Monday, December 27, 2010

The Practice

#1506 - Flexibility in my Yoga Cleaning Exchange - I can work it in whenever it works for me and the studio isn't in use. I was gone over the weekend, so I'm thinking tonight.

#1507 - Receiving some Tea in the mail as a gift which I am drinking now

#1508 - My hair felt really soft before I got in the shower. Was it because I used some magic product? No. It was because it had been longer than usual since I washed it.

#1509 - Seeing the results of my sister-in-law's creativity. She made a pretty impressive homemade gingerbread house. It is circular and has a mushroom like roof. It reminds me of where Smurfs would live.

#1510 -I wasn't feeling very grateful. Then I took a shower, sat down to write this and they came.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Record


#1486 - New Yoga pose - kneeling/sitting on ankles, lifting knees in the air and placing hands on knees.

#1487 -
A friend sent a website where I could record myself singing and email it to him (new to me). His response to my simple song was very supportive and he asked for the words because he wants to do his own version and send it back. FUN.

#1488 - Recording myself sing, which I haven't done sing I was a kid. I used to do that all the time. Listening today, I think I sound hesitant. I'm grateful for this awareness.

#1489 - Developing an appreciation for how hard it is to record something to sound perfect, or even decent! I don't usually pay attention to my mistakes on guitar/singing because they only last a second, but on a recording they last forever.

#1490 - Writing an email to someone who needs it.
I am horrible at small talk, but if something is important I often have what feels like the right words. Hopefully that was the case today.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Longest Night

#1476 - Honoring the Winter Solstice with Elizabeth Harper, all from the ease and comfort of my home. (It was something that you could listen to on-line or dial a phone number.)

#1477 - Almost forgetting to dial the number and listen, but then seeing the paper where I'd written it down, five minutes before it started.

#1478 - Having the time to just listen for an hour in my home without competing demands

#1479 - The Meditation Elizabeth Harper led - I love listening to her meditations. In part of it we received a gift from the person we visualized standing to our left. My gift was a RED PEN, the idea being I could rewrite with it.

#1480
- I picked up a movie recommended to me recently. I looked at it today and it is rated PG. A PG movie intended for adults, refreshing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Don't Ask

Turning These Bikes Into a Gratitude
(I thought the first bike was bad, the following I almost missed completely.)

I didn't think it could be done, relate these bikes to a gratitude, but right after taking these photos I went to the co-op and counted 13 Bikes. These 13 bikes were in use TODAY at the grocery store. AMEN!

The 8 Republicans that voted to Repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell

On Being on NPR today was speaking about my favorite poet Rumi. A woman said that if you speak a new language you will see a new world. She was speaking figuratively, but literally it works too.

Two overheard comments in my day:

"I don't know if we're going to make you mac and cheese anymore if you won't eat the leftovers Maddie. They taste the exact same."

and

"I didn't realize my heel was so powerful."


Friday, December 17, 2010

Love Letter to Yourself

#1456 - My sister in law making Okonomiyaki - I'll add that she put squash in this time, not a typical ingredient.

#1457 - Finding a new/interesting Winter Solstice Event that I would like to try.

#1458 - The advent calendar assignment I pulled today - "Write a Love Letter to Yourself." It made me smile and I am curious to try tonight.

#1459 - In a very early meeting in the housekeeping department of a retreat center, where I was to spend a season, I stated, "At the end of the season I don't want to think, 'I'm never cleaning a bathroom again in my life.'"

"You want to be present," my manager replied, "I like that." I had no idea what she was talking about. I had never heard someone speak about "being present."

Fast forward some years later, today while cleaning the shower, I recalled this interaction and realized my growth in understanding. Not only do I appreciate presence when I see/feel it in others, if I would list the one quality I most desire in a partner... it would no longer be athletic, spiritual, caring etc...it would simply be someone who is present.

#1460 - The music link on Mraz's website that I'm listening to as I type this. "Qawwali Flamenco is a meeting between the Pakistani Sufi tradition of Qawwali and Spanish Flamenco"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Soul Felt its Worth




#1446 - Hearing Christmas Songs Anew since I'm playing them on guitar for the first time. Today I realized the Drummer Boy is a sweet song. He has no gifts, except that he can make music, and that is the gift he offers the baby.

I also am really enjoying O Holy Night - especially this line "Till He appeared and the Soul Felt its Worth"

#1447 - When I was listening to this Shanti (peace) chant today I started picturing the countries in North Africa and sending that energy to them (because for the first time in my mind's eye I could see them and name them.)

#1448 - I've always enjoyed the owner of where I take yoga classes. Tonight her daughter was teaching the class. I had never met the daughter before, though I read her bio and knew she also taught pre-natal yoga. I discovered she is a doula as well and that she works as a birth attendant at one of the birth centers that just opened in the Twin Cities in the past year. I enjoyed talking to her about this.

#1449 - In part of this discussion, her mother mentioned how people can be unsure about energy work, but if you offer them a pill they have no hesitation in taking it. Since energy work doesn't have any side affects why is it more scary than a pill that often does?

#1450 - Feeling Fully Surrendered and Safe in Savasana and wishing everyone would experience that feeling

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hasidic Jewish Reggae Singer

#1436 - A couple of people I occasionally encounter annoy me. At some point today this inner conversation shifted and I thought, "I am Willing to See Them Differently."

#1437 - My father went into work Sat AM to meet some contractors. He knew he might get stuck there since we had a blizzard.

He called my brother Sunday, a bit before noon, to come help dig a path for his car to the road. When I told my friend he was still at work, 32 hours later, she said, "He is going to be crabby."

When I saw him though he wasn't, tired yes, crabby no.

He said he had been prepared. He changed the oil in his car (which he could pull inside the building), he shampooed something (rugs?) and said being in a warm building is a lot better than being stuck in the snow. I still have no idea where he slept (if he did), all I know is that most people would make a big deal out of this. He doesn't however, so unless I really think about it, which I did today, I don't even notice how amazing of an attitude he can have.

