Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Vulnerable and Giving

#1 - For all the discouraging behavior from men out there, there are also men saying things like this!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcTKAyfBe6S/?taken-by=lewishowes


#2 - I realized that a salad I planned to make this week was going to be fairly pricey. It asked for walnut or pumpkin seed oil as well as a couple other things I don't usually buy. And then considering I am the only one eating it, and it would not be good as leftovers long, it didn't seem like a good purchase. However, my sister-in-law and I ended up volunteering together this AM so we ate it for lunch afterwards and she was the perfect person to share it with me. It had shredded beets, pumpkin seeds, radishes, green onions, avocado and nori sheets.

#3 - While we were making that salad I finally understood why my sister-in-law has been so loving and non-judgmental this past year. She told me of a time in the past when she was judgmental to a family member. She now understands the roots of what was happening and that what was needed from her was not judgment but love. I had started to wonder if she didn't understand what I'd told her about my life, but now I see she understood it more than I imagined.

#4 - If you looked at my life this past week you'd think I volunteer all the time. The reality is that three small seeds I planted 4 - 10 years ago all converged this week. They are all organizations that I volunteer with infrequently - from once a year to once a month - they are all soil I believe in and am happy to nurture. Today, sorting gifts at the holiday gift sale, I remembered why I keep going back.


#5 - "It's profoundly vulnerable to talk to someone about what it is that we desire. And I think that humans in general often have only a rudimentary skill set for how to be vulnerable with other humans about anything, whether that is in friendships or in sexual romantic relationships."

Kate McCombs

(From my favorite recent podcast discovery Smart Sex with Kerri Miller)

https://www.smartsex.org/

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

That's How the Light Gets In

"Do you play out?"

"No," I replied.

I asked myself again what I was doing as I felt more and more out of place. In order to calm myself I brought to mind the image of two soothing men.

The first was Jason Mraz.

"Beginner"

Beginner, beginner - Jason needed a reminder that we are all beginners so much he had the word tattooed on the outside of his upper arm.

It is not shameful to be a beginner, I remembered, it is brave.

The second was Lewis Howes who said that he used to be afraid to speak in front of a handful of people. He would stutter and stumble. He joined Toastmasters to work on this, and now, if he didn't tell that story, I would assume public speaking came naturally.

I started writing a new song a week and a half ago. It has one string tuned out of standard tuning, really by accident, and so I couldn't figure out the chords for a bridge. I'd thought about checking out a songwriting group for years, but now I finally had something I could bring to them and I noticed that the group wasn't in the calendar at all in December. Maybe the group is just taking a break in December, but maybe it is disbanding altogether? If I want to check it out I need to go now.

So I sat in circle of six older men, later joined by a couple women, talking about Nashville and songwriters and things entirely above my head. We went around, each sharing a song. I didn't want to apologize about my skill level, but I did say, "I'm a rudimentary guitar player and I have a song that I need help to find chords for the bridge."

And then I played.

The response was that I didn't need a bridge. That the song was hypnotic like Leonard Cohen.

"There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in," Leonard Cohen

When I chose 'light' as my word of the year, I selected it because I wanted something like 'playful'. Light is playful, but also so much more. A person who is a light in a field is a shining example, light isn't serious, light is the opposite of heavy, etc.

However, these words did not describe my year.

It wasn't until a yoga class a couple weeks ago that "light" made sense to me. Light illuminates the darkness. It shows what has been hidden. When things are revealed they can be faced, begin to heal. Hmmmm, as usual, my word of the year pulled a surprising punch. I had to scrap all those other meanings and go with this one.

But tonight, when someone said my song was hypnotic like Leonard Cohen I felt something else there. I felt an opening.

"There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in."

There seems to be lots of cracks right now, lots of glimmers of light. Sitting in a group of nine people - half of whom, at the end, announced where they will be "playing out" in the next couple weeks - sitting there, I allowed myself to be seen. My beginning self. My illuminating the darkness self. My self
that is cracking open a door
to peer in.


Monday, November 20, 2017

This is the Way


#1 - I added some photos of my niece's tool belt to this post and the last one.

#2 - I turned down the heat a little, so that when I came home, I could turn up the heat a little and engage in one of my favorite cold weather simple pleasures - relaxing by the heating vent, not just for the normal short heating cycle, but for an extended one.

#3 - Though when I got home from my community ed exercise class I had no need to turn it up. It was the last night until the class resumes in January and apparently our instructor wanted it to be memorable. We did a "hack" squat with weights and I literally got stuck in the bottom. It was little scary, but I also started laughing because I didn't have the muscle to push myself up again. I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

#4 - I have another couple nights in an Iowa cabin on the calendar. Last year that plan painfully did not turn out as expected, but still ended up being filled with beauty with my sister-in-law and nephew. It's a precarious thing trying again - different park, different cabin, same man.

#5 - The second episode of a damn good podcast came out.

This is the Way: a memoir of poetry and heroin
By Chris Jansen


I already read the manuscript, so I thought I could listen to it while working. I was wrong, too riveting.

It is written from a world both completely alien to me and yet at the same time completely familiar. A world of drugs and pain, searching and loneliness, desperation and compassion.

I tunes

Android


RSS



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Trials and Toolbelts

#1 - My niece's "toolbelt" which she created out of paper etc. It held a pencil, a small notebook (which she also made), a sword (which she also made), some rolled up "POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS", and at least five other things that I don't know what they were. It was secured around her waist via velcro. I'll try to post a photo later.

