Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reflecting a Month of Gratitude

I am grateful for things I've learned from this experiment:


#151 - It is Relatively Easy to Make Your Life Look Beautiful - and conversely to see the beauty in life. (Upon further reflection... if I had tried this when my life was hectic or I was depressed, maybe it would have been challenging. Those are the times in life I would probably need this the most, but also be much less inclined to do it.)

#152 - What You Focus on Does Magnify - I knew this, but I had a lot of experiences this month to back it up

#153 - BE SPECIFIC - when I speak in generalities it is so difficult to feel grateful. This reminds me of the idea that the more deeply we go into the personal the more we connect with the collective.

#154 - A New Habit - each night before falling asleep I started asking, "What were my five gratitudes today?" This is sometimes a great improvement to what I otherwise may have been focusing on.

#155 - That I Think The (or at least ONE of the) Greatest Joys in Life is Doing Something that Brings You Joy and Finding out it Brings Others Joy Too

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What If


#146 - My Bike - which can frustrate me because it is so slow, but has really been very dependable. In the 12 years we been riding, I've never had a flat tire.

#147 - Being of Service - Today I felt I was exactly where I needed to be, when my friend Laura needed a little break from taking care of her baby.

#148 - Sometimes there are people we love dearly, yet rarely see or speak to. Tonight I called my friend Matt to see if he wanted to help our friend Peter move later this week. It seemed like a self-less request, but actually I just wanted an excuse to talk to him, which I did, and I am grateful for that.

#149 - I am grateful to have been Ready for Bed at 8pm spending some quiet time alone.

#150 - "What If" Poem - tonight and last night I wrote some poems in my journal. The writing prompt was, "What if..." I am grateful for its emergence.

What if

What if the phone rang
I answered and you
were on the line

What if time didn't move but stayed constant
always still

What if - writing poetry in itself meant

What if lying in bed at night one were in a zone of
protection - no worries here -
no fear

What if
this time when I answered
life called
What if life
had something to say
What if you continually marched toward an echo, toward a
homecoming, toward a sound

What if writing and listening and speaking and hearing and striving
all lived together - cohabitate
What if - I can't stop thinking
What if - those thoughts bury me alive
What if I smelled like something or someone you remember
a previous life
What if aching were a reminder
What if poetry were a request
What if, I loved you, so much
What if I loved

Monday, March 29, 2010

Krickles

#141 - The Krickles (best word I can find to describe it) Sound Thin Patches of Ice Made as the Wind Blew Them Into Each Other


#142 - Cleaning up My Space - which was beginning to really bug me

#143 - Cooking A New Recipe

#144 - Cleaning the Chain on My Bike - I haven't ridden it yet so I needed to check the air in the tires. I ended up cleaning the chain too, something I hardly do, but which gave me genuine satisfaction.


#145 - This Tree - the first of many reminders on my walk today to stop listening to the incessant racket going on in my brain and be present to what was around me. Later reminders included - Red-Wing Blackbird Song, Green-Blue Color of the Ice, Being able to See in the Water at the Edge of the Lake



Sunday, March 28, 2010

The First Buds

#136 - Noticing the First Buds


(I don't seem to have a macro feature on my camera to get them in focus.)


#137 - The Beauty of Flooding in the MN River Valley -
(where the floodplain can work as designed)


#138 - While Suggesting New Names for our Soccer Team a Man Saying, "I don't like Violent Names."

#139 - Seeing my Dad Reading/Enjoying a Book

#140 - Finding a Shampoo with Only Five Ingredients

Saturday, March 27, 2010

You Got It, You Lose It, You Find It Again


#131 - Trusting They Will Come
- on day 27 of this gratitude experiment - I'm grateful to trust this process, having gone through a handful of days, uncertain where the gratitude was, and it emerged from somewhere. In this moment I sit with positive expectancy. I don't know what I will be thankful for today, but I know it will come.

#132 - The Outcome of My Internal Debate - I couldn't decide if I should go hear a talk on Faith, Politics and Social Justice this evening. I learned about it right before the event, so I knew I was going to be late, and I almost didn't go, but then I did, and I am glad.