I used to easily find so many faults in my father (and still do at times), yet I'm grateful that I do that less and less and see the amazing parts more and more.

#1438 - "I should say that you are not only the foremost Hasidic Jewish Reggae Singer, to my knowledge the only Hasidic Jewish Reggae Singer, or is there a whole school now that has developed?" Robert Siegal

"Pretty much I'm the only one." Matisyahu

NPR interview

#1439 - Matisyahu's song Miracle - which starts at 5:42 in the interview

#1440 - My friend's parents just returned from Hawaii. I was so grateful to hear about a tour guide that discussed what seems to be left out in the Hawaiian utopia dream: what was originally done to the Hawaiians (similar to what was done to Native Americans), how there are few Natives left, that all the sugar plantations are being paved over because "development" is more profitable, and that they used to be self-sufficient and now are completely dependent on tourism. Yeah Tour Guide Woman who is Brave Enough to Tell Another Story!

Bonus Gratitude - Jill's Post

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow
















































9pm conversation in the snow

Ashley - "We were out here for like an hour?"
Tammy - "Two hours."
Ashley - "And I didn't eat any snow." (She forgot.)

Tammy - "Just a minute I need to go write that down."


Ashley - "Why did you write that down?"
Tammy - "Adults don't say things like that."
Ashley - "Usually, I seriously eat a whole gallon. This is why I don't stay out so long. I eat snow and then I just lay there."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Questions that I Ask

I always find it fascinating to think about how things that seem really basic to our lives, became that way. Take for example the most popular fruit in the U.S. - the Banana. For years I have wondered how something that did not exist in the United States became a staple. Today I'm grateful to finally research this and learn a seemingly simple fruit has a complex history. Here are a few interesting tidbits:

There are about 400 -500, one website said 1000, types of bananas. In the U.S. we eat one - the Cavendish banana.

The banana was introduced in the U.S. in the late 1800's (we hadn't overthrown the government of Hawaii yet) and its history is complex. One of the articles I skimmed is called:

When Bananas Ruled the World: Intrigue. Power. Corruption. Death. Sex. The history of oil has nothing on that of the yellow fruit.

Videos like this showing the not so pretty picture on bananas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQZfIrqnTEc&feature=related

I thought I might reach some sort of conclusion from this research, but I haven't. When I visited Costa Rica I was amazed to discover fruit I had never heard of, lots of it. For whatever reasons, pineapples and bananas get all the fame and therefore - land.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hockey and Yoga

#1406 - Yoga class usually has a majority (sometimes all) women. Today there were at least a handful of men, the one right behind me - enjoyably attractive. He was new and there with friends. He was not a typical yoga person (whatever that means). However, he was clearly athletic. The teacher suggested we try handstands, which is rare. Some people skipped it, this guy hopped right up. I took the wall space next to him, and took a few tries to get up. I was kicking up as if I were doing an actual handstand so I kept coming down again. The man told me "kick harder against the wall," which was obvious, but I still enjoyed that he spoke to me :). When we left he put on a hockey sweatshirt, that fit him. A Hockey Guy willing to try Yoga. Yeah!

#1408 - There seems to be some sort of Universal Conspiracy to keep me doing Yoga.

It began when I asked for a Kathy Smith Yoga Video for Christmas at 21. I don't know that I had any idea of what yoga was, I just had a few other Kathy Smith videos that I used/liked.

Since then I could make a long story of when and how yoga has manifested. I was blessed many times to live in places where I practiced in classes for free, or just on my own. In 2006 I paid for yoga for the first time. Every time I've considered taking a break from buying classes, something happens that keeps me going. This also could be a long story so I'll just mention the last year. I did not pay for yoga at all this year because my generous father bought me yoga gift certificates both for Christmas and my birthday. Now when I'm almost out, the owner of the yoga studio asked me if I would be interested in an exchange. If I clean the studio twice a month, I can take all the Yoga Classes I want. I saw the list of what I'd do today, and I think I'm in.

There seems to be some sort of universal conspiracy to keep me doing yoga.

#1408 - You know how sometimes, hopefully, you've laid on your back, looked at the stars, and realized how small we are? Well, Jason Mraz posted a link that gives a similar view. So if you need a little perspective today. Click here. (You move the bar, I didn't get that initially.)
#1409 - I've been trying to figure out how to turn the following into a gratitude, and I'm grateful to have figured it out.

#1410 - Sometimes an outside perspective can simplify things and I'm grateful for that perspective here. There was an article in a Belgian Newspaper that one of the blogs I read commented on. She translated this section which is information that I want to spread.

1. On America.

- The richest percent of the Americans acquires 24% of all personal revenues (in 1979 it was 9%).
- The inequity in revenues in America is bigger than in Colombia, Russia or Mali.
- In 1980 American CEO's had an income 42 times superior to their average employees. Now it's 531 times.
- Between 1980 and 2005, more than 80% of all income raises went to the richest percent of the population.

The highest earners need to keep their tax cuts huh?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Low Lighting


#1396 - Accepting the internet was not working - I tried for a while and I wanted it to work so I could write these, but it didn't lead to stress. I recorded my gratitudes in my journal and thought about my/our expectations such as, "This should work," and how quickly they can lead to agitation.

#1397 - While I was cross-country skiing today I thought about the last time I skied, which I believe, was the first day I wrote this. It was interesting to come home and read a comment on my last blog, by the only person I don't know who reads this, advising me to read entries from my first month and see how much they've progressed. I tried reading a few they were kind of boring and too generalized. I'm not sure what she means exactly, it can be hard to see yourself from the outside. However, the idea that doing this every day has lead to better writing is certainly encouraging.

#1398 - Cross-country skiing is a very quiet activity. I often end up feeling trapped with my incessant repetitive thinking. On top of that it can be a lonely activity after going by myself for the umpteenth time. Today I was grateful: first of all that we have enough snow in early Dec to ski, second that my brother came with and helped motivate me to go on a longer course, and third that after creating space for all those annoying thoughts to babble they eventually quiet down.