#2 - We held the trial for my niece. I represented the "Fun Police" whose motto is "No Fun For Everyone". I had prepared in advance my testimony with all of her recent fun infractions and the community service that she failed to complete (making three fun police badges). The judge gave her the chance to complete the badges in 20 minutes before offering a more harsh sentence. She was able to complete the task in time. I'm not sure if the trial was worth the time I put into it, but she did say she wanted another trial later, so maybe it was.

#3 - Finding that my 2 year old nephew could be distracted from plastic toy guns by reading him stories. I am not a fan of toy guns at all and once he discovered them it didn't look like anything would distract him. But we were alone in the basement so I grabbed a book, and for a while at least, that was all it took.

#4 - Anger is a tricky emotion. It is so often misused, but in fact it has an important role, which is protection. I was annoyed at being angry again today in relation to things we are working through in my relationship. "How long is this going to keep popping up?" I asked myself. As I walked towards my soccer game a teammate asked, "How are you?"

"Good," I automatically said, then continued, "Actually I'm pretty angry but 'good' is the word that came out."

Which led to a simple, but supportive, conversation.

Then on the sidelines waiting for our game to start I asked another teammate if he'd gotten ahold of our mutual friend. He'd emailed a few weeks ago asking if I had this guy's phone number. I wasn't sure if I did, but I gave him what I had and it turns out they went to a play together last night called something like "Luther on trial." The friend is a Lutheran pastor and the play actually sounded quite interesting. For example, one of the witnesses is Adolf Hitler, because apparently, Martin Luther later in life said some pretty anti-semitic things.


#5 - I've had a lot to write about this past year, but I haven't done a whole lot of writing. Besides one weekend workshop this summer, nothing has jumped out at me. Just now though I received an email from a woman whom I did writing and meditation with two years ago. I love the two of those together but she did not continue because of a lack of interest. I just received an email from her looking for interest in a once a month writing/meditation group for next year. I told her I'd love to.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Exhibit A

#1 - The feeling of peace and satisfaction I felt when I opened the bottom right drawer of my dresser. I cleaned/organized 6 of the drawers of my dresser this afternoon.

#2 - Starting the day with a morning yoga class with a friend and after that having zero plans - thereby having time to do simple things at home like organize a dresser.

#3 - Being reminded of the Happy Cow website - I should use this whenever I go somewhere new to look for vegetarian/healthy restaurant options. I used it a long time ago but forgot all about it. I'm also reminded to use it when I fall into a restaurant rut at home.

#4 - Seeing Halloween photos of my niece as a pirate and nephew as an astronaut.

#5 - Ordering prints of those photos, as well as a few others, to use for the trial for my niece that I am scheming. She was assigned some community service by the "Fun Police" (the last few months she clearly surpassed the allowable fun threshold), and she has not completed it. So I have the thought to summons her for a court appearance. Those photos could be "Exhibit A". I consulted the guy I'm dating to play the part of either a judge or a lawyer today. I plan on asking his daughters this week if they'd be willing to play the other parts.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Snapshot

#1 - "Damn!" my freshman roommate from college has some serious arm and shoulder muscles. I was a bit in awe during her 5:30AM body pump class today.

#2 - She has four kids, and works, and teaches fitness, and is back in school...

I was happy, or maybe a bit relieved, to see her get a bit frustrated with one of her children on the way out the door this morning.

I'm trying to figure out why I'm grateful for this? I guess because it is relatable. I can't relate to all those hats she juggles in her life, and am a bit in awe of it in fact, so it is good to know that everything isn't always juggled perfectly.

#3 - Even though it was a quick - 16 hour - visit, I told my friend it was fun to see a snapshot of her life. She said it was fun to share it.

#4 - I used to always listen to music while I cleaned the yoga studio, more recently I mostly work in silence. Yesterday, I started memorizing a poem on a hike. I don't know if I've memorized a poem all year and it felt so good to give my mind something productive to stew over. I realized that while I'm cleaning later today would be a perfect time to work on that. I'd like to have it finished up for my monthly poetry group this week.

#5 - I thought that I was going to either miss poetry this month, or miss the first game in my new Wed eve soccer session. However the game time will work perfectly to attend after poetry is done.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Raspberry Leaf Tea

#1 - One of the reasons I had surgery last fall was because of my heavy menstrual bleeding - it had always been heavy but in the last couple years it had begun interfering with my life. On the heaviest night I couldn't even sleep through the night without it becoming an issue. So after my surgery I looked forward to this changing. One month after I didn't notice a difference, two, three, four, five...I asked my doctor about it and she suggested another ultrasound. My insurance was about to change and I wasn't sure that clinic was covered anymore so I put it off and she didn't push it. Nine cycles after my surgery - other things had improved, but this was the same.

In July I saw a more holistic health person I see on occasion. I mentioned it to her and she told me to start drinking raspberry leaf tea. I was resistant. I'm not a big tea drinker and she was asking me to commit to this everyday, long-term. I put up a fuss, but she said it was really important. So I began. One month later my period was still heavy but suddenly manageable. Two months later, the same. I'm currently on my 3rd cycle since I started drinking raspberry leaf tea and it is simply miraculous. I don't get up during the night at all and it isn't a problem. I am amazed and sold.

#2 - I sent a friend an option to try (Emotional Freedom Technique - Tapping) for some physical pain she is going through. It might not help, but it's free and non-invasive and worth a try and she is open to it, and for that, I am grateful.

#3 - My mind was racing a bit this AM. When I went outside to pick a few raspberries for my breakfast, I discovered how warm/beautiful it was so I did a few sun salutations with the fall leaves and the rising sun.