#133 - This Plant - which a few weeks ago was depressing me because it always looked on the verge of dying and I didn't know how to help it. But I just looked up from typing and it seems to have a bit of vigor now.

#134 - HA! - That I can turn frustration into laughter at the fact that as soon as I write that I trust this process, I sit here stumped for my last two gratitudes!

#135 - For the Journey of Faith - which is like what I just wrote, as soon as you've got it, you lose it, so you can build some more.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Being A Developer

#126 - My friend Jill sent me a piece of writing earlier this weak that blew me away. I felt Honored to realize today, part of the reason she felt comfortable sending me something so personal and powerful, is probably because I share myself in that way too. Part of the reason she shares her beauty with me is that I share mine with her.

"When you open up, people open up to you. Vulnerability is the door to your heart, and being vulnerable grants important benefits to those who are strong enough to leave that door open."

John Hope Bryant
Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World

#127 - Realizing how Loud (Energized) My Voice became while talking to Jill on the phone about her writing

#128 - Being a Developer - My friend Laura bought me the book Now Discover Your Strengths a few years back. It has a on-line quiz you can take to discover your top five strengths out of a list of 34. The idea is people succeed not by working on their weaknesses, but by focusing on their strengths. My #2 strength is Developer and it is my favorite. It brings me such joy to watch, encourage, and to help people grow. It totally fuels me, and that is why my voice became so loud while talking to Jill.

#129 - Dixie Chicks - After learning Easy Silence on the Ukulele I started telling my sister-in-law about them. I love movies about real people who are standing in their truth, so tonight we are watching Shut Up and Sing.

#130 - This Quote which is going in my Journal -


"Maybe sometimes
letting go of our dreams is our only way to survive.
Because it sets us free to find new ones.
To follow them.
And see where they bring us.
Or not.
But most of all.
To live."

Stephanie

http://thesearethesoulcagess.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 25, 2010

John Hope Bryant, Van Jones...

#121 - The Sound of Ducks Flying Overhead- not quacking, just the whoosh of their wings.

#122 - Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear Based World





#123 - John Hope Bryant -the author of Love Leadership. A beautiful, inspiring and intelligent leader with a vision, like Van Jones, or Corey Booker or...

#124 - Writing that just made me look to see what Van Jones is up to. Jones was the White House Special Adviser for Green Jobs. YEAH! I heard him speak right before he took the job one year ago. He blew me away, as usual. I have so much respect for that man. He resigned in September because of some controversy that I never really read up on, he said he didn't want to be a distraction. Anyway, I just looked him up and it was just today, 3/25/10, that he gave an interview about what went down and what he is up to. I'll take this synchronicity as a gift.

#125 - I didn't have a 5th one. Then I saw that I have a Real Letter from a friend, my bedtime story.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Mom



#116 - Last night in bed I thought about today being my mother's birthday and gratitudes I could place in reflection of that. I soon realized a great deal of light was coming through the blinds. I opened them and the Moon was Shining Directly on My Bed. The moon, in some traditions, is the Mother, so I left the blinds open for her light to wash over me falling towards sleep.

#117 - Ring - the only piece of jewelry that hasn't annoyed me. I've worn it on my finger for three years, ever since I casually placed it there while cleaning out my mother's apartment.



#118 - I'm Grateful to have been Present throughout my Mother's process of Dying, for the Healing that occurred, and the Peace I feel when I think of Her.

#119 - Certainty that She is in a more Nurturing and Joyful Place


#120 - An Assurance, that at Times, She Watches over Me

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shadows

#111 - The Infrequent Bus Connections in the Evening to Where I Live - not always a gratitude, but tonight this led to a beautiful late evening walk.

#112 - Air that Smelled Clean and Fresh

#113 - The Moon Casting Shadows - Trees and Myself - in the few sections without street lights

#114 - Being able to see and identify Orion's Belt - (I think)

#115 - I'm not sure how to write this without it sounding sappy...I attended a committee meeting on a piece of legislation close to my heart today - licensing birth centers. A Republican Legislator Made a Pretty Basic Factual Statement about how Pregnancy is Not a Disease and I Almost Started to Cry.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Children Can't be Denied


#106 - This Creativity



#107 - A Small Woods -
only two miles from where I live, that I'd never explored before.

