expecting our third, and we decided upon the newest family car out there, an SUV. The Ford Explorer was the first in  its class. It was a great car, and so were the next two that followed, which got larger and larger. Our next car was an Expedition, and as our kids grew and we had  friends along for every excursion it seemed, we got the biggest one yet- theYukon Denali. It was a beautiful big boat, and served us well, but as the kids got old enough to drive themselves, and soon were driving cars of their own,  I felt compelled to get something more economical myself. Something that got more than 12 miles to the gallon, but My husband wasn't interested in a Hybrid, which was what I was wanted - the Ford SUV that was Smaller than our original Explorer--the Escape. 

So we met in the middle. I got a Mini Cooper Clubman. The next size up from the classic Mini Cooper. I got my fuel economy, and style factor, he got the engine. This was  a wonderful treat, but a transition as well. I had never had a car that wasn't practical- the Mini, although, much more fuel efficient, was sporty and fun to drive. We also no longer had a cargo vehicle. This was the perfect opportunity for Terry to trade in his company car sedan, for an SUV himself. This was win win win. 

It didn't take long for me to realize that there was a fraternity among Mini owners too. The unwritten rules of  owning a Mini Cooper include waving and possibly beeping at one another when you pass each other on the road, ( I've personalized this with the peace sign) and parking beside other Minis when there's an empty spot beside another. You just can't help it anyway. They seem to belong together. Classic Minis from the 1950's or state of the art 2015 models, you want to acknowledge your connection. Old or new, you have something in common-your shared sensibility and aesthetic.

It's an informal Mini Meet Up. Where as the formal meet ups might be road Ralleys or Pajama Breakfasts at nearby restaurants. Or Road Ralleys  to far off places where everyone starts at one location and hits the road in long lines, traveling winding roads as a unit and hitting the great open to go motoring, as it's called. At zippy speeds, dotting the highway with cheerfully colored humming engines are we, like cells creating the body.

There's something very fun about having a car that connects you to others you don't know, and may never know, but have something immediately in common with. It's like Cousins- they are a given. You know you've always got them,  you've got something immediately in common- and before you  ever even meet- you are family. You're family. And you're connected by a common theme. Blood. You know all of the quirky features and accept them as unique stamp. Perhaps that's how family crests were conceived.

But why, I wonder, don't Explorer people wave and nod at one another? Or Yukon People, as they carry seven car-seats-full of adolescents to a birthday party,  or Excursion  People. What about them. Are they less friendly?
What is it about a Jeep Wrangler or a Mini Cooper  that makes you want to acknowledge one another and pat each other on the back for your exquisite taste in transportation?

It's a sort of comradery you feel at a distance even as you pass one another. I'd go as far as to say it's an energetic connection. I've tried the wave to other models of Mini- like the Countryman, or the  Coupe, but don't often get a response. I don't know if they wave to each other or not; they may not see us as one of their own- Either they haven't gotten the memo, they only wish to wave at those of their own, or their just a shy breed. I may never know.

But I know this. I still find myself waving  when I'm driving my husband's car, which must really wrack their brains as they try to figure out who they know who drives a Black Denali.

I think the roads would be that much more wonderful if we all waved to each other, and acknowledged each other as members of the same family of  those who commute.
But  barring that, I'm glad I have my own little extended family of Mini enthusiasts to energetically connect with like ships in the night as we Motor along, and if Im driving my husband's Denali and Wave to some Minis  along the way, then I've given them something to be curious about as they  motor along, and I bet thinking it was another Mini Enthusiast never  even crossed his  mind.

In the end We're all out there just trying to get to our destinations, experiencing our journeys in the vehicle we choose carrying valuable cargo. Ourselves.

In the Movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, families come together from different backgrounds, and challenges arise because they fail to understand one another. As a toast, the father of the bride, who likes word origins,  makes a point when referring to the wedding couple's last names:

Gus Portokalos: You know, the root of the word Miller is a Greek word. Miller come from the Greek word "milo," which is mean "apple," so there you go. As many of you know, our name, Portokalos, is come from the Greek word "portokali," which mean "orange." So, okay? Here tonight, we have, ah, apple and orange. We all different, but in the end, we all fruit.

Monday, May 26, 2014

When you least Expect it....