#1399 - Seeing Wheelchair Cross-Country Skiers

#1400 - A Week with Low Lighting in the Evenings-My lighting style in the evening is usually less than other people, I find it relaxing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Liu Xiaobo

#1386 - I stopped shoveling and just listened to the falling snow, something I think of as silent, but it wasn't. It sounded like a light rain, but muffled, something you had to be still to hear.

#1387 - I didn't think trying to photograph snowflakes would turn out, but I tried anyway, and I kind of like it

#1388 - Reading that 8 U.S. senators - including Gore, Kennedy and Wellstone - helped Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner from Kenya, when charges were presented against her in 1992

#1389 - Learning that before Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize she had received

The RIGHT LIVELIHOOD AWARD - which is apparently the 'Alternative Nobel Peace Prize' - something I had never heard of. "Unlike the Nobel Prizes (for Physics, Physiology/Medicine, Chemistry, Literature, and Peace), the Right Livelihood Award has no categories." Apparently many award winners work for grassroots non-governmental organizations.

It saddens me to be completely unfamiliar with every name that has won this award, with the exception of Wangari Maathai. Seriously, we give power to what we focus on, and the fact that we all know names like Bin Lauden, but not Xiaobo is an indicator of misplaced priorities.

I am GRATEFUL that such an award exists and for the work all the people who have received it are doing!

#1390 - I had no idea who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. This information often must be searched for and I did not remember to look. However Today I am Reminded

2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner - Liu Xiaobo

He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989 and is still working for human rights in China. A year ago he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his human rights work. This is the fourth time he has been imprisoned and he still perseveres!

See if I read about people like him every day on the front page of the newspaper I would have a lot different view of humanity and what is possible.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gift - Presence

#1376 - When I hear the word gift I think of presents. But in the Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary the first definition is, "a notable capacity, talent or endowment."

#1377 - Which leads me to something I love about the English language - the best gift being your Presence not your Presents

#1378 - Slipping on some hidden ice, Faltering, Recovering, and Laughing

#1379 - Using the book I just picked up, Wangari Maathai's Unbowed, to create meaningful smalltalk

#1380 - Starting the Advent-like Calendar that we made - my first day related to the word gift

Monday, November 29, 2010

What Holds Us Together

#1366 - It seems like there are constantly new things to keep me interested in playing guitar, and they just come without my looking for them.

#1367 - I figured out almost 1/2 of the songs on this CD so I can play along

#1368 - Unsure I'd get any exercise today - then Iended up Jogging around Lake of The Isles while my aunt shopped at the co-op

#1369 - "I've got some interesting shoe experiences" my aunt

#1370 - Reading the following in Elizabeth Harper's Newsletter. I'm not surprised by this, but it is a good reminder,

"Years ago I was in a class where we made breast plates. We used Plaster of Paris to mold the breastplates to the contours of our bodies. It was an all female class and as part of the curriculum we sat in a circle and shared how we felt about our physical selves. I was privileged to be in the presence of Goddesses who felt safe enough to bare their souls.

It became apparent that the most beautiful women in the group with the best looking bodies were the ones with the most hang ups. I was surprised! There I was thinking that slim svelte women with perfect complexions and not a dimple in sight would be hard pressed to find something to hate about themselves. I was wrong."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Brothers Frantzich Overflow


Arriving here exactly when Tim Frantzich was unloading so I could get in to help (divine timing), seeing the whole pre-show (which gave me a better idea how much work goes into something that to an audience looks like all fun), and them picking me up a yummi dinner.

Paul Frantzich's Hug/Kiss when he saw me. It was Deliberate, Genuine, and Solid.

Realizing How Important the Audience is - This might sound obvious, but when Tim and Paul were running through the rehearsal it just wasn't the same. I could feel how much an audience gives to a performance. We might think we are doing nothing, because we are just sitting there, but actually we are saying, "I am here with you right now. I am giving you my undivided attention." This has the power to change everything

Robert Bly reciting two poems with Tim and Paul - how the three of them together take you into a deep place and give poetry a good name.

The space that emerged after "Fly Like an Eagle," a pause before the applause began.

The guy who started the dancing during We Are Family and my lack of hesitation to join in.



Coming home to an empty house so I could:
a. not turn on any lights
b. put the Brothers Frantzich CD on loud
c. play guitar with the one song I know, and to my surprise, belt out singing

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Burundi


#1346 - Going to Yoga Class this Morning so I was More Pleasant Appreciative of My Family Today

#1347 - When someone asked the owner, where I take Yoga, about her recent trip to Africa, I added, "Where in Africa did you go?"

She said, "Burundi, Rwanda, and Kenya," and I could Picture Exactly Where They Were Located Because I Have Been Working on This.

#1348 - When the turkey was taking longer than expected my aunt started standing at the oven expectantly. I distracted her with my favorite waiting activity, Playing the Guitar/Singing. It Worked.

#1349 - Neither my Father or Brother are into Football - which is apparently a big part of Thanksgiving for many people, but has never been for us.

#1350 - However my brother did recently purchase a Nintendo 64, which I guess is old, but not as old as the Nintendo I played with as a kid. As a gift to him of sorts, I played a bit with him today. I know my enthusiasm was lacking but I at least tried.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why I Love Writing

#1336 - Why I Love Writing - Instead of answering an email asking what I'd been up to, I thought "I'll send a short card." About two sentences in I realized it was going to be a long card. I didn't even know I had a story, I often don't even know that a story is there, until I start moving my pen. Sometimes nothing comes, yet sometimes there is this mysterious surprise. Things in my life that suddenly seem bigger or more connected or...something... just because I've taken the time to write them down.

#1337 & 1338 - A couple orders (this is what I am calling them because it sounds fun) for my advent-like calendar with kind words,

"I always enjoy real mail from you because I'm never quite sure what is inside."
and
"I would love one - thank you for your generous heart and creative spirit which you share with such love!"