#108 - Frog Sounds - it seemed too early, but I am pretty sure they were frogs.

#109 - A Phone Conversation that brought out my Enthusiasm/Passion

#110 - Health Insurance Legislation that

"would immediately bar insurance companies from denying coverage to sick children and — by 2014 — make it illegal to deny insurance to anyone with a pre-existing condition."

http://tinyurl.com/ybletfg


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soccer



#101 - My Sunday Soccer Team - Last Fall, I told my friend Jill that I was tired of new soccer teams. I had just played my first game with another bunch of strangers. Playing with new people is like going on a date, it might be fun, but you also have to figure each other out and it takes energy/work. After 9 games, we get a feel for how we play together and can flow. Then, the session ends, we disperse, and I start all over with a new team. I was looking for a long-term soccer team. However, most of the teams I played with - though perfectly enjoyable - were not teams I wanted to stay with long term.

Well, that new bunch of strangers I complained about, and I, have just signed up for our third session of soccer. Not only are we staying together, I really enjoy playing with all of them.


#102 - Lightheartedness of my Sunday team - nobody gets angry. Yeah!

#103 - Soccer
- Speaking of which, soccer in general. I lost my enthusiasm for jogging a few years back, so thankfully I started playing soccer again. In soccer I don't have to motivate myself I just move! And I am completely present, not thinking about anything else but the game, and the ball.

#104 - Being Drawn to a Park after Soccer



#105 - Ground Dry Enough to Lay on

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Equinox


#96 - I am grateful for my fascination with Earth's patterns! Today is the Spring Equinox - So Equinox = equal, the Earth's axis neither tilted toward or away from the sun. Everywhere on the world, the day and night are around equal length.

Today's length of sun -

Santiago, Chile - 12 h 8 min
Quito, Ecuador- 12 h 7 m
Minneapolis - 12 h 10 m
Stockholm, Sweden - 12 h 12 m

So all over the world we have roughly 12 hours of daylight today. Then things change the closer you are to the poles, at the equator, not much happens. In three months daylight will look like

Santiago, Chile - 9 h 56 min
Quito, Ecuador - 12 h 7 m
Minneapolis - 15 h 37 m
Stockholm, Sweden - 18 h 36 m

#97 - 45 degree of Latitude in Minneapolis - I enjoy that the sun changes its arc in the sky. It would be interesting to experience a Swedish 18 hour day, but 45 degree latitude is just right for me.

#98 - Prairie Home Companion - I'm listening right now.

#99 - A Quiet Day at Home

#100 - Fiesty Red Squirrel that Lives in the Back Yard -
He/she was quiet all winter, but now is back and full of life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Randomness

#91 - Comfortable Shoes



#92 - The Story on NPR - and Peter who told me I'd like it

#93 - My Friend Fletcher's Ceaseless Positivity

#94 - A Spring Equinox Ritual - Honoring the change of seasons.

#95 - This Blog and this Woods - feeling a little cranky and uncertain this evening, I stopped at a small park with a bit of woods because I wanted a photo for today's blog. After 15 minutes there I not only had a photo, I felt much better.



Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hugging Trees


#86 - Julia Being
- Even though we are human beings, we sometimes think to be of any worth we have to accomplish many things, become human doings. This can be a depressing thought in which we endlessly never measure up. I have this remarkable friend who reminds me, without even speaking to her, that I do not have to do anything. She reminds me that my worth is inherent and not something I need to strive for. I need this reminder on a regular basis. Sometimes it comes through a phone call, sometimes, like today, it comes from just the thought of her presence.

#87 - Julia on the Phone - This brings me to another one of my favorite things about Julia. When I talk to Julia on the phone, at times, there are pauses in our conversation - with anyone else that would mean the conversation is over or it's uncomfortable because we don't know what to say next. When there is a pause with Julia, it is like a rest note -

crotchet  rest
we simply enjoy the silence until the next thing naturally emerges for us to say. I've been hoping, with practice, this could emerge in phone conversations with other people too. It has a little, but Julia definitely is still the master.