I had a flat of flowers sitting on the table on my deck for a few days. My plan was to plant them in the pots that were already overridden with clover and weed, this late May day. It had been in the 60's by this time, so it was safe to plant them. I just hadn't yet. Since we were going away for the weekend, I thought I should get them planted before we left.

One by one, I began releasing the Portulacca from their little plastic market packs.  I love their mini little rose-like appearance, and the varied colors in which they come, and the fact that most are not in bloom when you get them, so you really never know what color they'll be. They may be multi colored or you may get a plethora of white or fuchsia. You just never know. But I have to admit, another reason I love them so much, is that they're drought tolerant--and since we go away for a good chunk of the summer, I know they'll be alive when I return, and I can water them till their heart's content, content myself in the knowledge that they'll come back, brighter and fuller and happier when they're renewed by the nourishment they need once again, despite the challenge they faced.

Another reason  I love them is that they reseed, and throughout the season, new little spouts are always emerging. Inevitably, then again, in the spring, new sprouts arise again from last year's fallen seeds. The first time I planted them, I didn't notice that the fallen seeds were coming up concurrently  as the original flowers grew, and are hidden below the established flowers, so seeing them sprout in the spring, after a winter of dormancy, was an unexpected surprise. Tiny, tiny, carpets of what look like Portulacca leaves. Oh!

When pulling the weeds  that have also dropped seed from the pots I am about to plant, I am careful not to accidentally pull the bonus seedlings, placing then three of the market pack plants into each of the pots and planters and as I'm nearing the end of my planting, I begin to hear the rumble of thunder. I'm unaware that rain is expected, but before I can get inside, the first of the rain begins to fall heavily.

I move on to the sunroom in my house and use the watering can I had planned to use outside, on my aloe plants inside. By this time, the rain has become torrential and the wind has picked up. I'm not too terribly surprised, because I'm not one to seek out the weather report. I'm enlightened every day by it. It begins to get louder as it strikes the skylights above me and I suddenly realize that it's no longer rain, but hail!  Hail in the month May.

At first I'm alarmed, but I quickly come to realize that it's something to behold. It's an unexpected surprise. I worry for a moment that my poor Portulacca seedlings will be harmed, as a significant amount of hail has fallen. But when it subsides, and the sun almost immediately emerges, I go outside to touch it. I gather it together between my palms, sweeping it into a small pile.

I inspect them and note their varying sizes and shapes.  Some look like the heart wood of a branch of a tree, and some are perfectly round  like the little silver balls you see on wedding cakes.

I'm not one to seek out the weather report. I'm enlightened every day by what it brings.  Perhaps I'd be better served on some days, to have checked the weather report first, and I may end up caught unaware, unprepared. But much like my drought tolerant Portulacca, I am resilient. 

A collection of hail can accumulate around the base of a flowering plant, in an unexpected hail storm in the middle of May,

but being Spring time, the sun is quick to return, and the hail very quickly melts, nourishing the root system, which allows it to flower and reseed, renewing it once again. Perhaps when you least expect it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Breaking through Barriers

When I was little, I played a game on the playground with my friends. It was called Red Rover. Maybe you played it too. Basically, you chose up even teams, and each side would line up, arms grasping arms, overlapping , creating a wall, or barrier of children. Two sides, two barriers of children, on either side of the playing field, facing each other. The goal of the game was to have the strongest held barrier wall. Each side took turns, allowing one person from each side, or team, to run full speed, directly at the opposing barrier wall of linked people in an attempt to break through the grasp of those tightly held arms, thereby breaking the chain in half. 

If the chain isn't broken, then the player changes teams, linking up with them.  The competition  ends when the last person comes to the opposing team, and what's left is one lone barrier wall. 

It all begins with an Invitation. 
The first team chants loudly, "Red Rover Red Rover, let Billy (or Bobby, or Suzy...) Come over! " And they brace themselves for his arrival, trying not to let him break into their chain, their team, their tribe. Inevitably, the chain will be broken, and like it or not, the team whose chain is broken, loses a player  to the opposing team. The teams are now lopsided. The team with fewer players now has an opportunity to break the opposing team's chain. The game continues until, there is one person left. And the invitation's called. "Red Rover, Red Rover, let Terry come over!" In the end, all of the children end up on the same team, the same side. 

In order to get the game going, someone has to take the initiative to suggest the game be played. The second child who agrees to play - he or she makes the first child's idea OK. Without the second child, there would be no game.

