Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dating again...hmmm


Soooo I have decided I think I am ready to enter back into the world of 'dating' again. I think enough time has passed and I believe I have resolved issues with the end of previous relationships. I wish I was more excited. I mean I *am* excited and I've talked to some really nice guys... It's just kind of daunting and it can be an emotional roller coaster ride.

I realized this time I am in a new space. Confident in myself and not desperate for anyone or any particular experience. I cut ties that have lasted a long, long time. It feels almost odd not to carry them around, but I find myself so much happier without them.

I'm down a few more pounds I'm not in any hurry with that either. I am who I am. :). I suppose that makes 30 since January. I'm hoping to make it closer to 50 by the time January rolls around again. I'll keep you posted. *chuckle* I have water slides to navigate again and a goddaughter who will drag me on every one of them! *smile*

So I've checked a few different web sites. I'm not completely sure I want to dig into web sites again. Lord. It's the bars of the 80s and I hated those. The biggest problem I find with online dating is that when you meet someone online, it is so easy to fall into unrealistic expectations based on email conversations. I always find it a good idea to meet quickly... But one thing I have realized? I don't want to settle for 'comfortable'. I've watched people do that and it doesn't usually end well. And? *I* don't want to be the one settled with... so hey... it could take some time to find that good guy in my life... 

I am a relatively optimistic person :). I like that about myself. And I believe? There is a good guy out there because I am a good gal and there is someone out there that will appreciate that and not dump me for... well... someone else. So on the one hand? I'm pretty excited about meeting that person. On the other hand? Online dating seems like a meat market of high expectations and old photos that are supposed to be 'recent'. Okay guys... I may be a bad judge of age, but you are NOT 49. Ummm? Being honest is such a better policy... And sometimes some of these websites people get to 'rate' your profile! I had enough of people 'rating' me in high school. I think I will avoid those sites.

I think I'll also avoid the people who just send me messages without even reading my profile. For example this fine 'hello' from a  ' conservative, god-loving, christian, romantic guy'.  I wrote back, "Hi! I'm not sure that a conservative god-loving christian would really want to spend much time with a bleeding heart liberal pagan. Best wishes" I'm not a pagan, but I thought... wow dude... did you even LOOK at my profile? I'm going with NO. Thus? I'm gonna pass on desperate. I'm also passing on "well he's nice so I'll say hello back." If I read a profile and I'm not interested? I'm not going to spend a lot of time 'chatting'. Maybe that sounds crazy but I have so many wonderful friends in my life already... I'm not really looking for a good friend. And I simply can't see myself being deeply involved with someone who doesn't share most of my core values, I tried that once. Not such a great idea.

I also think that I would rather meet someone upfront somewhere. Maybe in a real place. I wonder if I want to join an organization, or a spiritual group... I don't know. I had a dream about it - I trust those. So I guess I'll just take this experience as I see it and feel it. One day at a time. I trust that life will unfold.

I have had people tell me that a relationship will just happen if it is meant to. I relay the following joke in that situation: A (blond, wolverine, brunette, pick your inappropriate social group here) was sitting in the living room of her house. She prayed to God to win the lottery. No luck. Next night she says if God will let her win the  lottery, she will buy a new house and fill it with paintings of saints! Nothing. Next night? She gets really desperate so she begs God that if God will let her win the lottery she will buy a house fill it with saints, help the poor and needy and adopt orphans. Finally, God gets frustrated and says to her, "Hey how about you start by BUYING a LOTTERY ticket!!!!"

dah dum dum! And thus my weak but appropriate example.

I don't think that things 'just happen'. I also don't think you can force something to happen if it isn't going to. In order to meet someone I have to be willing to risk and put myself out there. I'm willing to do that and I'm willing to pay the price of admission. I guess I'll just see what happens next and enjoy the experience as I go... :)



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

and we're walkin'...


Tonight's blog entry is going to be short. I'm super tired. I was working at school until 6, then dinner with my sister, then shopping at Trader Joe's, then home at 9, took out the garbage, then went for a mile walk in the dark(yay me!) then worked on homework to get ready for class tomorrow, then answered email.

Then I went to go to bed (with the intention of reading Hunger Games for a while) and thought... *crap* no blog! So back out here I came to honor my commitment to write every night for 100 days. :).

I've had some interesting responses to my blog about babies... or in my case not having babies... I think people are pretty much on one side or the other, but at least among the people I know? There seems to be an understanding of both sides. I was thinking today and was sort of surprised at how many people I know that never had children. It's kind of a high percentage.

Did I mention I walked that mile tonight in my heels? I took out the garbage and just kept walking. Note to self... take the time to put on the tennis shoes!

*hugs* to all of you


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Baby, baby, no baby...


I went to a birthday party recently, for just about one of the cutest 2 year olds out there ;). It was lovely. Little mermaid theme! There were *many* two year olds there and lots of pregnant ladies. Not to mention little brothers and sisters of said 2 year olds. Just lots of little ones. I felt lost. I don't know if I lasted more than 30 minutes. Lots of noise, lots of screaming, lots of playing... lots of a world I clearly am not part of.

Part of me felt lost because I never had a baby. I wasn't able to. I used to be sad about it, and even though I made my peace with it a long time ago, I still have moments when I wonder 'what if'. Perhaps, as a woman, I have that 'you MUST have a baby' thing, but I have done a pretty good job of taking that 'baby' energy and using it toward being a good teacher and 'big sister' to more than just my biological sister. It's so ironic to me. My mother used to say a man just had to hang his pants on the door and she was pregnant. Having had 5 kids, I suppose she was correct. I hope that doesn't sound too crass. I just know at 38, when she gave birth to me? She told my dad "She can't grow up alone" and turned right around and had another baby. At almost 40 having two babies in the 1960s? My mom? Was radical.