#4 - I wanted to make something that involved "kitchen twine" and not only does the guy I'm dating know what it is - he has some.

#5 - Warm Skillet Salad with Roasted Apples and Sweet Potato - my dinner - a recipe from Oprah's magazine

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Kindness

#1 - Having plentiful raspberries for breakfast, which I remembered to go out and pick last night, as it is now too dark when I eat breakfast to get them then.

#2 - I was reading one of Brene Brown's books when the guy I'm dating and I had our first real conflict. The passage I read that day was super helpful in opening my heart and asking me to soften. Last night I read an excerpt from Brene's newest book - Braving the Wilderness - The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone to that same man and this morning he emailed me an email from a year ago that he had a new perspective on because of Brown's words.

#3 - Kindness is the theme this month where I do yoga. I just emailed the owner my favorite poem on the topic by Naomi Shihab Nye

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2007/07/23#

It's a poem I've always liked, but this year especially is meaningful to me.

#4 - We did a new move in barre class today. We started on our backs, lifted our feet up on the barre and then pushed up, so just our upper back and head were on the ground. Then we did "lifts."

It was tough in a really good way.

#5 - I love that I don't have any lights on as I type this and so my eyes are drawn outside to the sky and the changing colors in the sunset there - as they were drawn to the unusual plethora of birds that made an appearance as I ate lunch - robins, chickadees, nuthatches, hairy woodpecker, blue jay, red bellied woodpecker, sparrow...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

I Would Rather Feel It All

A while back listening to the radio in the car, there was a song I wasn't paying much attention to, and then suddenly I was riveted. I wrote down the group and looked it up to listen. Today I needed that song again, and apparently YouTube knew it because I haven't seen it in my suggested videos for a long time, but there it was.



I was struck again this weekend by the fact that in the same 24 hours both my life and a friend of mine's life shifted drastically. Really what is the likelihood of that?

Sometimes I just can't believe in the randomness of life.

I emailed my friend, he has been writing about his trajectory shift, to tell him I am ready for my next installment if he has one ready. He sent it to me. It is such a gift to have it to read during lunch and dinner today. It reminds me of Glennon's quote -

“When her pain is fresh and new, let her have it. Don't try to take it away. Forgive yourself for not having that power. Grief and pain are like joy and peace; they are not things we should try to snatch from each other. They're sacred. they are part of each person's journey. All we can do is offer relief from this fear: I am all alone. That's the one fear you can alleviate.

― Glennon Doyle Melton, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed

Sometimes I just know things - like this upcoming weekend I have a bunch of plans/ideas, but I couldn't solidify them. I can get frustrated by this, even though I've observed again and again when this happens, it is because there is a piece of information or a change of plans that I am not aware of yet.

So I wasn't at all surprised to get an email this AM which will/would change my plans. "I KNEW IT!" without possibly knowing.

How can we, can I be clued in to so many things but miss so many others?

To conclude, and continue on the lack of randomness theme - something I've thought and talked about quite a bit this past year is men and men's groups and men's support. I watched the excellent film "The Mask You Live In" and I have "The Mask of Masculinity : How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives" by Lewis Howes on request from the library. And today I checked Jason Mraz's instagram to see what he's up to and he recently went on a backpacking trip with a men's group.

"Evryman is a community of men who come together to challenge and support one another in their personal growth."

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Judge C. R.

#1 - My two friends and I completed a beautiful weekend together at Judge C.R. Magney state park near Lake Superior. The last time the three of us camped together was 9 years ago, before one of us got married and had kids. The forecast was for stormy weather, but the only rain came at night. I'm so glad we didn't let the forecast change our plans.

#2 - Waking up after a good, long, peaceful night's sleep in a tent. I had a couple panic attacks while camping last summer. The first at night in the tent during a thunderstorm, the second at night in the tent when the wind blew (but no storm came). So this year I've been on edge about camping and reminding my body that it loves it, not to fear it. This weekend there were storms forecast during camping, which happened Friday night. Thankfully they never got too close or intense, but I still had a hard time for a while. Last night, storms were also a possibility, but they didn't come and I was so happy to fall asleep easily, and sleep peacefully the entire night.

#3 - I passed our extra kindling on to a family camping beside us before we left. Occasionally someone will be surprised that I camp alone (sometimes), I always find the only people who express such fears to me are people who don't camp. Here are the encounters we had with other people at our campground.

First, one of my friends ran into a family she is really close to. We were over 4 hours from home and here at the same campground, without her knowledge, are people she loves and trusts. Then the people at the site next to ours, without a word between us, gave us some kindling, they said it was hard to get the logs started for a fire. Then while we were at the first someone with a headlamp approached our site to ask if we had any salt or pepper. Nope.

#4 - When we were getting ready to leave the campsite I motioned my friends over and initiated a group hug and a thank you to the trees, the earth and the sky.

#5 - On the drive home one of my friends made a comment about me. Soon after I realized it hurt my feelings. I became curious about my reaction. Yep this is what I do, I stuff it. I know it wasn't a big deal or intentional so I just act as if nothing happens even though, inside, I'm in pain. Hmm. Then I started feeling down on myself for reacting that way. "What can I do differently?" I decided to wait until we stopped as I was sitting in front and she in back. Then I put my arm around her and said, "I know you didn't mean to hurt me, but when you said...I felt hurt."

And then it was gone. It was that simple.