Others will be more likely to accept the invitation to play if Two are already committed. 

The game requires an even number of children, and the more the better.  with only a few children, the game is soon over.
 Everyone has permission to invite more players. The whole playground is a source. All of the children on the playground can play. The More who are willing to join, the more additional children will join. 

That's the power of an invitation. Whatever it is that you're doing, or enjoy, or know in your heart is inherently good, you have the opportunity to give an invitation to others to join you. They may or may not know how, they may or may not have the confidence. You may or may not know how, you may or may not have the confidence- They may or may not have the courage. 

But if YOU have the courage to offer an invitation, 
the likelihood of inspiring the creation of a team increases. 

Alternate interests and alternate skill sets may only seem like barriers. But with an invitation, there is no such thing as competition, really. Because even tho it may seem we are on opposing teams,
We are on the same team.

It all begins with an Invitation. 
And the Courage to offer it. 

                                                                    Related Posts

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Every Seven Years, Your Body is Entirely New

I read somewhere once, that every 7 years, your body is entirely new: that our cells are regenerating every day, and that everything from our skin to our bones, to our organs and tissues are entirely regenerated within 7 years. I liked the notion of this. I consider it a notion, because  I'm not sure it's entirely so- at least in my understanding of  it, as I  imagine it to be. As I think about it critically now, I'm imagining a lung, riddled with cancer. Black. The kind they show you pictures of,  from cadavers, when you're in high school, and they're encouraging you not to smoke. If your lungs are completely regenerated within seven years,  then why do people die of lung cancer? The Cancer regenerates faster, than the healthy cells. In yet undeveloped Cancer,  If regeneration is a constant, and smoking is a constant, then I guess they must cancel each other out. But I've also read, that once you stop smoking, within a certain amount of years, the damage-the visible damage, that the tar and nicotine have inflicted on your lungs, can actually be undone. I'm not sure you can undo Cancer, by stopping smoking: but the wear and tear that the  tar and nicotine that each cigarette wipes on your lungs, like muddy work boots wiped on a rug, I guess that kind of sullying, that kind of soiling, can in time, with consistent introduction, of air that is clean, and consistent subtraction of contaminating factors, regeneration can occur; new living, breathing  structures.

I'm thinking about these things, as I read the posts each day on a leadership blog. I'm thinking about the things I read, which resonate with me: things  which may be new to me, yet immediately ring true- things I might have already caught wind of, but haven't yet been able to incorporate, or make habit. Things I haven't been yet able to manifest. I'm thinking, that in order to make anything new; in order to create a regenerated me, I might have to start totally fresh- I might have to completely let go of  many many things: ideas, beliefs, labels, resistance. We shed cells of  our skin every day. I've read somewhere that the majority of the contents of our vacuum cleaner bags are skin cells. I  don't want to envision what we'd look like if we didn't shed our skin. At least it happens without our really knowing. At least we aren't snakes. Actually, maybe it would be easier- if we didn't have the subtlety of growth- the growing pains- but bam! There we were, all of a sudden, in a completely new skin- pink, bare, smooth, without shade nor sun screen, under the blazing sun, straight up fodder for sunburn.

I read somewhere once that skin cancer, which  appears on your body as an adult, began, in fact, in your childhood. Maybe I didn't read that one somewhere-maybe my Mother implanted that one in me. Not as a child, because there was no such thing as sunscreen then- but as an adult. But raw sunburned skin, has a tendency to regenerate quicker. Or perhaps just more noticeably. It doesn't have a choice.

I said that I guess you can't undo the Cancer, once it's turned Into Cancer, but That's not entirely true. Cancer has been known to recede. I've read that somewhere. I've heard of these spontaneous healings.
Without the assistance of chemotherapy or radiation.