#1339 - Thinking, "Yes I would really enjoy getting a letter from me too." :)

#1340 - The sychronisticy that my Dad's company was bought by a Japanese company a few years ago and that my brother married a Japanese woman. So today for example, my Dad can talk to my sister-in-law about cross-cultural issues and she can give advice. The issue today was being given a gift card for groceries for Thanksgiving. A Japanese man thought the gift card was from his manager (not the company) so now he thinks he needs to give his manager a gift back. The manager doesn't know how to explain the gift is not from him but from the company, and he does not need a return gift.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Playing as a Team

#1326 - We have at least three pieces of crap peelers. About a year ago we added a fancy/nicer one. I broke it almost immediately. So usually it is not a pleasure to peel. But today it was - Please Meet My New Peeler

#1327 -
About 1/2 hour before it was time to leave for my soccer game I was checking on the internet and becoming really agitated because of the icy roads. Missing one week isn't a big deal, but for various reasons I haven't played my Sunday game in four weeks, and next week there isn't one because of Thanksgiving. Anyway, it looked like I shouldn't go. I was not able to accept this (I felt agitated) and I debated for the next half hour. Finally when it was time to leave I prayed, "Please help me to let this go."

Then I found out that it had warmed enough to not be so icy. And I went and got to play two games because the team following ours was short women.

#1328 - It was just myself between the goalie and a man with a break-away charging at me. Despite the fact that his soccer cleat (which isn't sharp but still) landed directly on top of mine, I Blocked the Breakaway, and besides a bruise my foot is alright.

#1329 - My Sunday Soccer Team - I started playing soccer again a few years ago after not playing for over ten years. I signed up as an individual and they put me on a team. I've probably played on at least 10 different teams since then. They have all been positive experiences, but it is tiring meeting 10 new people every few months, learning names, and more importantly how to play together.

Finally last Fall's team decided to continue playing together. I'm so grateful for this because they are my favorite team. I like them as individuals. If anyone gets angry (which is rare) they only get angry at themselves. Most importantly I feel comfortable being me. They are my favorite despite the fact that the first year we lost almost all of our games. This session we are doing much better suddenly, and today was evidence of this in the simple way We Played as a Team.

#1330 - "You're Definitely Correct, You're an Interesting Person, and any Guy with Half a Brain will Notice That."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Advent Idea

#1316 - I fell getting on the bus today, the circumstances of which are not interesting enough to relate. However I am grateful for my Strong Bones that Hold Together

#1317 - Once my shin no longer throbbed I started to think about how embarrassing that situation was, well that is one interpretation. Another is to Imagine Myself Leaping onto the Bus like Spiderman or Batman and because of the sheer velocity of my entrance onto the scene - of course I didn't land on two feet.

#1318 - I am having a wonderful postal mail correspondence with a friend right now. I received a letter tonight and would like to pour myself into the response, but there is so much there. I need to 'download' it first it seems. Give a little space to it because otherwise it will become blocked, there is no way I can write it out fast enough. I am Grateful for the Enthusiasm I Feel to Write this Letter.

#1319 - My friend Jill recently sent an email with a suggestion that excited me. As a child Jill used to really enjoy those advent calendars where you open a door a day. She wanted to create something like that this year, only we'd create our own and exchange them. I enjoyed making mine so much I thought, "Maybe I should make a copy to keep." Then tonight I thought I could send these to other friends too, they might like it.

#1320 - So I'm typing an email asking who wants one and then I Will Share This Idea Inspired by Jill

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spiraling Generosity

I watched Food Beware - The French Organic Revolution today. It was about a village in France where the Mayor decided to switch to Organic in the school lunches. It's not something I would necessarily recommend, however, I was still able to pull a few gratitudes out of it.

#1306 - It stated that in Europe 70% of cancer is linked to environment, 30% to pollution, and 40% to food (doesn't equal 100% because cancer can have multiple links). I was so grateful that they highlighted the fact that research funds mostly go to cure and treatment of cancer, ignoring prevention.

#1307 - To be reminded that buying organic Puts a Farmer's Health First

#1308
- The mayor of Barjac, France speaking about not blaming farmers, but providing them another way.

#1309 -
I have Deva Premal's Mantras for Precarious Times CD from the library. It has a bunch of chants on it and the suggestion to pick one and do it daily for 21 days. I've had the CD for a couple weeks and haven't done that. But I did chant yesterday and today for ten minutes and it felt really good. (Chanting is just repeating something melodically over and over. I think of it as an easier, and for me more enjoyable, form of meditation. It gives your mind a task, "Focus on this." So that it will quiet down.)

#1310 - Spiraling Generosity (well a spiral might not be the best descriptor but). I was offered a free ticket to the Brothers Frantzich concert because I am volunteering (Generosity to Me);I refused because if there is anyone's work I want to support it is theirs (Me Generous); then a friend also going to the concert paid for my ticket because I've helped with her baby (Generosity to Me); then another friend going to the concert is starting a hospice choir and sent an email asking for donations, she owes me for her ticket but I told her to keep the money as my donation (Me Generous)...how far can this progression go....????

Monday, November 15, 2010

About to Blame

#1296 - Playing If I Had a Hammer on Guitar - It is fast and therefore challenging, but fun.
Italic
#1297 - I am volunteering for the Brothers Frantzich concert I am excited about. I was asked to submit a notice/short article to my local paper. I had no idea how or what. I Just Submitted this, though I think it was just to the on-line paper, still it was a small step into the world of publicity.

"Bring your family together to the Pantages Theater this Thanksgiving weekend to feed your souls. The Brothers Timothy and Paul Frantzich (fran-zik) are singer-songwriters who sing for peace with a passion for socially conscious missions. They blend fresh takes on old hymns with heart-opening originals. Each ticket also delivers 25 MEALS to the children of Sopudep School in Pentionville, Haiti."

#1298 - I don't know much about the music industry, but I have wondered about what Paul Frantzich said in this video. My favorite part "the record industry is built on the backs of people who are risking and bringing art to the world. Create. That's all you really want to see, on youtube that's why it is doing so well. You want to see creativity and you want to see risk. And where does that art come from? A divine place. A window opens up when an artist writes a song and some beautiful wind from heaven comes floating through. I don't care if you are Rage Against the Machine or Dolly Parton."