I don't think I would have ever done that if I hadn't been doing all the work I have been with the guy I'm dating. And the remarkable thing was I no longer had to carry it with me. It was gone.

And later my friend said she hadn't meant to be hurtful, which I knew, which is why I didn't want to say anything. Well that and admitting your hurt is a vulnerable thing, especially if it seems small and like you, "shouldn't be" or are "too sensitive".

As Brene Brown says, "Vulnerability is courage."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Market and Soccer

#1 - Last Sunday I had the best several hours I've had in many months.  I finally had the emotional well-being, time alone and space to take a "date" with myself - to follow my joy, to turn deep within.  The next morning, I woke up a half an hour before my alarm morning and read more, played a little guitar and started the work week in such an energized space.  However somehow a day or two later things shifted, plans led to frustration and I started waking up early feeling anxious instead of energized.  Each day earlier - one day 5:30AM, then 5:00 AM, yesterday I woke up at 4:15AM after a bad dream and today 3 something (though I did go back to sleep).  Today, it was good to go from that to the farmers' market, to spend the day outside with people, and asking children if they wanted to spit watermelong seeds.

#2 - Despite the lightning, rain and wind during market set-up, the weather calmed by opening time and people were able to participate in the watermelon seed spitting contest.  And even better, my favorite watermelon seed spitting assistants arrived to help out.
 
#3 - Watching the assertive energy of my niece as she ran up and down the soccer field, the first time I've seen her play a game.

#4 - Also witnessing her skill and ease in social interactions - something I never had.  I appreciate how naturally it comes to her.

#5 -

The Quiet Outside
The Quiet Inside
The Quiet Within



*****



P.S.  I listened to this podcast on Wednesday, and I can't help but share it.  I LOVE Brene Brown and Lewis Howes! Here is the link to the podcast.



“What’s your definition of greatness?”  Lewis Howes

 
“To own your story and love yourself through that process
that is greatness to me.”  Brene Brown
 


https://lewishowes.com/podcast/r-brene-brown-create-true-belonging-and-heal-the-world/





"There's only two kinds of kids you raise. Kids who will ask for help when they need it, or kids who won't. And that's as good as it gets, is to raise a kid who will ask for help." Brene

"Yeah I never asked for help." Lewis, "I was always suffering inside, and I always felt shameful, guilty. My way of asking was being angry, resentful, mad, hitting people in sports, or outside of sports because that is all I knew."

Friday, September 8, 2017

Just Be

#1 - My friend has been sending me pieces of a memoir he is working on.  Last night I printed out the next segment with the plan to savor it in the backyard with a smoothie (but I was too content to read) or before bed (but I ended up not turning on any evening lights).  This morning I was being kind of pokey about fully waking up, until I remembered I still had the next section to read, and then I instantly turned on the light and began.

#2 - "Mom that truck says, 'Tree Care Service', but it's actually 'Tree Killing Service'," my friend's 8 year old.

#3 - Getting to hear about the first week of school after 8 years of being a full time at home mom and the stress my friend feels lifted she didn't even know she was carrying.

#4 - So far both of those children are enjoying their new schools, and apparently have requested another sleep over at my house.  I haven't seen them enough lately, so we might have to wait until the farmer's market is over, but I'd like to make that happen.

#5 - Having some SPACE and, most likely, early bedtimes in my weekend.  Plans to be quiet at home.  There is a lot of beautiful things to enjoy and venture towards in life and too much time idle gets boring, but too little, and I miss it dearly. 

This weekend maybe I'll have some time to read a book, organize a little, write a letter, or just be.  I can't play guitar unfortunately because I was trying an Ani DiFranco tuning recently and I broke a string.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Beauty That Awaits


I was taught this simple practice a number of years ago by Elizabeth Harper - the mandala drawing - supposedly a snapshot of the subconscious (or unconscious I get the two mixed up) from Carl Jung.  You take a piece of paper, you make a big circle, and then you doodle for 20 minutes and at the end you give it a title.  This is the mandala I did the night before I received some devastating news in March.  I had no idea anything was about to happen, but it seems my subconscious did. Looking back on this drawing later, I see a bunch of stick figures firing bullets at each other.  The title I gave it was, "Fallen."

A week ago tonight I'd had a pretty awful day.  I'd been furious.  I'd cried.  And I knew I was going to have a hard time sleeping that night.  So the first thing I did when I climbed into bed was doodle a mandala.  In this case, despite these feelings, a peaceful image came out and the title, "The Beauty that Awaits".

 Hmmm, once again.

 And it was right.


I shared this information with a friend on a walk today.  I almost apologized when I left for dominating the conversation.  Really I should have just thanked her for listening.

I made a big sweet potato and black bean salad to share at a picnic I'm having with friends on Saturday.  It isn't really a potluck and I suspect at least one friend will feel bad if I offer food to share and she doesn't have any, so I'm already prepared to email this quote tomorrow,

"When you attach value to giving help, you attach value to needing help.  The danger of tying your self-worth to being a helper is feeling shame when you have to ask for help.  Offering help is courageous and compassionate, but so is asking for help." Brene Brown

Speaking of asking for help, do you remember when I mentioned a couple weeks ago that after years of being urged to at the dentist, I was finally considering getting an electric toothbrush?  Well one magically appeared from a family member who can kind of be like Santa Claus.   I'm hopeful I will stop taking a beating on my gums. Being told I brush too hard just didn't seem to be working.
 