I guess the body, a collection of cooperating cells, makes a decision- and gets to work, ousting those cells that are threatening it's thriving, and  forces itself to become stronger. In order to do it, it has to lose the old notions which allowed the Cancer to invade from the start. It happens, by some concerted agreement, among a collection of cells, who decide it's in their individual, and collective interest to do so. And they had to decide that the alternative to the Cancer was much greater. And they did, and they do. Instead of  focusing on fighting the Cancer, they decide to accelerate the regeneration process to the point where the ratio of healthy and thriving cells to cancer cells, far exceeds it. And  before long, those healthy cells engulf the Cancer, leaving no trace of its wrath. I didn't read that anywhere, I just think it might be true. So I will try it. In order to make anything new; in order to create a regenerated me, I might have to start totally fresh- I might have to completely let go of  many many things: ideas, beliefs, labels. We shed cells of  our skin every day, I must shed resistance too, and build something entirely reborn, and new.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Merging into One

On a well traveled road that is intersected by another road and a stop light, underneath a bridge, there are two lanes of traffic. When you arrive under the bridge at the stoplight, there is only one lane. which means you have to merge. When traffic is light, most travelers remain in the right hand lane. but as it begins to be lunch time, or rush hour, there is nothing left to do, but to inhabit both lanes. For if we all chose to travel in the right lane, we'd be backed up two or three lights back, and those traveling in the perpendicular direction would be hampered in their travel.

I've observed the behavior at this traffic light for a while, and I've noticed that traveling in the left hand lane amounts to the same thing as traveling in the right hand lane. When you travel in either lane, and you  reach the bridge where the road narrows and turns into one single lane, people inevitbably take turns. No one remains steadfast in their belief that cars should be in one lane or the other. They realize that in order to move ahead, and get where each is going, that  each,  must at one point, submit. If you are already in the right lane, you may have to submit to the person on the left. you may let them go first. If you are on the left hand lane, you may have to submit to the person on the right, allowing them to go first. When you do, it is inevitably your turn next, and the person in the right hand lane just knows this.

The merging of traffic is much like the weave of fabric. Over under, over under,  over under. Left, Right, Left, Right--many strands merging together, taking turns, become one piece of cloth.

The flow of traffic becomes effortless when we travel in our own particular lanes, side by side,  and arrive at a point where we surrender. 

Without surrender, we'd merge into each other, not around each other.

I can't help but think about how smoothly it all works out, when we submit once in a while.
At least when you travel this particular road. 
When you travel this road, you have to. 
Whether we make the decision of our own accord
or We're left with no other option. 
When we Surrender, traffic isn't a curse, 
It's a blessing. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Dreamed of an Eagle

Last night I dreamed there was a young eagle
in the open window above my kitchen sink,
 just sitting in the window sill

As I got nearer,
 by the site of his beak, his orange beak
I knew he was an eagle
And I knew he was young
Just by looking in his eyes

I wanted to hold him
Because how often do
You even glimpse site of an eagle
let alone a young one
Let alone in your house

And some how he perched upon my arm
And I carried him as if he was a parrot
And I wondered where he came from

And as I walked into the living room
I see where he came from
Lindsey, my daughter, is standing there
With the mother, perched on her arm
Her arm bent at her hip,
its feet resting firmly on her arm

She carries it as if she has a scarf draped over her arm
the weight and power
it bears no burden
And I wonder why they're here.

Because it's spring
and the windows were open?
Because they perch near by?

I can't speak

They are emotionless
Yet knowingness
I accept that they're here
And wake up

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

How to Be Bold: 10 Habits of the Bold

The latin proverb, "Fortune Favors the Bold" is a powerful proverb. Essentially, it referred to Fortuna, the goddess of fortune, bestowing graces upon those who were bold. What is boldness? What makes a bold Sharpie the correct implement over a fine line?
It's Bolder. It stands out more. How often do you use a pencil on a school poster board project? You may use a pencil to draw out your plan, but to give your project 
the attention that you want it to get
you want it to catch the eye. You want it to be bold.

You want it to stand out.

When you look at this blogpost as a whole, where does your eye go? I bet it focused in on the bold Italic print. Because it was bold, it stood out. Because it was in an italicized font, it appeared different, and it caught your attention. Because the type was larger than the rest of the type, it got your attention. You may have even read that part first, before you read the post as a whole.

The Sharpie company itself, originally Sanford Ink,  began in 1857, as a manufacturer of ink. in 1964, it changed its focus. That was a bold move. No longer was its focus ink alone. It dove into the  manufacture of markers.
Sharpie was the first Pen-style permanent marker.
They were the first, because they took a risk

Being Bold is a the result of many practices:

1. Taking Risks: there is the possibility you'll fall flat on your face. But there's also the possibility you won't.

2. Having Faith: When you take a leap into new territory, Faith is knowing that either one of two things will happen. There will be a net to catch you or you'll be taught to fly.  If there's a net to catch you: no harm, no foul. You get back up. If you're taught to fly not only are your spirits lifted, you have a new vantage point. A twenty thousand foot view: you can see more from way up there! and you're Free! once you've learned to fly, you can carry others on your back, until its time to take their leap.

