Sunday, July 15, 2018

What is Being Said

#1 - When I hit construction traffic on the highway I knew I was going to be late for my monthly writing and meditation group. I really look forward to this time and missed it last month so I was bummed, yet at the same time I knew it would be ok. We usually start with meditation so maybe I'd miss that, but maybe I could try to be meditative in the car. Usually thinking I'm going to be late leads to a lot of stress in me, today this didn't happen and I was only late by 5 minutes or so.

#2 - I was coming from a talk at a local Zen center. I have little interest in the specifics of Buddhist philosophy, however I did really appreciate the way the speaker answered the last woman's question. Her response was more silence than words, which clearly was very personal to the woman asking it, she only said two sentences. But I felt her response, it was powerful.

#3 - For one of our homework assignments for my writing and meditation group this month we are to write 20 gratitudes.

#4 - Harville Hendrix, an author of relationship self-help books, says that couples will continue to hurt one another, but that they will also become more adept and quicker (with practice) on the repair process. That happened to me last night and today. I'm hopeful that we are becoming more adept at repair.

#5 - While we were having a dinner my partner initiated an "Imago dialogue" which is the communication technique we learned from reading Harville Hendrix's books. We haven't formally used that in quite a while and I was happy he suggested it. Though we'd don't formally go through the whole process that often. We do use pieces of it all the time. For example, asking the other person to repeat back what we just said to make sure we heard it correctly. It's amazing how often people don't hear one another.

"Harville: In the resting state, when we’re not distracted, the research shows we have a 13–18% accuracy rate. If we’re distracted, the distortion rate goes up to almost 100% immediately. The reason this happens is that most of us are running a movie in our minds, projecting reality as we know it or as we fear it, wish it, or remember it.

Our attention is on our own internal process, and unless we turn the switch off and make a focused effort to pay attention, we actually get very little of what’s being said to us."

Saturday, July 7, 2018

More Grounded

First of all - I waited a week to try and turn on my camera again. I just wanted to luxuriate in the fact that it closed. But yesterday I turned it on and it worked just fine.

Second of all my reentry home has been a bit fuller than I expected with an out of town funeral etc. So I was super happy today to have a day without any plans. I still got up early (benefit of different time zone) and did some cleaning, but eventually I was tired and just laid down for a while. My jet lag has been really manageable, but today I finally needed a rest.

Third of all I finished unpacking and going through my mail and bank statement. I was pleasantly surprised that the most expensive place I stayed (that I reserved myself - I was also in a writing group part of my trip where I didn't make the arrangements) turned out to be $55/night. That is what I originally thought, but then for a while I thought it was $70 and I wondered why I picked that location.

I'm about to go pick up Ten Poems for Difficult Times the latest book by Roger Housden from the library. He is the author who led the writing group I was with for part of my trip to Spain. I highly recommend his Ten Poems series. Then I'm going to get some groceries so I can pack a picnic dinner for tomorrow. When I called today a very sweet voice answered and said that not only would the water loving 10 year old like to join me at the beach tomorrow, but the rest of the family may as well.

I walked over to the farmer's market this AM - I work there every other week and I often don't make it over on my off weeks. It was nice to meander there today and also see what was decided about a couple things we debated about last week, such as what to do about the vendor that takes a long time to pack up (and therefore is still in the street when everyone else has left).

Friday, June 29, 2018

Appropriate Use

When I got on the bus from the airport to Granada I saw a woman across the aisle texting or looking up things on her phone.  I wanted to say to her, "Look up!  It's Spain!! You are missing it!" She looked like a tourist, but maybe she'd seen the scene a 1000 times.

An hour or so later after checking in where I was staying, I began to wander up and down hills and through winding narrow streets.  I ended up at a place with a famous viewpoint of the city (Mirador de San Cristóbal top photo).  There was a man there playing guitar.  Tourists would arrive in waves, often off a bus, spend a few moments taking photos and then move on.

I did too, but first I sat and took in the beauty.  I sat and closed my eyes and did a 10 minute meditation.  I soaked in the surroundings, and then, eventually, I took a photo.

At my next stop, a town on the Mediterranean two days later.  I did not follow this philosophy.  I arrived and my room was super cute with big window doors and lots of light.  I immediately snapped a shot in excitement.  Then I hurried out to see the sea and immediately began taking photos.  I think I assumed that the beach was relatively empty and I should hurry and take pictures now.  So before connecting with the place, before arriving there myself, I sat my camera on a bench, set the self timer and the intense wind knocked it onto the ground.

The lens automatically closed and I quickly turned it back on to see if it was broken.  It opened but then was stuck, the lens was stuck open.

I knew why.  I had let my excitement to capture the moment, take me out of the moment. 

I immediately understood.

The next day I walked through town and stopped at places that repaired watches, or electronics and showed them my camera.  I got to speak Spanish in a less tourist fashion.  I was told I had to mail my camera in, that that happens, or another shop to try.  I tried to keep it from becoming the focus of my energy.  And for the most part I let go.  (I did not have a phone to take photos instead.)

Each city thereafter I'd take the camera out at least once and try.  Turn it on- read the message about lens failure automatic shutdown - listen to the motor attempt to close it.  I recharged the batteries, I tried nudging the lens, or making sure there wasn't any sand in the crevices.  I let go again.

And for the most part I was grateful.  Grateful for the words from an Indigo Girls song,
"Don't write this down.
Remember this in your head. 
Don't take a picture. 
Remember this in your heart."

And I did.  I sat.  Sometimes I drew.  Sometimes I closed my eyes and listened.  I said, "Thank you." I breathed.