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eagle Huntress

#1 - Need a  little uplift today?  This blog

https://centaurwalking.blogspot.com/

reposted this link -

https://www.positive.news/2017/society/media/26491/went-right-jan-mar-2017/

which made me cry (in a good way)

#2 -  I got on my bike on a beautiful day and arrived at a park where an old friend awaited me, immediately turning my neediness into easiness

#3 - We listened to some nourishing outdoor music by Sarah Morris, "Can't tell if you're lonely or free, looks the same if you're lonely or free"
and "confetti like kindness"

#4-5 - Watching a man and his two daughters snuggle up to watch a movie in the park, The Eagle Huntress, a documentary about a 13 year old girl who breaks into a long standing father and son tradition in Mongolia

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Open Swim, Waterski Show, Friends

#1 - I have two friends I've been thinking of contacting but haven't gotten around to.  One is working on some writing and has been sending me installments.  I hadn't received any for a while.  The second has been in Brazil for almost a year and I was curious if he'd come back.

They both emailed me yesterday within an hour of each other.  The first sent the next writing installment and the second sent me some photos from Brazil.

#2 - I'm planning to take my niece to a free waterski show on the Mississippi this week.  We went together two years ago, but missed last year.  I invited a couple friends and their kids to join us.  The one whom I least expected has decided to join us.  Yeah!

#3 - Once a week there is a free open swim across a lake in Minneapolis.  My goal is to complete it once I month.  I did go once in June, July and August, so today will be a bonus swim, the last of its type for me (with the lifeguards across the lake) this year.  The season is winding down.

Last year the sweet man and his kids would usually meet me there which is a fun bonus, but until today that plan hadn't worked out this summer.

#4 - The dental hygienists have been trying to get me to switch to an electric toothbrush for years.  At first I just thought it was a money making thing, plus why use battery power for something unnecessarily?  But I've switched dental clinics and the person who cleaned my teeth said the same thing today, I brush too hard on my gums, an electric toothbrush would really help. 

At the same time I need to make sure to brush better a couple spots.  So for the first time my resistance has weakened and I'll consider it.

#5 - Super yummi fruit time right now!  I had local cantaloupe, local raspberry, semi-local blueberry and CA strawberry with a little lime fruit salad with my lunch today.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Mind/Body/Story


I took a Mind/Body/Story workshop last weekend.  It had three instructors:

Patricia Francisco – a writing teacher.  I took a week long nature writing class with her 10 years ago.  I loved it and was excited to do something with her again.

Matthew Sanford - "a nationally recognized yoga teacher... and a paraplegic for the last thirty seven years."  I have been vaguely familiar with his name for a long time and was interested in checking him out.

Kevin Kling - a storyteller - never heard of him.

To my surprise, it was the one I held the least excitement about (Kevin Kling) that I most enjoyed.  Today I decided to look up his public schedule and found he has a storytelling event at an art park at the end of the month.  It's only $5 and at a place I've only been to once and would love to go again!

Tonight I felt pretty tired, partly from not quite enough sleep this weekend, but also I think because the workshop was about telling your story, and I'm sure that working on and telling mine (or a 5 minute version of mine which takes incredible skill in its brevity) also took a great deal of emotional energy.

 So luckily tonight happens to be the night that restorative yoga is offered at my studio.  For some strange reason during the first pose I couldn't lay still.  My body was restless and kept wanting to move and then I wanted it to stay still which created additional tension and frustration.  It was the opposite of restorative, was it going to be this way for a whole 75 minutes?  Thankfully we did a mindfulness activity next, slowly eating one bite of peach, and after that, during the next pose my body calmed down.

As a support staff person at the studio I was able to pick out a purple t-shirt with image of a beet (or a radish) I'm not sure.

****
Offering my friend a piece of advice on something that her mother said, which she wrote back that she appreciated hearing.

Getting a copy of this photo, from my camping site last month.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Log Rolling

#1- Playing frisbee golf with four people I care about, three of whom never met each other before, it was a good casual introduction.

#2 - We all were signed up for log rolling at a local lake.  Four of us did it last year, but it was a new activity for my cousin.  She was concerned about getting hurt when falling off the (fake) log.  I told her she could watch as long as she wanted, but I suspected she'd see that the falls were easy ones.  The kids did great, definitely built on what they'd learned last year.  I don't think any of us are going to become log rolling aficinoados, but it was great to spend a day outdoors together.

#3 - The woman leading the log rolling activity recognized me enthusiastically from when I used to volunteer for the park district.  Maybe this is why, near the end of log rolling, I kind of took charge when some kids were getting too close to the log.  It seemed the assistant or other volunteer, I'm not sure which, was either tired or just not very directive.

#4 - I woke up next to my niece, since other members of the household were still sleeping I asked her if she wanted to read for a while.  She enthusiastically said, "Yes."  We read Shel Silverstein's Lafadio, which she thoroughly enjoys and I was happy to have the time to read it in entirety for once.

#5 - I knew when we got back from log rolling that it would be dinnertime.  Yesterday I made a big pot of soup that I knew the girls liked, as well as a cucumber and pepper salad from my surplus vegetables.  It was so nice to be hungry and have all that ready to go.  Plus we arrived just in time to meet my brother, so my cousin was able to join him and his family to go out to dinner.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

To Market, To Market

#1 - If you can't fall asleep I'd like to offer a suggestion.  This suggestion requires 20 minutes.  I often don't follow this suggestion because I think, "I don't want to be up for another 20 minutes," but after an hour and a half last night, I turned on the light and did a mandala.  Here is what you do - make a big circle, doodle for 20 minutes, then give it a title.

