Thursday, January 28, 2016

Guest Photographer

Photo credits: Sweet Man

#1 - Doing a walking meditation outside a public library. It took me 25 minutes to circle the building, which can be excruciating at times and beautiful at others. The library was in a suburban city center with an amphitheater with multicolored lights that I had plenty of time to enjoy at my slow pace.

#2 - Because of an exercise goal that I am pursueing (in relation to a monumetal birthday) I had a beautiful ski tonight. I would not have gone otherwise. The park near me has "poor" ski conditions and I knew it would probably be icy anywhere. But I went to one where they make snow and it was quiet and still and lovely and I was so glad to be outside.

#3 -I have also been working on writing more letters this year and recently I sent one to a friend who didn't know I was dating anyone. She emailed me today to say -

"Dear Tammy,
What I want to say after reading your letter, there is only one thing:

The tortoise beat the hare. You are the tortoise. You are going to win."

It's not the first time I've been compared to a tortoise (or turtle) in a complimentary way :).

Interesting fact I just looked up - Tortoises are land dwelling and turtles live in the water at least some time.

#4 - I recently finished Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fail. This is a book about what it takes to get back up. By Brene Brown. It was so helpful, hearing her vulnerabilities and struggles. I read one about her and her husband to the sweet man a week ago when we were having some challenges and it was reassuring to hear she was going through similar things with a man she's spent 25 years with, made me (us?) feel less alone.

" this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance. Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You're going to confuse, piss off, and terrify lots of people - including yourself (254)."

#5 - I love both these photos and since I've been remiss at taking nature ones recently, hopefully the sweet man won't mind. And the best part is that they were taken in the city, the sunrise on his drive to work. The snow on a walk on a cold winter day. It's nice to hang around with a guy that turns toward all seasons, turns toward everyday life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wild Adventure?

My day started with -

"I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see you in such a perfect couplehood; truly makes me heart sing."

A former (and future) writing teacher had been going through old emails and found one from me that she said was a "joy". She thanked me for it and hoped the sweet man and I were well. She knows him a little because he's been attending a monthly men's writing group that she leads. I sent her the above photo from last weekend with this explanation

"Yep still playing guitar but not nearly as much as I was. Cycles come and go. I have someone in part to blame (time redirecting) but only in part :).

We went on an adventure this weekend with the outdoors group in which we met. We stayed at this cabin with 4 others that we had to ski into (only 1 k but still was a stretch for me) with our food (which he took care of because I thought it sounded like a lot of work) and belongings on a sled. I loved it. The cold was fine with the extra clothing I wore, IMMENSELY helped by the lack of wind.

I hope you'll see him at a men's writing group soon.


Then she replied,

"oh my gosh, Tammy, that is a wonderful story! Please continue to share these great stories! The wild adventures you do that I can only imagine doing in this lifetime... beautiful... I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see you in such a perfect couplehood; truly makes me heart sing. Maybe we can all hang sometime and jam! :) xoxo"

Last year I had looked at this trip and thought it was too much for me. But with encouragement and confidence from someone I trust and feel comfortable with, it was doable. "Adventure?" Yes. "Wild?" Hmm. I guess because it is my life it doesn't seem that way, but maybe it could be.

Then mid-morning I got a phone call from a friend asking if I had time to listen to a poem by Mary Oliver called "Rope".

"Sure!" After the poem I asked, "Do you want to hear about what I did last weekend?"


"Have I told you about the guy I'm dating?" This friend lives far away and though we'd spoken a couple times this fall, that surrounded a big event in his life so I wasn't sure if I'd mentioned it.

"No," he said.

So I briefly filled him in. My friend then said that when I'd left a message for him this fall, "I was kind of shocked with the amount of happiness in your voice." He thought something was up, but I hadn't said anything.

Anyway, two people reiterating in one day that I have a lot to be grateful for...

including future plans that slowly build. Last April we reserved a camper cabin for New Years because a friend had sent a link to a cool new park/cabins and it was filling up fast. All the weekends through October were already full, so we needed to pick a winter one and I wanted to wait until there might be snow. We had no idea if we'd still be dating 8 months later, but we were both completely comfortable with the idea. Besides one of us could still use it even if we didn't go together. Anyway, we enjoyed that so much we've already reserved another cabin in a county park for next New Years and I just received the confirmation email today. After living an ENTIRE life with zero plans for New Year's, this is a welcome change of pace.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

To Write or Not To Write

#1 – The yoga studio were I usually attend is being remodeled so I’ve gone to a different place recently. Some of the classes there have loud music which the teachers yell over. I don’t like being yelled at. I don’t find it motivational.

My favorite instructor was also one of the most challenging. She was a woman with a very soft pleasant voice who would trick you into doing difficult things. She never said, “Stick with it! Keep it up!” She just told you seemingly simple things to do and after a while it would hit you, “This is really hard!”

Anyway, this morning the music was quieter and the instructor had a soft voice and I felt nurtured and content.

#2 – Kerri Miller’s (Minnesota Public Radio) show from yesterday that a friend recommended I listen to. It was an interview with Emily Nagoski the author of Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life

#3 – Someone wrote in to Kerri Miller asking they do a similar show on men so Kerri asked her guest to recommend a guest for such a program. She suggested, Ian Kerner, I looked him up on the library catalog and thought, “The cover of this book looks familiar.” Then realized that’s because I saw it laying around the sweet man’s house.

#4 – I signed up to continue the Writing and Meditation Class I took this fall but there weren’t enough participants so it was cancelled. I was disappointed, but I already had all the times on my calendar so I decided to do it anyway. It was an hour and a half once a week for eight weeks. I got a friend to agree to participate with me every other week and then decided I’d do the other four weeks myself. This week was my first solo week. I switched my class to Tuesday since it worked better for my schedule. Tonight, I was feeling pretty unenthusiastic about it though. I didn’t feel like sitting and meditating. I didn’t have any writing prompts prepared. Did I really have to do this?

But I lit a candle, turned out the lights, and my body knew.
My mind kept chattering as usual,
but my body was on board.

#5 – Then instead of using non-existent writing prompts I decided to write a letter. This felt much better and the enthusiasm returned. 45 minutes later the letter is almost complete.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Books and Letters

I just laid down in bed and pulled out my journal to write my gratitudes, then realized it was a blog gratitude day. So I got back up and here goes -

#1 – The interview with the author of City of Thorns I listened to on NPR about the largest refugee camp in the world in Kenya.

#2 – Looking like there was only one ticket left which prompted my friend to buy a ticket to a Peter Mayer concert I invited her to. She was interested but she hadn’t committed yet. It appeared she bought the last one, but then more showed as available. Either way, I’m glad she is coming.

#3 – Writing my first letter of 2016. Letter writing is something I’d like to make a regular part of this year, not as a resolution or another task to complete, but as a gift. Reconnecting me to myself through writing and to someone I care about, nurturing that connection.

#4 – A friend's email that she spent the entire weekend at home relaxing, and that she laid in bed one morning reading 150 pages of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. It makes me so happy when people take time for simple pleasures.

#5 – The seemingly random Eckhart Tolle and Neale Donald Walsch video that popped up after the Tolle video I chose which was precisely about something I've been contemplating and talked to a friend about over the New Year.

P.S. I put on display the below pictured item in my bedroom.