The last night in Spain I walked by an actual camera shop in Sevilla.  The first one I'd seen.  It didn't say they did repairs but I went back to my room to get my camera to ask.  He told me similar to the others, mail it in and said something about how it had to be within 5 days.  Then he gave me the place of another place to try (which I was confused by as he said to mail it in), but I asked him to show me where on the map.  And for the next hour or more I went on another winding and confusing treasure hunt to find it.  I never did, but enjoyed the journey and the exploration.

Today I decided to call Canon customer service to see if I sent it in, approximately how much a repair would cost.  I got on the phone with the woman, and my stuck lens, pressed the on button to tell her what the message it gave me was
and the lens closed

the lens closed.

I have not tried to open it again. At the moment it doesn't really matter to me.  I get it.  I got the message.

Just BE there in Spain sweetheart.  You have 25 photos already.  That is enough.

That is enough.

The same thing might have happened to you, and you might have received an entirely different message.  I'm not saying this message is the right one.

But I am saying this message was the right one for me.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Adventure Ahead

#1 - Planning ahead (this I do in general) so I tend to stress out early rather than right before a deadline.  Because I do though, today I was able to work a bit extra (when they really needed it) and also have time to spend with my aunt for an unplanned visit.

#2 - I had one recipe left to make from my previous grocery shopping - falafel - which my aunt enjoyed cooking with me.  She finds the things I make new and interesting.

#3 - We had a super yummi smoothie for dessert.  I've been meaning to make one all week - pineapple, frozen bananas, frozen peaches, yogurt and almond milk.

#4 - My brother asked if I wanted to borrow a GPS watch.  I told him it may be useful but I tend to get frustrated with new technology.  He sent me a link to put the locations I want on a map and then I think he'll do the rest.  We'll see.

#5 - It's been 14 years since I left the country, with the exception of a walk across the border into Canada.  The last time I went I was desperate for a direction in my life and was kind of grasping at straws.  I'd always wanted to spend time in a Spanish speaking country and so that was what I did.  I had a good experience, but it didn't provide any direction or answers and upon my return I entered a phase which was certainly the low point of my adult life.

Now in the beginning of my 40's I go again.  This time for a few weeks instead of a few months.  This time I didn't search it out, it came and found me, and kept nudging.  I continually asked, "Really?"  "Are you sure?" and finally gave in.

 This time I don't know why I'm going, or where it will lead me, if anywhere at all.  But last night I was playing guitar along with a Spanish CD and I connected the two threads and it felt good

and it felt right.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

La Crosse

When I met the man I'm dating his youngest was 6 and his eldest had just turned 10.  Today I saw the youngest run off to the playground and thought, "Enjoy her childhood it won't be like this much longer."  She is almost 10 herself now, her sister doesn't run to playgrounds anymore.

We were at the eldest's la crosse game.  I was at that same place two weeks ago - trying to connect with their father there and not having much success. 

One week ago, I went again, wanting to be there because we were in a better place, but afterwards I was angry.  Angry from all the feelings I hold inside.

Tonight we were both open.  On the way back to the car he swatted my behind with the lacrosse stick.  "You're being playful," I said, "That much mean you're feeling safe."

Then I went to the co-op to pick up some mid-week groceries and got a hug from the owner where I do yoga in the produce section.  I usually grocery shop on Sundays and it's nice to be restocked and have some meals planned for the weekend, instead of being at the end of my fresh food.

I spent most of my day listening to Byron Katie videos while I worked.  I think in fact every one I listened to were ones I've heard before.  None of them failed to touch me again - especially the one between mother and son.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Thank You

#1 - I'm grateful that though it is a beautiful day, I wasn't feeling motivated to exercise on my own.  I didn't expect it to work out, but I tried calling a friend this morning whom I annually take a certain long walk with, to see if today might work.  She tried to negotiate it to another day this week, but none of those ended up seeming to work, so she is on her way to meet me now.

#2 - I received three emails in a row today from a certain man in my life and they all felt collaborative in nature.

#3 - One of those was about his daughter's la crosse game this weekend, which will be played in a town an hour away where my cousin lives.  I called my cousin to see if she was available to hang out if I go to the game.  She isn't, but I found out she and her sister will be driving by me next week and we have a tentative tennis matched planned together.

#4 - Being surprised that I had enough ingredients to make a yummi salad for lunch - quick, easy and healthy.  It had lettuce, red pepper, carrot, mushrooms, a hard-boiled egg, canned salmon and salad dressing.

#5 - The quiet space at the end of my lunch break when I wasn't formulating plans and simply bent over, placed my hands upon the earth, and said, "Thank you."

Monday, May 7, 2018


(My niece's favorite part of our weekend  camping trip.) 

#1 - I got a couple emails today - one from a manager at a former job checking in on me and one from a woman I've never met who reads this.  Both were unexpected gifts.

#2 - After camping this weekend I went grocery shopping on the way home.  Strawberries were on sale and I bought spinach for something else, but I ended up using the spinach for a strawberry and spinach salad.  Fortunately, I had all the other ingredients - pecans, feta and it sounded really good to me.

#3 - Beautiful sunny day to air out my sleeping bags on the clothesline.  The leaves have really burst on the trees.  I learned yesterday that this could be because of the lightning this weekend - something about ions in the air.  I haven't looked it up and I don't recall exactly, but interesting.

#4 - I received a phone call this morning, clarifying something from last night about how I was being controlling.  It is true I was being controlling, I had a specific intention and we were not headed there and I tried to force us back.  I'm sure I could have done this in a more collaborative and connecting way.  Count that as an area for growth.

#5 - A friend asked me about Imago Dialogues - I had told her about them before and she wanted more info. I sent her this google talk - which I listened to again, and still got a great deal out of it.