Then turn off the light and see if you can sleep, as I said it took me an hour and a half last night to implement this policy, and I've only tried it for this purpose a few times, but it has never failed.

#2 - Another beautiful day at the farmer's market.  It seems our vendor numbers are a bit down this year, which isn't good, but the benefit is that it hasn't been stressful trying to fit everyone in.  So far, we've always easily had space, which is something that at times can be hard.

#3 - Today I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker whom I've never really clicked with.  It began with me asking how she ended up at the church she goes to.  It was refreshing to connect with her.

#4 - Some guy gave me a $5 token for the market a couple weeks back.  I wasn't sure if he was hitting on me or what and I was a little uncomfortable taking it.   I tried not to, but I still had it so today I used it to buy a strawberry popsicle.

#5 -  I forgot to grab a hair restraint this morning.  I almost always have a hair restraint on hand, and when it started to get hot and humid...I realized I could still put my baseball cap on and stick my hair through the hole on the back.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Water Fight

#1 - The completely unexpected and vibrant burst of laughter that erupted from my father based on the look my niece gave when she pulled the Old Maid from my cards.  I was not in a good space, but my father laughs so rarely that the sheer joy of it pulled me back into myself.

#2 - My niece and I had a water fight in the backyard.  It was super fun and my new practical swim top and shorts  were perfect for the activity.  She had the hose and I scooped buckets out of a little pool.  That open abandon was such a gift - I haven't had a water fight in years/decades.

#3 - Then I got to have some alone time talking with my sister in law about Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy - a book I was reading on recommendation from my couples counselor.  I was telling her about the Four Horseman which John Gottman found he could use to predict which marriages would succeed or fail.  The four Horsemen are:  Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling.

#4 - Seeing how I was withdrawing (stonewalling) last night and how this led to a downward spiral and coming up with an idea to try in the future.  I don't think I can or should talk when I'm in that space.  But it may help if conversation ceases and I was simply touched.

#5 - I received a phone call from a guy tonight who was open and receptive to that previous idea.  And the love that was missing from his voice when we parted last night, had returned.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Staying Vulnerable

#1 -  "I was looking for this "Middle-Aged" quote on Pintrest and came across another one that just hit me hard:

"Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection."  Brene Brown

The word "staying" really hit me. My thought went to your comment on Tuesday, when you mentioned making a decision on Aug 30 to stay or go. The thought I got tangled in was "Why? Why would I sit here and do this work that I need and want to do with you just to walk away in a couple months?" Then I thought of all the other times that I guarded my vulnerability because I had such doubt and a floating imaginary date in front of me to Opt Out of our relationship. There is much more here for me to "see," I know. I just wanted to share this with you. 

Tammy - My intention is to stay vulnerable with and for you especially while we work through this. 

I love you.  I'll see you tonight."

#2 - We didn't have to meet tonight.  We are currently doing weekly counseling - with a professional counselor every other week and on our own (for monetary reasons) the other weeks.  This week we had already "done" our own counseling session, so we could/should have had the night off.  But I'd had a lot of time to think and write when I was on vacation earlier this month and had written a  couple angry letters.  The first of which I sent, and the second of which I still had.  I said we could take tonight off, but he wanted to meet to read that letter.

#3 - I had just finished swimming 20 laps in the "plant" (non-chlorinated) pool, and he met me there and set up a hammock in the tree and listened to what I'd written and we ended the night not wanting to go our separate ways.

#4 - I've been listening to Esther Perel's new podcast, "Where Should We Begin?"  In case you don't know Esther, Wikipedia describes her as, "a Belgian psychotherapist notable for exploring the tension between the need for security and the need for freedom in human relationships."  Her podcasts are actual counseling sessions, and even the ones that don't seem to relate to me at all, I'm finding have a lot to offer.  She echoes Brene Brown in her understanding of the difference between guilt and shame, how guilt is helpful but shame is not.  As she told one man in today's episode,

 "It's very hard to stay in the position of responsibility and guilt versus shame...But this is your practice, your relationship practice, is to be able to feel more guilt, because guilt is the responsibility toward another person."


#5 - And on a topic change, while talking to my 22 year old cousin on the phone today she said, "I love that you think what I have to say is important."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Old Friends



#1 - Someone asked Eckhart Tolle a question on YouTube to which I was really curious to hear his response. Right when he began to respond the video cut off. I switched back to the screen and instead of feeling frustration, I relaxed into the spinning icon. Then I looked out the window and saw the green leaves, the blue sky, the puffy white clouds. I didn't really need the answer. In a way I already had it. Then I reloaded the page, and the answer came.


#2 - I've known my friend Katie since we were 5. She grew up in my neighborhood, was in my class kindergarten to 4th grade, and was one of my best friends. In middle and high school we were not as close, but still friends. Since high school we've rarely seen each other. We are very different people, living in different parts of the country.  I've thought some about how that is a loss, meaning if I met her today I don't know if we would be friends and that would be a loss to me.  It seems the older I get the more my friends are "like" me and in some way that is a gift, but in other ways I miss out because differences are gifts too.

Anyway, she is in town this week visiting her parents. She asked to get together and wanted to go to our childhood pool. I said I'd be happy to if she wanted, but there is also this non-chlorinated pool that is free that we could try. "I want to go to the plant pool," she responded. So we met there today. I hadn't seen her or spoken with her in a couple years, and I haven't seen her children in 6. So it's been a while. She was her usual boisterous self, so different from me so I appreciate so much more. We briefly talked about my last year in between kids requests to, "Watch this," or "Listen to this." When she heard about my break-up in December she asked who was there for me. I told her and later she said,

"I'm so sad I wasn't there for you when all that stress was going on." I was really surprised by this because we haven't been close for years, but it was a touching gift.