#1299 - "About to Blame? Stop. About to Judge? Stop. About to Criticize? Stop. Take a Deep Breath, and just be Willing to See things Differently." Marianne Williamson

#1300 - How that Quote Made me Breathe

Saturday, November 13, 2010

First Snow


#1286 - Being at my Uncle's during the first snow. My Cousin Ashley was Excited about it and kept me Outside much Longer Than I Would Otherwise.

#1287 - Ashley wanted to make a snowperson. I thought there wasn't enough snow, and wouldn't have even tried. Ashley was Persistent and Focused and Completely Proved Me Wrong.

#1288 - My brother and I were arguing about something. Ashley said, "Are you Two Still Talking About That. It Doesn't Matter at All." (She was right.)

#1289 - Being able to Understand Holly's Algebra II Math Homework and Help Her.

#1290 - Watching Krystal Perform on Her High School Dance Team- She just started dancing last year and I was really impressed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dream

#1276 - "Report: Global Warming Issue From 2 or 3 Years Ago May Still Be a Problem

...China's undervalued currency, the midterm elections, and gay marriage have since monopolized lawmakers' time. It concludes that the likelihood of any of these matters flooding the entire Eastern Seaboard and leaving the state of Florida completely submerged is "very slim....The document also suggests that taking steps to prevent the earth from becoming completely unlivable should, for the moment, take precedence over tasks that do not do that."

The Onion 11/11/2010

Seriously which news is more accurate?

#1277 - Where I take yoga they sometimes organize volunteer opportunities. I ended up joining one tonight, a Market/Food Shelf. I'm grateful to have been presented and stepped into the opportunity.

#1278 - Reusable Bags - the people at the market were given real incentives to bring reusable bags and nearly everyone had them. They kicked people at the co-ops butt!

#1279 - Overheard conversation between two women/friends about getting together some evening.

"If you want we could do anything.......If you want we could watch TV."

"YEAH TV!" the friend exclaimed.

You know if people want to watch television, fine, but to suggest that it is some creative idea to get excited about? Usually I would find this really annoying, today I thought to myself, "Maybe there is some sort of hidden camera - either advertising how happy TV makes people or to catch my reaction." I just found it amusing.

#1280 - My mother died a few years ago. Mid-October I dreamt I was eating with her at a restaurant. Then I saw a friend from middle school at a table across the restaurant and knew she was to meet me. I went over and we caught up on each others lives. She asked about my mother. I said she was dead, but then realized I'd just been eating with her. My brain was trying to reconcile these two contradictions and working much harder then usual in a dream state.

Two nights ago I had a similar dream. I asked my father, "Where is mom?"

"She is in Portland."

"She's not dead then?"

Once again I am faced with this contradiction and my brain is trying to sort this out.

My interpretation of the first dream was that my mother is dead, but still with me.

After the second one, two nights ago, I thought, "Maybe she is trying to tell me something." I wasn't really sure how to figure anything out though. I thought maybe I'd try a deep relaxation or meditation sometime.

Last night I dreamt of a college friend. When my mother came into my room I woke up. I pretended to still be asleep. She Placed Her Hand on My Heart and I Felt all this Warmth and Healing Energy Pour In. She moved her hands along my arm a little too, but the main spot was the heart. Then I woke up and realized I'd had a dream within a dream, that my mother was not alive to place her hand on my body. However, it felt so real, everything was as it is in my waking life, my bed etc. I've never had a dream like this before and I think the previous two dreams helped me prepare for and be open/aware.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hey Kids

#1266 - Man in music shop who got excited about a banjo, then said that's the last thing his wife wants to see - him come home with another banjo...

"How many do you have?" I asked.

"In the teens and I play all of them," (and he's been at it over 20 years.)
I admire people who keep their passions alive.

#1267 - Getting an Email from Someone I Rarely Hear From. She Had Recently Written Her Life Philosophy.
She sent a few of the quotes and a brief update on her life.

#1268 - "Hey Kids, Don't Try this at Home" - words spoken by an elementary age kid before he flipped/dove over a piece of playground equipment

#1269 - Cleaning up the Kitchen for a Friend so She Could Relax When She Got Home

#1270 - My Sister-in-Law Babysitting with me so it was Easy to Clean-up

Sunday, November 7, 2010

No Impact Man

#1256 -
"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world.
Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves.
All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people."

George Bernard Shaw

quote is from
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

#1257 - Tonight Laura and I went to a church to watch No Impact Man. It is a film about a man and his family living in Manhattan who attempt to have low net environmental impact for a year (and do so in stages.) What I most admired about Colin Beaven "No Impact Man" is that he is trying/experimenting/questioning. Many people had criticisms of what he and his family were doing. It makes me think about how difficult it is to do anything out of the ordinary, anything that isn't considered normal. When someone does we are quick to point out the flaws, to pull them back into the mass in which we all swim. So many spend so much energy criticizing. What if we shifted all that energy and used it for something else? Like what if instead of wondering why Taylor Swift is on the cover of yet another publication I just said, "That's great Taylor. Go for it."

#1258 - Colin Beaven was asking could he leave the planet in better shape, or at least not worse. He was focused environmentally, yet this question can go anywhere - take emotionally and forget a whole life - let's talk about a day.

In a day - Do I leave the people I come across in a better place or worse place after crossing my path? Do the people I live with feel better because they lived with me today? Or the people on the bus - even if I don't interact with them I am oozing my state of mind. That was Elizabeth Gilbert's thing (Eat, Pray, Love) that the people on the subway didn't deserve to be subject to her pain on a daily basis. Though some people called Gilbert selfish for the steps she took, why isn't it selfish to think that your misery doesn't affect anyone else? Not that anyone should feel guilty for feeling miserable, just that it is Not Selfish to Take Steps in Your Life that Lead Toward Genuine Happiness or Contentment.