#88- My Brother Telling A Guy on our Soccer Team, "Not Again," When He Started Getting Angry - And in general the majority of the people on my teams who are there to get some exercise and have fun. Italic
#89 - Whatever Inspired me in the First Place to Start Hugging Trees - I don't know when I started hugging trees, but I know I've been doing it a long time. This photo is from 1995, encouraging my then 3 yr old cousin to have a connection to nature by hugging a tree.



Why Would I Hug a Tree?
- Unlike people whose moods can make them unreceptive to hugging, trees are available 24/7 for my embrace.

- Hugging a tree acknowledges it. It helps me to recognize its gifts.

- It is in large part because of trees (and other plant life of course), that we can breathe in the first place, and in the second place are not dead yet from our pollution, so a little demonstration of gratitude is more than called for.

- We use trees for everything - to burn for heat and fuel, paper, paper towels, toilet paper, cardboard packaging for food etc., furniture, flooring, building material, food (fruit and nuts), maple syrup, medicines...thanks trees!

- Finally, the main reason I hug trees - it helps me to slow down and just be for a moment, and if I hug one long enough, sometimes, I can feel it hugging me back.


#90 - Being Asked Why I Would Hug a Tree - it gave me something to ponder and write about.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How Many of Me

#81 - http://howmanyofme.com

I just found this website, something I've always wondered... You can find how many people in the U.S. have the same first and last name as you. There are 611 people with my first and last name. There are 8 people named Jason Mraz :) and I checked my friend Laura - 1! Lucky.

#82 - Connection in Writing Class - The woman next to me said she played the cello. I told her I enjoy listening, especially in
Bedtime Stories: A Unique Guided Relaxation Program for Falling Asleep and Entering the World of Dreams by Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs
It is beautiful storytelling accompanied by a simple cello. The woman was really excited to learn about this!

#83 - My friends's Choices - Change takes time and space. I am so grateful that as a new mother one of my friends has been blessed with, and taken advantage of, the time and space to learn options for raising a child and therefore has choices about what works best for her.

#84 - For Recognizing a Trait in Myself that I Admire in Others - Instead of dreaming of places people want to go, I admire people who take advantage of where they are or are already headed. This came to mind because I am going to Duluth for the state democratic convention. I've been to Duluth many times, but I still checked out a couple books from the library to make it an adventure - to check out independent businesses or see something I haven't before.

#85 - Hugging the Ash Trees in My Front Yard - I thought they wanted a hug when I got home. As I went over I thought, "It's been a long time since I've hugged these trees. Why is that?" I then realized our snow melted really fast, and until just recently they were surrounded by a couple feet of snow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Choosing the Thing that Scares You


Before I get to today's five - yes that was a dead animal yesterday, a field mouse I think. Why would that be a gratitude? I was grateful to have been paying attention enough to notice it (it was tiny and blended in), I was grateful to examine its beauty, and I was grateful for its life. Now on to #76-80 -


#76 - I awoke in the middle of the night to a Good Dream, I fell back asleep and later I had another one.

#77 - I was choosing between two writing classes - Attentiveness in a Creative and Spiritual Life which feels natural/comfortable and Poetry on the Radio: From Page to Performance which feels scary. I Chose the Class that Scares Me.

#78 - Using my Poems That Sit in a Pile - Tonight I will go through my poems and pick "some of your strongest" for the class which starts tomorrow.

#79 - Listening to Live Music on the Piano

#80 - Health Insurance - Though my major medical health insurance bill went up, as usual, this year, I can still pay for it. May we all be so blessed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

As Far As Eye Meets

#66 - Living in a place with 4 Distinct Seasons


#67- Bats Flying at Dusk

#68 - Independent Businesses



When I drove into Minneapolis today the garbage incinerator was puffing out its pollution. I wanted to take a photo of this for my blog but I thought, "How can I turn this into a gratitude?" Drum roll.....................




#69 - I am grateful to be aware of where my trash ends up, and to hold this in my consciousness even when the incinerator is not in front of me.

#70 - Stopping between the car and my front door to look at the Night Sky

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Beautiful Life

#61 - Not Knowing

Do you have the patience to wait

until your mud settles and the water becomes clear?

Can you remain unmoving

til the right action arises by itself?

