Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Load Planners

#1 - I was standing alone in the bus shelter protected from a rather fierce wind. A man came near to examine the schedule. He had a closed face the way strangers often do. He soon called the bus company to find out when a bus heading East would be there. I started looking at the schedule and saw only West bound info. Then I saw the bus he wanted arrive behind us. I don't think he understood how the stop worked as he was only looking ahead (and it is a bit confusing). "It's right there!" I pointed. "That bus goes downtown."

He started to run, but looked back for a moment to give me an open faced smile.

#2 - I've been filling in part-time at a job I was originally assigned through a temp agency. The job is in the transportation (trucking) department of a potato and egg company. This is probably the 5th (?) time I've been back there and each time I think I bring a little bit more of myself. Last time I started reading poems to various people in the department (one poem a day, each day to a different person.) Today I walked into the office where the three load planners work, one of whom is new to me, and I said, "Are you ready for your poem of the day?"

"Poem of the day?!" The new guy exclaimed (because in fact this was quite inaccurate. I think it's only the 2nd poem I've read them since I've been back). Then these three men, who plan trucks, gave me their undivided attention with expectant smiles.

"That was a dose of reality." One of them responded. (It was a bit of a downer poem.)

"I'll bring a happier one next time," I replied.

#3 - An email I read this AM - "I thank you for your honest question and kind words. I feel like reaching out and giving you a big hug right now..."

#4 - I bought my airplane ticket to NC for this summer. I can spend WAY too much time debating about when I should buy to get a better fare.

#5 - That I had a second alarm set up in my room. I've been doing this since I started catching the bus for work again as those days I have my alarm set for 20 minutes earlier. Today I was awoken by that second alarm (which is really loud and annoying) because my first didn't go off. I looked and it was set - but not for another 15 minutes because that is the time I usually get up. Anyway, alarm #2 prevented a rushing morning.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


  • I mentioned previously there is a letter/poetry contest that I am going to enter soon.  Last night a woman came to mind who was in a writing class I took a few years back.  Her comments were always insightful.  I didn't have her email saved, but I had it written in an address book so I gave it a try and sent her the poem.  She responded right away that she will take a look at it and get back to me.

  • Last week I spoke to a friend who was excited to take a trip to Oregon this summer.  Today she wrote me that she had a different plan, "In a fairly quick turn of events, I've signed up for a trip to Ubud, Bali."  What?!  After I inquired further she explained that she didn't think international travel was an option in her current job for $ and time off reasons but, "Cheers to shattering limiting beliefs!"

  •  I'm putting together some plans for a trip for myself this summer.  I'm going to "guitar and folk week" which is hosted at a college in Asheville, NC.  I applied for their work exchange after mentioning it to a friend on the phone who encouraged me.  I found out a couple weeks ago that I was awarded one of the positions so my fee will be 1/2 price.  Now I'm coming up with a plan to do a little camping/hiking in the area before the music week.  One of the places I want to camp (because it is listed in a book I got from the library called "Best Places to Camp in North Carolina") I just google mapped and it is 10.4 miles from the airport.  Excellent camping within 10 miles of an airport!  This is both awesome and intriguing.

  • I mailed (postal) some friends my post from March 1st that I knew wouldn't see it here.  One replied today "I enjoyed your letter; thanks for sending it.  10,000 gratitudes - sounds like a book.  That is awesome.  I am happier just knowing that such a thing has happened."  

  • In fact this is #9215 - Yep. I did the Math today.  I'm on gratitude #9215.  That is how many gratitudes it took to find a guy whom I enjoy spending time with to ask me to get together with him again.  Nine thousand two hundred and fifteen.  :)

Monday, March 9, 2015


#1 - I woke up this morning thinking I must have missed my alarm.   The time changed over the weekend and there was no way I was awake before it.  But I looked, and, nope it was 6AM.  Then before work I typed up a poem I might submit to a letter/poetry contest.  I know I will submit something, not sure it will be this poem and often it's hard to create space for this type of thing.  But it was before 7:30 AM and I could hardly believe it was already typed up.

#2 - I was feeling a little emotionally raw after sending the poem to a few people for comments/editing.  I just wrote the poem yesterday so it's hard to have enough distance to have it analyzed.  I went to Snatam Kaur's website and listened to her soothing/nourishing music all morning.

#3 - Two of the poets I asked about my submission replied.  The first wrote "very sweet and beautiful. I like it a lot."  The second wrote, "Thank you for sharing this with me. I really  liked reading it. There is no where to touch or fix.  The image is so vivid and brilliant and there is deep intimacy in your conversation."
#4 - I know this poem can be improved, which is I guess a nice problem to have, a supportive audience!  I decided to send the first guy some specific questions.  Actually I sent the poem to a co-worker and she didn't like it much.  I don't know that asking her for suggestions would help though, she was kind of down on the entire theme. :)

#5 - One of the regulars were missing from my community ed exercise class tonight.  It made a big difference.  I didn't realize how much his enthusiasm added to the atmosphere of the class.  Sometimes you don't notice something until it's gone.  Next week I'm going to have to thank him.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Five Years Practicing Gratitude

Five years ago I was cross-country skiing in a nearby park, not feeling grateful about it, and overall fed up with the lack of gratitude in my life.

In the quiet space that sometimes comes through exercise or time in nature, I was reminded of two things.  The first - daily gratitudes, something that I’d heard mentioned by various people over the years including Oprah Winfrey.  The second - a friend’s suggestion that I write a blog. “What would I possibly write about?” I had asked.

That day I had the answer.  My original goal was one month, five gratitudes a day, and no repeats.   After the month I had no desire to stop, though I didn’t always want to be on the computer.  So with time I switched to writing mostly in my journal, posting once a week.  

On March 1st, 2015 I will reach my 5 year anniversary.  At some point this summer I’ll hit 10,000 gratitudes.  How does it change one’s life to find 10,000 things to be grateful for?  

It would be interesting if there was a parallel Tammy whose life did not include that practice and we could look at what she’s doing.  More importantly, if we could look at what she is thinking.  Climbing into my bed recently while the winter wind howled outside I thought, “I am so wealthy.”  But more importantly than the thought, I felt wealthy.  This happens fairly often.  In part I’m sure because I am largely shielded from the consumer culture and messages that we are bombarded with.  However in another part, I think it is my gratitude practice. Having to find 5 things I am blessed by every day for 5 years begins to have a cumulative effect.  When I see a single brown leaf blown across the snow out the window as I am washing dishes, I feel wealthy.  When I am boarding a bus on a cold day and easily have enough money to pay the fare, I feel wealthy.  When I have a clean bathroom to use, or access to a clean bathroom at the store or a restaurant because I am “a paying customer,” I feel wealthy.  Not all the time, but more than I used to.

The most surprising thing about this to me is that the gratitude practice has been a writing practice.  I wasn’t thinking about this at all initially, but I do love to write, and like any skill it takes practice.  I’ve always written regularly, but now I’m writing every day, even if it is just five sentences.  They also still have to be specific and unique enough to pertain to today only.

I’m sure I’ve broken that rule a few times, especially in the beginning.  As I have forgotten to write my gratitudes a few times, which just meant the next day I’d remember and write 10.

Also being able to share this practice with somone who reads these posts has been a gift.  In some ways it is an offering of the best parts of myself.  

So extra thanks to Jill who suggested I write a blog, and my mother who was always active outdoors in the winter and put me on cross-country skis as a child, the park where this thought came to me, the lack of gratefulness that led to this idea, to Stephanie my long-time most encouraging reader and lastly to myself for making this practice a priority in my life, and for setting aside this time, right now, to acknowledge that.