Sunday, January 26, 2014

Only Listen for Meditative Purposes

#1 - My guitar playing has steadily decreased over time to the point that maybe it's good I never bought one. We'll see. However this week I have a new song, How Do I Know, and this Sunday morning I was happy to spend time playing it.

#2 - I wanted to record it for here, but it is really a meditation/lullaby and the video seemed pointless. Then I found this border feature which just cracked me up.

#3 - I submitted an application for a job that truly interests me at my local farmers market.

#4 - The new shirt I'm wearing in the video - one of a few items a friend was getting rid of and asked me if I wanted.

#5 - Today is only the second game of the soccer session and I only have $18 left to collect from my team. When I was nominated to take over captain duties this was my primary concern. I strongly dislike reminding people to pay me (which often feels like nagging). It's funny because this is only my second session as captain, and I am already much less concerned about it. Along with that lack of concern, everyone has paid very promptly!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ask a Librarian

#1 - I felt ridiculous getting my photo taken with strangers, but I realized this was the perfect moment to employ my word of the year - SASSY. So I decided to be honest and when it was our turn I said something like, "I feel strange doing this." After which my friend said, "This is awesome!" A perfect follow up. She sent me the photo today and I just put it as my desktop because for some reason looking at it makes me laugh. (The band is Walk off the Earth - Red Hands is their song played on the radio.)

#2 - I spent some time researching on the computer today and it felt productive. I made an account on MNSure to look at my health insurance options (I at least got started), found a job to apply for, and did a little research on ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). I still don't understand ETFs at all but I requested money books from the library (ETFs for Dummies I think was one).

#3 - I feel grateful whenever I'm motivated to learn money things because it doesn't happen often! I heard Susie Orman recommend ETFs years ago. I like Susie Orman except that I never hear her talk about socially responsible investing. Anyway, there apparently are socially responsible ETFs now so maybe I can figure out what they are.

#4 - Have I mentioned recently how much I love the library? Today let me specify the specific library system where I live. If you live near me you may not realize that we are extremely blessed and take it for granted that everybody has such great libraries. Lest we think this is only my personal opinion I just looked it up and found Hennen's American Public Library Ratings. Ten libraries made it into all 10 editions and my system is listed as one in that top 10 (it is ranked based on population categories). Looks like Ohio rocks their libraries too.

#5 - "Patron: I have a cousin who is taking the HOBET - Health Occupations Basic Entrance Test in a little over a week. Does the library have anything that could help her prepare for that? I see books on ACT, but not HOBET."

This is the email I sent to our "Ask a Librarian" service today. I did my own search both on google and the library catalog and couldn't find anything. As usual, the librarian came through! Magic.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


#1 – “I’m looking forward to hearing more about his kids.” This was spoken by a friend of mine regarding a guy she is going to meet next week via online dating.

“Who the hell am I talking to?” I asked myself. This friend has previously stated, “I don’t know why these guys are contacting me! I clearly state on my profile that I don’t have children and I am not interested in having them!” That statement was said with conviction within the last year. It’s a little difficult to explain why this shift is beautiful to me. I am certainly supportive of my friend having either stance. I guess it's witnessing the simple lack of resistance, the simple opening.

#2 – She also received some Byron Katie homework from a mutual friend. The synchronicity of this a bit perplexing, I’ve known the name “Byron Katie” for over 10 years, but it was just last week that I became familiar with her. I was sick with a cold and ended up watching her youtube videos unceasingly.

#3 – I wanted to fit some exercise in my day so I took advantage of the Core Power chain’s one week of free yoga (if you’ve never been to Core Power). I really hesitated, because if I could get a free week I didn’t want to only use one day, but good God what was I saving it for? One free yoga class is better than none.

#4 – I won’t be near the location where I took that class in the next week, but later on I formulated a plan for getting in another class or two at their other locations.

#5 – We had our final night at this volunteer gig I’ve done once a month for what seems like a little while, but has actually been three years! It’s not really final, it’s just the whole set up is changing. I’ve really enjoyed the group of people I’ve worked with, and I think all of us were a little disappointed. It feels a little like 8th grade when you are being assigned a cabin on a school field trip, or 1st, 2nd or 3rd lunch hour. Will you get to be with your friends? Before I went tonight I thought, “I’ve really enjoyed this group of people, but maybe I’ll enjoy the new group just as much, or more.” And then we found out, at this point at least, our group is mostly staying together :).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


#1 – This is an email I sent today –

I suck at small talk. Usually this is not a problem as I have no interest. However, there are occasional circumstances when it would really come in handy. I used to judge myself in those situations, try to force myself to be someone that I am not. Eventually I softened and also came to understand I excel at deep conversations. These two things may not be mutually exclusive for everybody, but they are for me. And maybe also the fact that I have difficulty with idle chatter is part of the reason I can write, make a story, or the beginning of one, whether there is really a story there or not.