"I'm sure there will be future stress," I responded.

"Ok. Let me know."

#3 - I'm super grateful to have the work flexibility to fit that in today. I originally suggested 4pm but that didn't work for her, so then I said 2pm, "I'll just work some more when I get back," and I did.

#4 - I invited her to come to my soccer game Sunday. She is actually the reason (or one of the reasons I think) I started playing soccer in 5th grade. We played together. It was a huge gift of a seed in my life that would bare fruit for years to come. Plus a woman who grew up in the house behind Katie is now also on my soccer team and a good friend of hers so it would be really fun if she could come.

#5 - "We had such a great time today. Thanks again. I always feel like we pick up exactly where we left off. Don't be a stranger now. Love ya, Katie"

I emailed my friend quick to see if it was ok to copy that email for my blog and she replied,

"Whatever you wanna do Tammy! I just love ya so much and always will."  Which made me tear up and reminded me of a quote from Mary Schmich who wrote an essay that became a spoken word piece in the late 90's by Baz Luhrmann, "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)", also known as "The Sunscreen Song"


Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle

because the older you get
the more you need the people you knew when you were young

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rooting Back In



#1 - I am super grateful to have had the opportunity to visit friends last week and to see the ocean briefly after nearly a decade. However, I am ALSO super grateful that my life rarely involves air travel. I find myself feeling extremely ungrounded/unrooted after a day at the airport and in planes. Last week I spent lots of time walking in woods to help with that, today I brought my computer outside so I could have my feet on the soil as I type.

#2 - My sister-in-law, niece and nephew picked me up from the airport and we went to the non-chlorinated (and free) swimming pool for their first time. My 2 year old nephew did not venture in far, but was still captivated by all the goings on around him. He especially liked watching some older kids jumping in and kept blocking the ladder for them to climb back out.

#3 & 4 - I planned to make a quick grocery stop on the way home, that didn't happen, but my sister-in-law had some leftovers from a party this weekend so she sent me home with at least a couple meals. We also stopped to check on a friend's affectionate cat while he is gone. My niece had a great time petting him and carrying him around. My nephew yelled in fear whenever the cat came too near, but still enjoyed keeping an eye on him.

#5 - There was a storm while I was gone and it is interesting to see the damage, or lack of damage to plants. The rhubarb looks shot up, the raspberries look fine. Of the three tomato plants (which is my most important garden item) - one looks untouched, one looks ok but sad, the third doesn't look good, but I won't give up on it yet.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Owning Our Story

*Something I could not see (because it was beneath a blanket) came into my room and delivered the artwork pictured below.




*"One of the greatest casualties of invulnerability is this - empathy." - Brene Brown




*"Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain. It has an inverse relationship with accountability. Meaning, that people who blame a lot, seldom have the tenacity and grit to actually hold people accountable, because we expend all of our energy raging for 15 seconds and figuring out whose fault something is. Accountability, by definition, is a vulnerable process. It means me calling you and saying, 'Hey, my feelings were really hurt about this...nananana'..and talking. It's not blaming.

Blaming is simply a way that we discharge anger. Which is really hard. And blaming is very corrosive in relationships and it is one of the reasons we miss our opportunities for empathy. Because when something happens and we're hearing a story, we are not really listening." - Brene Brown









*"We can't orphan our stories. Because the only way we can change our story and have control over the ending, is to own it, you know. And so to me this is about shame resilience. One of the elements of shame resilience is asking for what you need...I ask for what I need, and that is inherently vulnerable. But I think if you love someone and you've got a struggle that you're not getting a response back to, then it is incumbent upon you to reach out and say, 'I love you, here's what I need from you, and here's what it looks like." - Brene Brown



This last one reminds me of a walk I took a couple months ago with a friend. I had just discovered some devastating news and I wasn't even going to bring it up. It was too fresh and we were just taking a quick walk during her lunch break. But pretty quickly into the walk I said, "I wasn't going to even mention this because I am barely processing it myself. It feels very vulnerable, so I really need zero judgement about this."

"Ok, no judgment, I got it," she said and then she followed through. She gave me exactly what I asked for and what I needed in a way that I've rarely felt. Was it because she was so perceptive in that moment or was it because I so specifically told her what would help? Either way I felt immensely grateful. She and I have another walk planned after I bring my niece home tonight.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fort Ridgely



#1 - My niece spent the weekend camping with me. The temperature hovered somewhere around 45 degrees (7 Celcius) and I don't think I heard her complain all weekend!

Actually her first complaint came when I told her one of the first things we were going to do when we got back was to take a bath and make sure we didn't pick up any ticks. She wanted to wait until she got to her house to take a bath.

#2 - I would not have gone camping this weekend. If it was a solo trip I would have just adjusted my schedule because of the cold rainy weather. If I was bringing kids I would have been even less likely. I was pretty sure my friend (and her friend) would call during the week and ask if we should cancel and I didn't want to, but I also didn't want to convince them it would work/we'd have fun, because I was pretty skeptical.

I am so grateful that neither did they cancel, nor did they hint at canceling. Everyone had a great time. I was only cold briefly, and we were super fortunate that there was zero rain when we set up (most important part) and just the lightest of drizzles when we took down (second most important part).








#3 - We had enough warm/dry clothes. I never even used my down jacket that I brought and everyone (thanks to some sleeping bags we borrowed) stayed warm at night. My friend even said she preferred sleeping in these temps as opposed to the hot summer nights.