#1259 - Tonight is one of the nights that I considered not writing this. It is 11:38 according to my body now and I want to go to bed. Yet on my way home I realized tonight is one of the nights I needed to write most. I had something to say. I am so grateful to have an outlet when I do have something to say, even if two people read it. Similarly earlier this week when I was feeling depressed about the election and therefore the future, finally I realized I should channel that energy and start writing a song.

There was a time in my life when I didn't feel I had outlets - when there were all these ideas and concerns and energies twirling about inside and they felt trapped there. I am grateful for their expression.

#1260 - Once I was asked what I most wished for. I forget the wording/context exactly. "Most wished for the planet..."? Anyway, I didn't have time to think, but really fast I saw the answers I thought I would give flash through my mind, "That people would understand/care for the environment so we'd have a future..." or things along this nature. I was completely surprised with what came out of my mouth a couple seconds later. It was something I had never said or thought before and emerged from a deeper truth than I knew existed. And I still hold this truth/wish today. My wish is -



"That people would know
what truly makes them happy
and follow that."



Friday, November 5, 2010

Ticket

#1246 - Buying Tickets to what has been my favorite musical event of the year, 4 of the last 5 years, Brothers Frantzich Thanksgiving Weekend

#1247 - Getting them at the Box Office - no Ticketmaster Fees

#1248 - Paying Cash so my Money goes to the Artists and Theater - (not a credit card company)

#1249 - Speakers broadcasting Opera and then Classical Music at a downtown bus stop

#1250 - "If you don't have a good time. It is really going to be your fault." - bus driver as I exited

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Paradox

#1236 - That I chose to start a gratitude blog instead of a rant blog or a "what I'm afraid of blog." Otherwise I would not be forced to focus (here) about positive results from yesterday's election such as Amber Collett is the Hennepin County Soil & Water Supervisor, District 2
and I am still represented in Congress by a man in whom I have Great Trust, Respect and Faith

#1237 - I knew I needed a little Eckhart today. I listened to his "The Current Economy" video since the election was "all about the economy." As usual he Returned me To my Center.

#1238 - That I'm going through old poems and sending a bunch to a friend. I don't know why, just following an impulse. But as I go through them I Still Like them. I Still Feel Them. They still Hold Energy.

#1239 - Being Asked for A Recommended Reading List by a Friend

#1240 - I was going a bit nuts last night trying to find a quote in one of my journals that I wanted to put in a letter. I gave up, but today I found it on the internet. If I had found it last night I would not be posting it here, so maybe someone needs this:

"The paradox of pleasure is that unrestrained pleasure kills itself: in other words, self-restraint is the very first condition of pleasure.

The paradox of intimacy is that distance is the first condition of intimacy: the intimacy in which there is no distance turns very soon either to resentment or even to hatred.

The paradox of sexual pleasure is that all those conditions which create sexual pleasure and happiness lie outside sexuality.

The paradox of self-interest is that the only way of serving one’s self-interest is to serve the interest of the other. In other words, the pleasure and the happiness of the other is an essential condition of one’s own pleasure and happiness."

Chaturvedi Badrinath

Art of Love
Resurgence Issue 212 May/June 2002

Monday, November 1, 2010

Emily's Gratitudes

An Email from My Friend Emily, After She Didn't Show Up for Yoga

Characters
Parents - Emily and Jeff
3 yr old twins - Lauren and Amanda

"I was really looking forward to class and getting to see you so even though I had a rotten night here are my 4 gratitudes plus one from Lauren.

(The back story is that I took Lauren to the doctor last night and she threw up in the car.)

1. Lauren has fluid in her ear causing her some discomfort (and car sickness) but it is NOT infected. (Apparently kids who get ear infections get them all the time and that would not be fun.)

2. Walgreens sells zip up hooded sweatshirts right inside their front door for $8 each when I needed an emergency change of clothes for Lauren.

3. I was able to drop Amanda off at home before taking Lauren to the doctor’s office which meant that Lauren got to sit in Amanda’s CLEAN car seat after she threw up into hers.

4. From Lauren, in the waiting room: “Thank you Mom, I love my new sweatshirt”. This sweet girl is wearing an adult-sized sweatshirt that hangs down to her ankles, with just her shoes and socks. She was truly grateful to be out of the jacket, shirt, and pants that she’d thrown up on.

5. Back at home, while I gave Lauren a bath…Jeff cleaned up the throw up."

I have been studying gratitude daily for eight months. One of the things I've learned is that gratefulness doesn't necessarily have anything to do with things going "right." Emily illustrated this perfectly. She was looking forward to meeting me at a Yoga class and didn't miss it for anything fun, but she still pulled 5 gratitudes out if it. (This seriously made my day Friday.)

Today I am happy to report she gave me permission to share them. So now I have the fun opportunity to Publish Someone Else's Writing!

I'm also grateful for the Mother who Shines through these words.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Clarinet


#1216 - Ashley, my 12 yr old cousin, setting up for her Clarinet Concert. Whenever she does something like this she gets really into it. She sets the stage, creates tickets, a program etc.

#1217 - "This Concert is Actually Pretty Good," Krystal's comment about her little sister's music

#1218 - Ashley Instructing Krystal how to Read Notes - Last time I was visiting, 1 1/2 months ago, Ashley didn't have any idea how to read music.

#1219 - Holly, their sister, being drawn to join the Clarinet Concert -She had refused until she saw back rubs were available in the audience.

#1220 - Ten Minutes of Quiet Listening While I Read Aloud and My Cousins Carved Pumpkins

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Simple Pleasure

#1206 - Feeling scattered, slightly frantic I turned on Krishna Das and immediately felt grounded.

#1207 - Applying for a job that interests me, but isn't likely, which give me the opportunity to just say what I want to in the application and feel free about it.

#1208 - Listening to Prayer Recitation in a Hindu Temple

#1209 - I've never seen anyone else do this, and I do not understand why - for years it has been a simple pleasure of mine in winter. For the first time this Fall I was cold when I got home and the heater was on, so I sat on the floor by the vent and enjoyed its warmth. Seriously it is wonderful, try it! For it to work I guess you have to have forced air heat and your house set at a slightly cooler temperature (otherwise it would not be enjoyable.) I appreciate this fairly often so to be specific - Today I Appreciate Being Able to Share this Simple Pleasure with You.