Tao Te Ching
Stephen Mitchell translation





#62 - Being Present to Enjoy my Uncle Russell on the Phone - (he is developmentally disabled and a complete delight to talk with when I can slow down and just be).

#63 - Bonding with my Dad - at our Senate District Convention today (we always seem to agree on politics.)




#64 - Conversation with Connie Marty - The Martys' (Marty is a state Senator running for governor) had a thank you party for volunteers at their house tonight. I was listening to John Marty talk to someone and just thinking to myself what a beautiful man he is because he is so clearly doing what he loves. I then thought how blessed his partner was to be married to such a man. Soon after Connie sat beside me, she too looked open and real and beautiful. I remarked to her that I am sure there are challenges, but they have a beautiful life. She then told me a bit of the story of how John ended up in politics and I so clearly saw the symbolism (synchronisities) in their story. I'm sure Connie has told this story many times, but after listening to my response she reflected, "I've never thought of it that way before."

#65 - Hearing Easy Silence by the Dixie Chicks on the radio, Looking up the Chords when I got Home, and Playing it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Listen

#56 - The Ability to Hear


#57 - Taking this photo - it energized me

#58- U.S. Treasury Bond - I don't know what this is besides a loan to the government, but on the tax return it said you could use part of your refund to buy one. It isn't too often I feel motivated to learn something new money wise, but I decided to buy a small one and learn something in the process.

#59 - Ukulele Energy Cleanse - When I am on the computer too long I get crabby. This is happening tonight, but I wanted to finish my taxes. I decided to take a brief ukulele break. It really helped. I am getting crabby again because I want to be off the computer and I want to finish this first, so I'll play a few songs when I'm done to clear my negativity. I have never found anything (besides exercise) which does this so well!

#60 - Library - Well I knew this would be on here somewhere. The library is by far one of the best human inventions ever! Every time I might start being bored with the ukulele, a new book comes in with more instruction and songs. I've always used the library for music, movies and reading, of course, but now I am using it to learn to play a musical instrument!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Saved by the Shower

#51- Hot Water - feeling a little short on my gratitude list tonight, I was saved when I took a shower and remembered how wealthy and luxurious I am to have hot water.




#52 - Oprah's phone pledge -“I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by not texting or using my phone while I am driving. I will ask other drivers I know to do the same. I pledge to make a difference.”

#53 - My follow-through - even though I am ready for bed and didn't have more than 1 or two gratitudes in mind. There was no doubt in my mind that I would sit down, write this, and find some.

#54 - William Kamkwamba - The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind - using a half of a bicycle, items that had been discarded, books from a library, and lots of ingenuity, he made a windmill that produced power and transformed the lives of his whole community.

#55 - Memorized quotes that nourish my mind and heart - Kamkwamba's story reminded me of this one

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

Gandhi

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

So Here Come the Politics


#46 - My Fiesty Self - My fiesty side comes out rarely, so it is always a surprise when she is suddenly there. Today - I got on the bus - and as I walked to my seat the man pictured below asked me, "Whose signs you got?"

"John Marty."

"Waste of time."

Well, instead of feeling crushed, that fiesty woman inside woke up and thought,

"Why would you tell anyone who is participating in the political process that they are wasting time? I can think of a lot of common activities that might be considered a waste of time, but supporting someone who is a beautiful honorable man who is working hard to help others could not possibly be a waste of time." Then I thought, "Hey, this guy just gave me something to be grateful about in my gratitude blog!" Then I thought, "It would be so great if I could take his photo.......but I am not that fiesty."

Well, soon after I had this thought, the person behind and in front of me left the bus and no one else seemed to be paying attention. So I did it!



And it doesn't stop there. When he got off his cell phone (which he'd been on the entire time) he approached me and asked some condescending yet somewhat interested question. I answered. He said he had spoke to John Marty that day. I asked if here were lobbying. No, he's a "political writer."

"Is that why you discourage people from doing what they believe in?" I asked in a genuinely pleasant voice because I was feeling happy. He said then that he and John Marty disagreed about things (obviously)...and that was my bus stop.

#47 - John Marty - just because I genuinely trust and like the guy and he is in our government and he is trying and that is simply beautiful.