Last summer I went to kirtan with the Wild Moon Bhaktas at the Meditation Center in Minneapolis. It was one of a handful of times I saw them last year. This particular gathering was pretty small – maybe 10-15 people and I noticed that there was a very attractive man there. As I’m sure you are aware, there are usually more women than men at kirtan, and many of the men are either of an older generation or accompanied by a woman. Neither was the case in this situation. Despite my ineptitude at small talk I specifically stayed for the light meal afterwards to try and talk to this guy. However, he left. When I told someone about this, her reaction was what I used to say to myself. I needed to put myself out there, make a greater effort to talk to him! I didn’t feel supported by this reaction and decided not to mention such things in the future. I can be hard enough on myself, I’m not looking for reinforcement.

Fast forward to New Year’s Eve- I’m headed to a kirtan event at a yoga studio by myself. I am perfectly content with this plan and grateful to feel this way. The room is pretty packed when I arrive. I head to the front corner where there is a bit of space and this guy gives me a look that says, “Don’t take this cushion,” (which he appears to be saving for someone else). I wasn’t after the cushion though, I’m perfectly content to sit on the floor. I was just looking for a space. Looking around I could see the room was mostly a sea of beautiful women, deciding to spend an evening in a beautiful way.

I dove into kirtan, started having a lovely vision. Afterwards I wanted to save a few of those thoughts for my journal, but had neither pen nor paper. By this point I had placed the initial recognition I had of you and figured if I could find some scratch paper that you would lend me a pen. So I get the paper, you lend the pen and I write.

Soon they are passing out paper for the next kirtan group and the guy that originally looked a little annoyed at me asked if I want one. “I just like to listen.” I respond. He then asks if I was taking notes. “No I had some thoughts during kirtan that I wanted to write down.”

I don’t know when it occurred to me, it wasn’t a moment, it was more like a gradual realization - that guy might be the same guy I wanted to talk to a few months ago. From then on I’m more conscious of him through the evening. I’m still happy/content in my own space, but I pay him a little more attention than the rest of the people in the room. I say a little prayer/request that if we are meant to speak it will happy naturally.

When it’s time to go I think about this as I’m getting my jacket, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. I head to the front to put on my shoes and think, “Oh well,” grateful regardless. Then he is leaving too, without his friends, and I ask if he was at the meditation center this summer when Wild Moon Bhaktas played. He said yes and asked how I knew you… Well life helped, but I still suck at small talk so we said, “Happy New Year,” and I left. I left thinking however, that this time I had you. Someone who knew the both of us, and that I may still have your email address, and regardless of anything it would be my first writing exercise of the New Year (which you would be supportive of :). And if it happened to feel appropriate to you to pass this on to him it should at least be a complimentary beginning to his New Year (well minus the annoyed look part I guess :).

So I have no idea if that guy is single, or how you know him, but I DO know that you are welcome to pass this on to him if it feels appropriate.

Thanks much, best wishes for your writing life and all your life in 2014!


#2 – The woman this email was addressed to was the instructor of an intuitive writing class I enjoyed a few years ago. I did not still have her email, but I was able to find it.

#3 – After midnight, after kirtan (call and response chanting performed in India's bhakti devotional traditions), we did a ritual to ring in the New Year. A room full of people singing and circling to the music, while one at a time we walked a lighted path on the floor and released something no longer needed.

#4 –I went to a 10:30 AM yoga class which was followed by a 12:00 PM restorative class. Restorative yoga does not yet have a Wikipedia page (where I just went for a succinct description). It’s basically relaxation yoga/rest yoga. Anyway, I didn’t need the restorative class necessarily, I just went to a class on Sunday, but it was convenient and I had the time so I decided to stay. Well as often happens, but still can be a surprise, lots of new people showed up since it was the New Year. We were running out of supplies and there were a lot of people who didn’t know what to do. (Restorative yoga involves a bunch of blankets, blocks etc. to prop people up into relaxing positions.) I jumped right in to help the instructor and then switched from a participant to an assistant in the class. The best part was I didn’t need the class. I was “giving from a full cup”. And it was simply a moment of immense beauty to observe a room full of “busy Americans” all silent and resting. It touched me.

#5 – Finally one of those new yogis was a highly attractive man who I briefly directed (as he looked lost). I hope he comes back! I don’t have to be good at small talk to ask how he liked his yoga class (or if he has done yoga anywhere else). We’ll see.