#1210 - I made Two Pumpkin Pies with Real Pumpkins (not from a can). Since I've always used a can before it was kind of a mystery. It actually wasn't labor intensive it just takes time. I started last night by cooking the pumpkin (because this process takes a few hours). Then today assembled the pie. I used two small pumpkins which was enough for five pies. (I froze the extra so I am ready to make more.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chime

MN/Ontario Border

#1196 - Finally feeling comfortable Playing F - (for guitar people I still only play four strings)

#1197 - VBAC being an option - I have a friends who live in rural MN, their first baby was born C-section. They are pregnant again, want to deliver vaginally but apparently their hospital doesn't do VBAC's. It's hard where they live because they don't have many options. Anyway, my friend must have forgotten our conversation because the baby is due this week and he wrote they were hoping for a vaginal birth. I replied that I thought it wasn't an option in their hospital. He said, Their Hospital just Started Doing VBACS again.

#1198 - Doing some Research for/with my Sister-in-Law

#1199 - Woman in Taiwan Plans to Marry Herself - http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ - is where I saw this headline, and can always find something worth smiling about

#1200 - Strong Wind - Wind Chime - I love wind chimes. Whenever I walk up to a door that has one ringing, I feel peaceful and relaxed. I was given a small one at gift exchange one December. I was grateful/excited, however, it is not properly designed. It usually just flaps in the wind as a whole without making sounds. Today the wind is strong enough that occasionally I hear it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bell Bajao

#1186 - While Listening to some Live Music I went on a Visualization Journey for a Friend. It was a prayer without words - images.

#1187 - There was some tension in my household, not directly related to me, but usually I would absorb the tension regardless. I went in my bedroom, shut the door, and started playing the guitar. It just Washed it All Away, like an Energetic Shower

#1188 - "What Adele Diamond is learning about the brain challenges basic assumptions in modern education. Her work is scientifically illustrating the educational power of things like Play, Sports, Music, Memorization and Reflection. What Nourishes the Human Spirit, the Whole Person, it turns out, also Hones our Minds." NPR

#1189 - "British Columbia has said that socio-emotional development - developing good people who are good citizens, is a critical goal of our education system as critical as any of the other goals...They want very much to help Develop Children who are Kind, who are Caring, who are Compassionate, Who Know that Bullying is Wrong, Who Know that Helping Another is Right, and Who Do It." Adele Diamond

#1190 - Malika Dutt. Bell Bajao - a campaign in India. Sometimes the simplest things are the most powerful, (1 minute video)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bioneers

#1176 - Being Aware of How My Life Directly Affects My Dreams at Night - last night I had both positive and negative examples of this. Yesterday evening I went to a Yoga class at a Hindu Temple. I was moved and grateful for the experience and I really appreiciated the brief tour I had of the temple.

Last night I dreamt I was watching three girls offer prayers in sanskrit (or Hindi) to one of the dieties in the temple (a beautiful and postive dream). I also dreamt that I could not find the main road to get home - I kept getting sucked in to dirt roads and kind of lost in fields. It was frustrating and I'm sure somehow relates to my sadness at seeing so much topsoil (recent farms) being covered by subdivisions. The drive to the temple is a drive through the front lines of the subdivision farm land line. Soon the temple will be surrounded too.

"Without topsoil, little plant life is possible... This is of great ecological concern as one inch of topsoil can take 500 years to form naturally." -Wikipedia

#1177 - When I arrived to volunteering to set-up for the satelitte of the Bioneers Conference I started to feel a bit faint. I was concerned I was going to be more of a pain than a volunteer if I needed to sit down before even starting. Thankfully My Job was Outside, this seemed to cure me instantly and I Was Helping to Unload Cars with Energy

#1178 - Beautiful Warm Evening Walk down Davern

#1179 - Staying at a Friend's House so I could Make that Evening Walk

#1180 - "Democrats Could Lose up to 8,000 Seats in Upcoming Midterm Election" - The Onion 10/21/2010 (I appreciate when they make fun of things that drive me nuts - in this case endless election speculation.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mysterious Fun Deed

#1166 - Mantra for the Morning - "This is Wealth" - When I looked at my water bottle this morning I thought, "This is Wealth." I decided to repeat this to myself whenever I glanced at it or took a drink from it today.

#1167 - The Bill Licensing Birth Centers Passed in MN - It passed in May, but nobody informed me (not sure who would inform me.) I was tracking that bill, I thought the session ended, I guess it was included with a bunch of other things. Anyway, YEAH!

#1168 - A close friend of mine in 6-8th grade had a strong presence in my dream two nights ago (her family moved away- our last contact was in high school, yet there she was in my dream). I just tried looking her up and found out she had a baby earlier this year. I also found a probable address. (I'm sure I could know all this if I was on Facebook.) I am going to send her a congratulatory card out of the blue. I am quite certain it serves a purpose, which I do not need to know, but a dream leads.

#1169 - It's not at the level of Amelie, but #1168 still feels like a Mysterious Fun Deed.

#1170 -- My favorite musicians, Brothers Frantzich, will be performing in Minneapolis Sunday.
I'm not sure that I will be there, but I'm still grateful to find out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall



#1156 - "I'm Excited for Winter." - flashed across my mind as I glanced at the backyard. Immediately I thought I should regret this/take it back, like I did something wrong, silly!

#1157 - Feeling Greater Dexterity in My Right Fingers Picking Guitar - before it felt like the connection between brain and fingers hardly functioned

#1158 - Taking Time to Follow Some Internet Suggestions for My Resume
- specifically I added some lines, which actually look fabulous (if lines on a piece of paper can be called fabulous)

#1159 - My Cousin Calling to Invite Us To Her Dance Performance

#1160 - I took these, and Saturday's and probably Wed's, beautiful Fall Photos last week. It was a non-blog day so I didn't get to use them then. I feel Engaged and Drawn In (is there an emotion for that) by the different levels of focus on today's first photo.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Door Knock


#1146 - The Young Woman Playing Her Beautiful Original Music at the Farmer's Market - Initiating Applause for Her, Others Joining, and How She Smiled

#1147 - When I bit into my Cauliflower Today and Said, "Ummm" (cauliflower doesn't usually get that response from me)

#1148 - The Two People (whose faces I can picture now) Who Opened their Doors with Spacious Hearts, it Means So Much When Others Are Too Busy or Closed to Talk to You

#1149 - While door-knocking about voting this afternoon, I thought about looking up my ballot tonight to see which elections I need to research.