#48 - Phone Conversation with Rukavina supporter - I was calling delegates tonight and one woman I called said she was making phone calls for Rukavina (also running for governor). She wanted to get my last name because we live in the same district and she would need to call me. I gave her the info on my Dad too so she didn't need to call him...and we just had a wonderful conversation. I learned some more about another candidate from her and why a bus route got changed....

#49 - Corporations are Not People - I called a man named David tonight. He is the CEO of a small (1 person) contract software engineering corporation. He and his friend Kurt, who is also a CEO, are going to the government center this weekend to apply for a marriage license for their corporations. (It took me a moment on the phone to get the joke in that, but he wasn't joking.) He has called ahead and the Government Center will accept the application and refer it to the county attorney. The county attorney will deny it and tell him to take the letter to the district court...

If corporations are people (as the supreme court recently ruled) they can get married.

David asked if I had been to the recent town hall forum with our state senator. I hadn't. Our state senator said that all the laws on the books that limit corporate donations are now unconstitutional.

"So when will Corporations literally be able to vote?" David asks. Well, this weekend his corporation is going to try and get married!

#50 - A Quote About Wild Women



"Your wild woman is your authentic, powerful self. She's not the wild woman whom the media and society have exploited to mean someone who's lost her center, who's out of control. No, wild woman is your centered self, your divine self, the woman you were born to be."


Lorraine Mejia-Green
The Loft Literary Center Summer Catalog 2010

http://www.melissaharris.com/
(the card)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I wonder what I am going to be grateful for tomorrow?

#41 - Two strangers comments - Two women I don't know, who live in other countries, made comments that they enjoyed my blog today. I knew it was good for me to write this, and at the same time just writing it for myself wouldn't sustain me long term. Those comments were beautiful gifts. Thank you!

#42 - Ripples of water running down a melting street




#43 - Eckhart Tolle - Listening to him speak is like a bath of warm water - worries, thoughts, useless mental activity go down the drain and the quiet space of clarity - arrives.

http://www.eckharttolletv.com/eckharttolle.com

#44 - Central heat - Sometimes when I hear the furnace kick on, I sit beside the vent on the floor. I read, or write, or simply enjoy the warmth. This is a very simple pleasure in life and I've never understood why I am the only person I know of who does it. It helps if your house is kept slightly cool, you are drawn to the warmth.

#45 - Ukulele


"Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened

Don't open the door to the study and begin reading

Take down a musical instrument

Let the beauty we love

be what we do"

Rumi
(Coleman Barks translation)


A few weeks ago I guess those Rumi words sank in. I was feeling empty and frightened and I took down a musical instrument that sat on top of a cabinet for 20 years, and started playing. I thought it would last 5 minutes, but using the Fun with the Ukulele book that was beside it, a half hour later I was still playing. I played a few times more that week and then for a couple weeks in a row I played at least 1/2 hour daily. The library doesn't have too many ukulele books, but using inter-library loan I have a fair number on my way.

This is something I never had any desire for previously and now I am daily drawn to it. I don't know its purpose, where it will take me or how long it will last, but I do know that now it is simply fun.

***************

Last night I laid in bed and thought to myself, "I wonder what I am going to be grateful for tomorrow?"

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Dead Live On

#36 - An email sent from a former writing instructor - She wanted permission to use my writing as an example in her current class, it does "such a wonderful job of illustrating how intuitive writing flows and how it can lend itself to deeper writing and more cohesive "complete" pieces." YEAH!

#37 - How the Dead are Still with us - I was reflecting on this last night. My cousin was giving my face a massage and then she lifted my head and gently kind of rolled it around in her hands. I was instantly reminded of my mother. My mom used to offer "head cradles." Krystal was the only one I remember taking her up on the offer. Now, more than a few years later, that action was still inside her and being passed on.



I also thought about this today in relation to my grandfather. He was a musician. However, he died when I was 4 and music was hardly present in my life as a child. We have a few instruments left over though, which my cousins and I played enthusiastically this weekend. They never met our grandfather, but because of him, music was pouring through our hands.

#38- Lungs of harmonica players - This is more an appreciation...one of the instruments we played with was a harmonica. I don't smoke and I play soccer, so I think my lungs would be pretty good, but I played the harmonica maybe 20 seconds and they were exhausted. Harmonica players have impressive lung capacity.