3. Wearing Blinders: In order to make big changes, innovate, or introduce something entirely new, you've got to wear blinders. Naysayers will abound, distractions will rear their heads, and the prevalence of convention will tempt you to back down. However the more risks you take, and the more faith you have, the more comfortable the blinders become.

4. Being Free Spirited: Are you a free spirit? Then you're well on your way. Free spirits are adventurous. Willing to try something new. Willing to diverge from the norm. Free Spirits are open to the possibility that something new may in fact be good! A Free Spirit may walk into a new store, and find a new friend, a favorite new food, or a lucky penny on the floor. Like Forest Gump, they never know what they're going to get, which is what drives their spirit on.

5. Being Open Minded: Perhaps the most common trait of a free spirit is Open mindedness. With an open mind, free spirits encounter many new adventures and ideas and are willing to let this things guide them into other things. they are willing to see possibility in a way that may be other than what they've ben taught.

6: Being Spontaneous: At the Very heart of boldness lies spontaneity. They are very close relations. If you're  listening to the radio, and the DJ announces that a band you like is in town and their concert is tonight, If you are apt to shift gears, you've given yourself an opportunity, and perhaps the friend you encourage to be spontaneous too, to enjoy something that makes your spirit soar. And not only that, you open yourself up to any number of experiences you may not have otherwise had.

7. Dwelling in Possibility: You are much more apt to be bold, and spontaneous, open minded, and free spirited,  if you Dwell in Possibility. Nothing drives creation and innovation and progress more than the possibility of something better resulting from those things. And it's much easier and take risks and have faith,  and wear blinders, if we dwell in possibility.

8. Being Courageous: If we have our blinders firmly on, it's much easier to be courageous. Because we block out that which might cause us to back down. Courageousness resides behind fear in the back of your mind. To be courageous we have to believe that what ever happens, it will be ok.

9. Being Optimistic: If you believe, whole-heartedly that what your focused on will come to fruition, It has a much greater chance of happening. Because if you entertain any doubt at all, you're more apt to quit. period.  It means you have a greater belief that it will happen than it won't. 

10. Having Vision: Can you see the outcome already actualized? Vision can be active or inactive. As a dreamer, you may see yourself already in the role you aspire to, in your daydreams, or as an idealist, you may actively create scenarios in your mind that have the potential to result as an outcome of a desire you hold dear. Vision, inactively can be an inner knowing. There is a mindset of certainty in those who visualize their goals. They have the audacity to believe.

Committing to any of these things, (and we all engage in at least one)  involves initiative. Initiative is a force, that once in place, allows for the unfolding of what can be considered providence, or as Basil King said, on the subject of overcoming fear, "Be Bold, and Mighty Forces will come to your aid."  The mighty forces capable of unfolding might therefore encourage:

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, Begin it. Boldness has genius, power and Magic in it."(attributed to both Goeth, and William Hutchinson Murray)

 “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

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"Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid"
-Basil King

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rubber Duckie Bookbags and Earth Shoes


When I was in first grade, my mom sent me off to my first day of school, trailing behind my 5 older brothers and sisters, with my peter pan blouse, my freshly pressed uniform and my Yellow naugahyde Rubber Ducky book bag. I was crying. I had just turned six and I hadn't been to kindergarten. Sesame Street had done what it could.

When we got to school, having walked up our street and crossed Euclid avenue, it was time to get in line. In Catholic school, you're always getting in line. Lines to come inside, lines to go outside, lines to go to the bathroom. Everyone goes to the bathroom at the same time, whether you have to or not. But that's a story about second grade.

Apparently, a yellow Rubber Ducky book bag is for babies. Not first graders. That's how I was greeted by someone in line. I don't remember what their book bag looked like. I only remember I wasn't getting a new one. First grade proved to be challenging. In all regards. Apparently, I wasn't much for sitting still, or much for keeping track of my Easter Seals box. But I played a mean triangle! and I wasn't bad a the sticks either. No one mentioned that.