In 2006 while volunteering/working for the election, I read a post Jason Mraz wrote about why he didn't vote. I remember it distinctly because I disagreed with it so strongly - I stopped paying attention to him. Now four years later (I've obviously started again) he is talking about voting constantly, his current post is about spending time researching his full ballot (exactly what I planned to do tonight :).

So I'm Grateful: to Witness Jason Mraz Grow (especially because in the position he is in, he can bring a lot of others with him), to Feel Reassured that this is a Worthy Use of Time for an Evening (and not Feel So Alone in Doing it), and to Remember that if I Resonate with Someone, There is a Reason - Trust It.

#1150 - I had over an hour's worth of research to do, even while feeling informed about most races (and I'm not done).

Luckily the Star Tribune takes your address and gives you a sample ballot (with links to candidate info). Hopefully other states have papers with similarly great services. Here's the link MN's -

http://elections.startribune.com/myvote/pf.php?do=start_over

Judges are tricky. I don't have an opinion on whether they should be elected or appointed. I would like to understand this better.

Then there is Soil and Water Supervisors. I had no idea! I was thinking about calling the local Sierra Club office Monday and seeing if they had an opinion. However, after reading the info available I am excited for Soil and Water District 2 -Amber Collett

http://collettforhcd.blogspot.com/

It's so much more fun to vote when you know who you are voting for, which takes time and effort, but as far as Ms. Collett is concerned, it is worth it!

One more website for people who think our survival is linked with nature's -

http://www.lcv.org/scorecard/

League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. Put in your state or zip code and it will tell you how your senators/representative scored environmentally.

This feels like exercise right now, sometimes hard to get into, but I feel so good once I do it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

These Guys


#1136 - These Sculptures are Hilarious, especially given they are outside a Courthouse.

#1137 - Getting a Physical and Breathing - Just getting around to this is an accomplishment on my part. I don't feel especially motivated to go to the doctor, even when everything is "okay," I find it intimidating. So I'm grateful I went, and I'm grateful that while I waited for the doctor I breathed deeply, because even when I have no reason to be nervous, I am.

#1138 - Finding a Physician with a Holistic Focus - I have been meaning to do this for years. However, I did not know how to go about it and found the whole process once again intimidating and overwhelming.

#1139 - Being Happy with the Doctor I Tried

#1140 - My one concern was a Few of My Moles. The Doctor Said they Looked Fine.

(These guys are just so great.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Animal Speak

#1126 -

If you talk to the animals
they will talk with you
and you will know each other.
If you don't talk to them,
you will not know them.
And what you do not know
you will fear.
What one fears one destroys.

Chief Dan George


#1127 - Sometimes encountering an animal makes me curious. My favorite source in this situation is a book called Animal-Speak: The Spiritual and Magical Power of Creatures Great and Small (where I got the previous quote) by Ted Andrews. Today I looked up bald eagles.

There are 59 species of eagle in the world, only 2 of which are found in North America! (Bald and Golden) The Harpy Eagles are the largest and most powerful. (I didn't know there were larger eagles than bald eagles.)

"The mating ritual of the bald eagle is one of its most mystical and intriguing aspects...The birds soar, loop, and plunge into deep dives. At a certain point, they grab each others feet and lock talons, rolling and falling, until the mating is completed. Then they separate and soar upwards to repeat the process over and over again."

"Many eagles mate for life. The male will collect the material for the nests, but the female will be the architect...Although the roles in the construction of the nests are separate, the task of feeding the young is shared by both."

#1128 - I distinctly remember as a teenager a slamming door pulling me back into reality. I was reading a Christopher Pike book (teenage thriller) and had become so caught up in the story, it took me a few moments after the noise to realize where I was and even who I was, safe in my room, no one coming after me :)

I was reminded of this today when I became lost in a story. Getting lost in television isn't hard for me to fathom - eyes and ears both flooded with information. But a book gives your ears nothing and your eyes only some Black Marks on a White Page, and from these Black Marks our Imagination can Create a Whole World.




#1129 -

"When you're chained by the neck to a tree, and deprived of all freedom - the freedom to move around, to talk, to eat, to drink, to carry out your most basic bodily needs - well, it took me several years to realize it, but you still have the most important freedom of all, which no one can take away from you: that is the freedom to choose what kind of person you want to be."


Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

Ingrid Betancourt



#1130 -

"Jesus was All Virtue, and Acted from Impulse, Not From Rules"

William Blake


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Storyhill


#1116 - Storyhill on Prairie Home Companion -

#1117 - "It was a marble sort of day yesterday." Conie

#1118 - During my walk on Pike Island today I appreciated: the person who was hanging out in a hammock he/she set up next to the Mississippi, the couple who climbed on top of a fallen tree to use as a bench, and the man who brought a (3?) year old child on a long walk. I become an extrovert around children so I talked to the man and told him I was impressed. He said the child walked most of the way himself. Way to go dad (assumption) and child!

#1119 - Even though this happened yesterday - I woke up today feeling blessed and gifted by a Friend Trusting Me with Deep Truths

#1120 - When I walked into the Celtic Service tonight and was handed a candle, I immediately thought of a friend who asked me to pray for him. So I Entered with that Intention and Held it Throughout.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sound of Sunshine








I would have this be a no word day, but while eating dinner in the backyard a large bird flew over. "I wonder what that is?" I thought. Then it turned and circled and it was a BALD EAGLE! I suddenly realized how quiet all the other birds were and the one robin I could see was frozen still.