#4 - Throwing "Pooh sticks" after "Winnie the Pooh" over the side of a bridge into the creek and then running to the other side to see whose stick goes the fastest/farthest.

(I didn't mention it's called "Pooh sticks" because of certain children who are slightly obsessed with poop.)






#5 - My friend's 7 year old reading The Diary of a Wimpy Kid to my 5 year old niece in the back seat of a dry car, while she ate lunch, and I packed up our wet tent.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

I Will Not Sell


"They deem me mad
 because I will not sell my days for gold;
 and I deem them mad 
because they think my days 
have a price."

Kahlil Gibran

 
It was a splendid spring day and as I contemplated why I was able to enjoy it outside, the above quote came to mine.  I have sold my days, but certainly not to the highest bid, and in exchange I have the opportunity, on days like today, to dive into the world outside.  My only agenda was to bike 3 miles over to a friend's at 9AM for a bit and then bike (or bus) the remaining 16 miles home.

But once I left his house I wasn't in a hurry to get home, I entered the mindset of being away/on vacation.  I biked an extra few blocks to look at Minnehaha Falls, no crowds today.  I laid in the park in the sun.  I took myself out to lunch.  I ordered a slice of key lime pie, but was surprised to find what what most delighted me was not the pie but the free sparkling water on tap.  It really hit the spot.

I biked more, took a brief nap in another park under the budding translucent cottonwood leaves, backlit by the sun, waving in the wind.  At this point I decided to test my time keeping skills, I'd left my friend's at 10:30am, what time was it now?  I guessed 2:52pm, I pulled out my watch and it was 3:02pm.  I biked some more, then made one last stop to pick up a few items for a picnic lunch tomorrow.  After shopping, I decided to test my time skills again.  I guessed 4:42pm, it was 4:50pm.

When I got home I ate a simple/delightful dinner of salmon cream cheese bagels with cucumbers and peppers on top, carrots, and a banana and strawberry smoothie with pineapple juice.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Mask You Live In





#1 - How do you feel when you leave the doctor?  I usually feel drained, even when I'm healthy and I can say the right things like,  "No I don't smoke.  Yes I exercise."

Today, I went back to the doctor that I had surgery with last fall.  I still have a couple concerns.  She said she wasn't happy I was back but it was good to see me.  I felt the same.  She is the definition of a true healer.  I share things in her presence and naturally expand into my vulnerability.  She is always reassuring and empathetic.  When I leave her office I feel confident, cared for and safe.

She is the definition of a true healer.

#2 - It seems one of my concerns today might have a simple solution.  The other she suggested an ultrasound for, but I explained my insurance changes in two days and I don't think their clinic will be an option for me anymore.  I guess she isn't too concerned on that concern, because she didn't press me on the ultrasound and just dealt with the other issue.

#3 - The Mask You Live In - a movie recommended by a friend, recommended by Pink and now recommended by me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc45-ptHMxo

#4 - A college age football player dressed in all his gear except his helmet, with a violin across his shoulder and a smile across his face

#5 - Watching The Mask You Live In with my head against a man's heart

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Forgot to Post

I forgot to post yesterday. I did still write in my journal so they are a bit raw and without explanation.  I'll mostly leave them that way.

#1 - The sound of "Hello" on the phone during lunch.  It made all the difference but also points to how precarious things are.  I found some useful information on helpguide.org.  We'll see what the counselor says tomorrow.  I hope to find relief for my experience of being "idealized one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn't care enough or is cruel."

#2 - The silence on the phone when I said it seemed when he hurts me I assume it's unintentional or because he is really hurting in himself.  It seems his assumption when I hurt him is either I'm intentional, stupid or cruel.   I don't want to date someone who has such assumptions about me and he shouldn't either.  He was silent.  I was in touch with my primary emotion of anger a bit today which felt good.

#3 - Oh my God, I'm at the DFL senate district meeting.  I came to hear from the legislators and they are debating about how to hold a meeting - kill me softly - oh wow, keepin it light as I write my gratitudes in my journal.  Deep breaths, smiles, room of light.  Now Paul Thissen is talking and I can breathe.

#4 - Three friends are interested in joining me in Sept on a camping trip on the North Shore, looks like either Temperance or Judge C Magney.  Three of us have agreed on a weekend now we just need confirmation from the 4th that it will work.

#5 - Talking to my representative after the meeting to get H.F. info on a bill which will remove the $500,000 per year  storage fee which Excel has been paying per cask of nuclear waste.  The money has gone into a funding stream to develop alternative energy, such as the wind power in SW MN.  It's in HF 2209 the Omnibus Jobs and Energy Bill.  My representative said much of what is happening nationally is happening on a state level.  The gratitude might be hard to find here, but it was that I'm happy my state legislator was disturbed this was being removed and had helped establish it in the first place.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dave and Amy Freeman



I went to hear Dave and Amy Freeman, a couple who spent a year in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area from 9/24/15-9/23/16 to bring publicity to protect the space from copper sulfide mining, speak tonight.  It is heart-warming to be in the presence of everyday heroes such as those two, especially two people who clearly enjoy each other, it emanates outward.

When Amy spoke about leaving civilization she said that they didn’t leave the real world, “We entered the real world.”  and that “We need everyone to speak loudly for this quiet place.”

I’m thankful to my friend who invited me to go.  I wasn’t sure if I had the energy for it tonight, but it was an event that pulled me out of my own narrow story and into a more expansive and generative one.