Despite these things, I did get chosen to portray Mary, the Mother of God, in our first grade Christmas Pageant. Perhaps Mary wasn't good at remembering her homework, or sitting still either.  Steve Gay, the cute boy in the class, who was the Librarian's son, got to be Joseph. He couldn't keep track of  his Easter Seals box either.

The Christmas of first grade was a memorable one. That year, I got a much coveted gift: Earth Shoes! I don't remember what else I asked for, but I know I asked for Earth Shoes. So Did Katie Carroll, my next door neighbor, best friend. Katie had more experience at First grade than I did, so she might have been a little more compliant. She had a practice year of first grade under her belt before I got there. Katie was the 6th child of 8 kids. I was the 6th child of 7. Katie weighed 29 lbs in first grade. We all carried her around.

I got suede Earth Shoes. Katie got leather. We probably got new socks too. Knee socks. There wasn't anything but knee socks in Catholic school. The fact that we didn't have to wear saddle shoes was more progress than we realized! The first day back to school after Christmas Vacation, wearing our Earth shoes was a day I remember. For some reason, Katie and I were still allowed to sit beside each other, and no doubt we were comparing and admiring our Earth shoes, shoes that made you feel barefoot. It was heaven on earth that one day in Catholic school. Until....A certain unnamed girl, who didn't get Earth Shoes for Christmas, wanted a closer look at Katie's. She touched them--without permission,  her nails dragging along the outside edge, scratching Katie's prized Christmas gift. Katie was dashed. I was dashed.

We still talk about it. Katie's  nemesis, OUR nemesis, hadn't yet developed the potential for sympathetic joy: The joy you feel in someone else's good fortune, or happiness, or achievement. I guess you could call the opposite, jealousy. Jealousy might be defined as wanting something someone else has. Whether it's a skill, or a personal strength, looks, or something material. But I don't define it that way anymore.

I think Jealousy is more rooted in the absence of recognition of our own personal gifts, and attributes, unique qualities or posessions. It isn't that we want something we don't have, it's that we forget to recognize what we do. Maybe it's because we're expected to get in line so much. Do what everyone else is doing. Get the same book bag as everyone else. We loved our Earth shoes, but what we probably loved more, is that we BOTH got what we wanted for Christmas: 


Friday, April 4, 2014

Apples are to Oranges, as Beans are to Flour.

I recently tried a new recipe for Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars. They were delicious! But I knew they were going to be before I even baked them. They weren't your basic Blondie bars. They were amped up a little. They had beans in them. Yes, Beans. Garbanzo beans.
And absolutely no flour. Or sugar. Or eggs.
But they had lots of peanut butter, and Maple syrup!

When I saw the recipe, and the picture that went with it, I knew I'd like them. I  am committed to eating nutritionally dense food. Variations like this one resonate with me. It makes sense to me, so I do it. I'm invigorated by creativity, and most of all possibility. 

There's beauty in the tried and true, no doubt, 
but there's also beauty in the possibility that 
something new may ring true. 

But, of course I expected it to. 

I also expected them to turn out right the first time. I mean why go in thinking they might not? And I am almost always satisfied with the results. Not because I'm any great chef, just because I've already decided to. It doesn't mean I might not tweak it next time. I dwell in possibility! Next time I may add nuts! or use dates instead of maple syrup. The possibilities are endless.

I love the challenge of making the food we eat good for us. I just do. So I'm always experimenting with ingredients. Substituting one for another, creating all together new things. The more ingredients I become familiar with, the more things I can create. My family isn't always as eager to try things like bean brownies. 

But you cant compare bean brownies to traditional brownies. 

Well, you can, but they just aren't the same animal. It's like comparing apples to oranges. 

But if you look at them based on what they are, they stand on their own merit. 

The dough  looked exactly like blondie dough, and if I gave you it to taste- by the looks of it, you probably would have thought it was blondie dough. But it wasn't. And it doesn't have to be.

It is what it is. A Cookie bar made with beans.