#39- Time to myself - This has always been extremely important to me as someone on the far end of the introvert scale. I appreciate it tonight in the quiet after the house is emptied.

#40 - Safe, restful sleep - I knew this would end up in here. I wanted to wait until I really felt it. Right now I am so grateful that I am about to go to bed - safely. I am not concerned about violence outside my home, I am not concerned about violence inside my home, my insides are not being eaten up with worry. I will rest believing and knowing - I am safe.

Full of LIfe



#31 - Geocaching at 4:30am - My brother suggested getting up at 4:30am to go geocaching and my cousins enthusiastically agreed. (I guess he really didn't think they would get up, but they did.) They still have such excitement for life.

#32 - Not having children - has given me lots of time and energy to spend time doing things I otherwise probably wouldn't - like having close relationships with my cousins.


#33 - My cousin made me laugh so hard when she came out in this outfit to teach an aerobics class.

#34 - Simple touch - They were rambunctious and then one of them suggested we use the massage table to give backrubs and they instantly quieted down. I have always thought that everyone looks beautiful when they are fully relaxed.



#35 - They have to sleep - at some point though, thank God, because I get exhausted ( even though I did not get up at 4:30).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hanging with My Cousins




#26 - My Winter Breakfast - Steel cut oats, pecans, walnuts, almonds, and raisins





#27 -  The picture individual volunteering to unload groceries - and her ability to quietly and without light enter a room where someone is sleeping



#28 - My cousin in pink's excitement to do a reader's theater I wrote in college.

#29 - A Conversation - Looking at this blog and explaining lobby day sparked a great conversation with one of my cousins. (We were lobbying about comprehensive sex ed in schools).


#30 - Reading before bed with my cousin - this is undoubtedly one of my favorite things in life when someone else and I am in that quiet space together before bed, with a book.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bebe

#21 - Electronic savvy of my Dad and Brother - I wonder what my life would look like without them. Would I have any electronics? Most electronics I've owned were either gifted or passed on from them. They also help me figure things out - like today a virus warning which I'm not sure how to proceed with.


#22 - Letter from my cousin - I feel honored that when my 11yr old cousin was assigned to write a letter for her language arts class, she chose me to be the recipient. This reminds me of when she sent me "Flat Stanley" a few years back. Flat Stanley is a boy (in a children's book) who got squished flat as a pancake when a bulletin board fell on him, otherwise he is fine, and his flatness allows him to go in the mail on adventures. Ashley sent him to me as another school assignment. I was supposed to take him with me and write about what we did. At the time I worked in an office, so Flat Stanley sat in my cube all day and actually made friends with some small sized characters who lived in a co-workers cube. Flat Stanley also came with me to Yoga class. I put him (a bit self consciously I admit) at the head of my mat leaned against the mirror. Before class a woman leaned over and whispered to me, "Is that Flat Stanley?" :).

#23 - Having someone else in the house who cooks (healthy too :)



#24 - Bebe - Ha! I "published" this 10 minutes ago and had "quiet" listed as my #24, but then my brother put in the new Bebe CD, and I'll use quiet another day! I'll add my brother to this because he has introduced me to some good music over the years - Ani DiFranco, Jason Mraz, Shakira (who I have mixed feelings about), and Bebe. Bebe is by far my favorite musician in the Spanish language. The music is catchy and diverse whether or not you know Spanish, but if you do know Spanish, the lyrics are full of substance as well.



#25 - Nothing - Similar to how sleep allows us to function awake, I think doing nothing/letting the mind wander aimlessly allows us to pay attention. This reminds me of a quote from Christine Northrup M.D. "Illness is the only acceptable form of meditation in Western society." When I was looking up that quote to verify the source I found something else I scarcely hear, but myself feel. "Instead of stopping to take a break to rest or recharge in our daily lives, illness becomes the acceptable form of mediation and rest. Illness gives people a reason to take a break from the busy grind of daily living, and also gives our body permission to rest. Is getting a cold or the flu a bad thing? Perhaps not! Maybe our body needs the rest and it is better to rest with a cold or flu than with a more serious form of illness." Rachela Bounincontri http://alturl.com/3cxz