There's beauty in the tried and true, no doubt, 
but there's also beauty in the possibility that 
something new may ring true. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An Idealist's Point of View: Waiting for Optimum

 As an Idealist, I can often see the optimum. And since I try to make the most of all my opportunities, I often will wriggle around, to reach for my best.  My practice of yoga reflects this.. When we move from pose to pose, I like to take the time to settle into the pose, wriggle my hips or my shoulders, or my head or hips into as optimum of a position as I can. Partly, because I think in geometry, and partly because as a therapeutic measure, I know there is an ideal version of the pose that will suit my individual need within that pose. A version that will help me release more, will offer me comfort, and most importantly, will encourage my awareness and presence. I decided a while back, after realizing how good the practice was for me, that I was in it for the long haul, and for me, this means being thoughtful in my movements.  It's how I honor myself, and the expression of the divine through me.

Inspired by Tao Porchon Lynch, the 95 year old Yoga teacher who has been named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Oldest living Yoga teacher, I am encouraged, to try new poses, and believe in myself.  Her mantra is, "There is nothing You can't do."  

Recently, I tried a new form of yoga at a new fitness studio called Purenergy. It's called Aerial Yoga. It's just what it sounds like, Yoga poses suspended in the air, from a hammock like swing, made of a silk -like material. Both deeply relaxing, and seemingly deeply daring, Aerial Yoga challenges you in different ways. In the relaxation poses, the silks are fully spread out beneath you and surround you fully, either cocooning you in an upright sitting position, or completely enveloping you in a supine position. These challenges exist in yoga positions on the floor as well. Restorative Yoga is a similar feeling, where the use of props allows you to relax deeply into the pose. Letting go, and allowing the floor to support us fully, without holding back can be one of the most challenging poses of all. In the air, there is a certain weightlessness that is apparent, in allowing your body to be fully heavy and the freedom that can be gained from it, enlightening. 

And then there's the daring poses: upside down poses, where your feet are reaching for the ceiling and your shoulders are held in the shawl-like embrace of the hammock silk, legs wrapped around each side of the silk, neck and head reaching towards the floor. As I try to get my ankles and legs in an optimum position tho, intuiting the intention of the pose, I notice something. In reaching for the ideal, I may be missing an opportunity. An opportunity to  practice it, even when the conditions aren't optimum.

Waiting for all the stars to align, I may miss an opportunity to experience the sky as it is.

 It's another thing I became aware of through the practice of yoga. 

I could never have let go of 
as much as I'd held,
 if I hadn't become aware I was holding it.

And as our awareness deepens and we notice more, we have a another ideal to reach for. We can label it as one thing or another, or acknowledge it and get back to being present. There's another pose to experience, like another cloud that passes, and as subtle as that movement might be, the more present I am, the more I appreciate it. 

As an Idealist, I can often see the optimum. And since I try to make the most of all my opportunities, I may reach for it. But there is a certain weightlessness that is apparent, in allowing your body to be fully heavy and the freedom that can be gained from it, enlightening, when you notice it then move on.

                             Next up: Yoga on a paddle Board. Yes, floating on the water.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

With Encouragement and Support


Towards the end of a yoga practice, as we lay on the floor getting ready for shavasana, or corpse pose, the pose of rest, we often take a spinal twist. As we lay on our backs with our knees bent, using the breath, we allow the knees, to fall softly to one side, our arms spread out on each side of us in a T shape, and our head to the opposite side.

 Depending on your level of lower back flexibility, there are varying degrees of depth to the pose. For me, I have an ongoing level of discomfort in my lower back. It's just something I have to work with.  I attend to to it in all poses with care, as it's an awareness I have that heeds my attention. I generally place my hand on my knees as I focus my breath, and slowly and surely, as I focus my attention on the areas of concern, my lower back releases a little more. As with any discomfort, whether it's ongoing or something new you're nursing, there's a degree of holding- of protecting, as we want to be therapeutic in our attention to our areas of concern.

The longer we lie in a pose with attention on the area of focus, directing our breath to that area, the more able and willing we are to let go of the holding. We use our breath as we allow our knees to fall closer to the ground. Often, the instructor will will come around to each student and gently offer assistance to further the pose. This can be welcome or unwelcome depending on your level of holding, and your level of discomfort. If the Instructor is intentional and follows your breath and her own breath, you may realize an opportunity to release a little more. With a hand on your shoulder and a hand on the opposite hip, knowing you have a hand to support you, you can get a degree of release you may not have gotten on your own. With support, you can always do more than without. With support, you allow yourself  to let go more, and to fully express what  your body wants to, but resists. With support, you make the conscious decision to release, and you reach a potential you might not have reached on your own.

Encouragement and Support are invaluable.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Showed Up

Showing up with what you have
and doing what you are capable of is all you can do. 
It's what I expect of myself each time I attend a yoga class. 
I start by showing up.
Sometimes this is the hardest part of all.
Various reasons rear their heads for not showing up.

Not motivated.
too tired.
It's too late.

But when I get the showing up part taken care of,
the rest of it takes care of itself.

When I've been absent for a while 
as I often am, 
most often in the Winter
When I have a tendency to succumb to the blues,
I congratulate myself for doing it. 
I start there.

But before that, 
in order to even get that far,
I have to urge myself the night before
to get out my clothes and set them out. 
I feel that gets me one step closer.
One step closer to putting them on in the morning
After prying myself out of bed.

Prying my stiff self out of Bed.
47 is too young to feel so stiff, so sore.
But when the day comes
That I pry myself from the bed
and put on the clothes I set aside
I'm one step closer to showing up.

I tell myself it doesn't matter which class it is,
I'm going anyway.
Even if it's a "level 3".
Not because I'm tough
because I am to be the yogi that is in me
whatever class I go to
Wherever I am.

But if  I've committed myself to showing up
I show up, nonetheless.
The Spirit of Yoga within me
is the same whether its been
3 days or 3 weeks or three months.

I do what I can do with the outer umph I have that day.
But The way, the Spirit of Yoga 
is expressed through me
is the divine reminding me
It's ok.
It's all OK.

I belong wherever I am
I do what I can.

I practice with the same heart I have when I am feeling well
With the same heart I have when I am feeling sad
The same heart I have when I am strong.

I am strong.
I am here.
I showed up. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Navigating Social Media, Navigating Life

                                   (From the Book "The Gift of Nothing" By Patrick McDonnell)
Navigating the world of social media can be overwhelming. Something new is emerging every day. Seemingly, you need to be onboard every latest new thing since they're outmoded as quickly as they're developed. Remember MySpace? But such is life.

While wading through the Twitisphere I decided to weed out all the twits I wasn't necessarily interested in anymore. It turned out to be quite a job. Do I really need to follow 1200 people? 1200 people have an awful lot to say! I'm finding myself doing this in all elements of my life at the moment. Nothing holds me back more than clutter. I'm by no means a hoarder, but I can understand how it happens. I'm the daughter of a packrat. Not my mother, my father. My mother's Mantra is "Every day, throw something away." She knows the value of simplicity. 

Heaven help me. I think I'm equally both! Neither of my parents want to waste things. they were born in the Depression. My father's mindset is, "I might need it someday." My Mother's mindset is "When and if you end up needing it, Get it."

  I read a great book by Julia Morganstern on organizing. It was called Organizing from the Inside out. What I got out of that book was this. Go through your stuff and put it in Piles:

*Stuff I want to Keep
*Stuff To Get Rid of

Of course it's much more involved than this. Or is it?  The idea is to keep what's necessary. What we really need. Ultimately, we are editors. Great Mathematicians. Subtracting everything that's no longer relevant, and ending up with the Difference, which should end up being enough. Just enough.

Related Post: Enough is Enough

                                (From the Book, "Just Like Heaven" by Patrick McDonnell)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When Basil tastes like Mint

I think it's funny
when Basil tastes like mint
Because where I come from
Basil always tasted like Basil
and nothing else.

Perhaps it was because we didn't use too much mint growing up
Even though it grew with abandon in the back yard

Of course I knew the taste of mint-
Peppermint, Spearmint--
all the best gums boasted it

But in college I really learned the taste of mint
Because on Wednesdays
on Wednesdays
the Hari Krishna's opened their doors to the students
And shared the most wonderful warm mint tea
or maybe it was cold

But I remember it
I remember it well
and the meal
a vegetarian meal I cant put my finger on

But they shared it 
without expectation
that we join them 
in any other way 
beside food
and sharing

I notice Basil 
tasting like mint
in a place
where it's not invited
like Roasted Tomato Mascarpone Bisque

But who am I to say
where Mint is Welcome
Who am I to say?

I eat the whole thing anyway

And I remember the day
When Basil tasted like Basil
and Mint was Christmas Candy
And the Day our Friend Cam 
made Mojitos with Basil
And they were wonderful

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