I also haven't had the fortune of meeting someone I wanted to have a baby with. There was one guy once... but I suppose that is another blog story. Regardless, having a baby never happened for me. I've had people say I was irresponsible for not having a child (implying I should have married earlier), I've people say that it's selfish not to have children. I even had someone say to me once that not having a baby was not following God's plan for me. I was 'living in sin' at the time and I thought about yelling "Get me a HUSBAND and I'll THINK about it!" But I was way too proud to say anything like that. I 'knew' what I was doing. Oh my 20s when I was sure I had all the answers *smile*. I guess I bring this up because if you see someone without a child, you have no idea what her story is. And asking or assuming? Could really deeply hurt someone. Just sayin...

Oh, and just so we are clear, in my 40s? I'm pretty sure I don't have *any* answers. :). I don't know why, as a woman, we so often define ourselves by whether or not we have a baby. What I do know? Is that there are some days I am really sad I didn't have a child. And there are some days I am okay with not having a child. Heck there are even days when I think I still *might* have a child. I know my life is open to a variety of different paths ahead of me.

But it is odd that there is a whole part of the culture  I can't relate to. Babies, videos and photos and constant stories about babies. Women rewriting their lives around their babies. Baby this baby that... babies playing with other babies. Mommy/baby play dates. Baby toys, baby food, baby clothes, baby movies. Making babies smart, making babies 'hip'... it's a lot of baby out there.

I know not having had a baby, sometimes I don't have as much patience for babies as someone who has had a baby. Although I resent someone telling me that because I haven't had a baby, I have no right to be upset when a parent isn't parenting. I had a friend (which I haven't spoken to since) tell me once that because I wasn't a parent I didn't have the right to be upset about a baby crying (okay pretty much screaming) on a particularly long flight. As someone who has never had a child, I seldom tell someone else how to parent.  And I still believe that it isn't a baby's fault when it is on a long flight, screaming with no toys or anything to help the situation. Granted it might have been a first time mother and there are all sorts of perspectives in the situation and simply because I never had a child doesn't mean I should not be allowed to be upset when one screams for hours straight. I believe there has to be a balance between those with children and those without.

Anyhow, I started this blog because I hope that my friends with babies understand when I don't stay long at a baby party. I want to go and I enjoy spending alone time with the little one... but a room full of babies? Well... it can be hard for me. I'm not used to it. I'm not used to screaming, I'm not used to yelling. And in return, I'll be as patient as possible. I'll remind myself that I am not around babies all day and night. I won't give advice unless you specifically ask me, and if you do ask me for advice I will gently but clearly remind you I have no kids. Sometimes I can see things from a fresh perspective, but I never expect you to do what I suggest. Please don't take it personally if I don't stay too long. I have so little in common with your life. I still love you and I still adore you and I think the sun shines from the eyes of your child. You have some patience with my world? And I will support you and love you and be patient with your world as well :).



oh and ps? If I ever DO have a baby or child in my life? Be prepared for a trillion questions. I have no mom to ask and you mommies out there are *doing* it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

An ode to organic and my mom...


I get my eggs from a family across the street. The yolks are deep orange. The chickens run around their yard. I don't even know if they have a coop. Yesterday? When I picked up my eggs, one of the shells was blue. The rest were a variety of crazy sizes and shades of brown shells with chicken dirt on them and hay. Honestly? If you made me an egg from some farm factory horror farm where chickens have their beaks cut and their legs grow into the wire mesh cages, I can't say I would know. Taste wise? These organic eggs taste similar to factory ones. You can tell the difference in the yolks because the yolks are rich and a bit larger than store bought eggs. Factory chickens are force-fed corn, grain and feed full of other dead chickens. I'm not even exaggerating. However, those pristine white eggs fry up like the organic ones I pick up from next door. Except the factory eggs cost about $1.85 a dozen. The  organic ones  across the street? Cost me $4. And I will pay it. Because those chickens? Roam around happily clucking and being chickens. 

Somewhere in the 1950s our country decided tv dinners and drive thru restaurants were awesome! Cool! The food of the future. A lot of people have made movies about it like "Food, Inc", and written books like "the Omnivore's Dilemma" so I'll spare you a full on lecture. All I know is that whenever I am able,  I choose organic if I can afford it. It's criminal that food raised organically is more expensive than factory food, but then, we pay for that cheaper food in so many ways... but I'm really trying not to lecture in this blog. I'm sharing my own issues with organic food. Sometimes I can't justify the expense of organic, but when I can? I do.

And while I might not be able to tell the difference between the organic egg and the factory egg all scrambled up, and while I eat factory eggs and other food when I go out to breakfast or dinner, there is something to be said about knowing where my food comes from. I *like* knowing who is feeding the animals I am choosing to eat, how the animals I am choosing to eat are treated and slaughtered. I try not to eat or buy from a factory system because they have taken away 'seasons' for fruits and vegetables, they've created 'monster' chickens with breasts so big the chickens can't walk because their breasts grow so rapidly they never learn to balance on their tiny legs, they've genetically modified corn to the point where it is almost impossible to get unaltered corn and because every dollar I give them is support for a non-sustainable way of living that will tear apart our culture.The worst part about it, is that they control the media to the point where they even control many of the organic labelled products and use guilt to 'convince' me that it is 'wise' to spend more on organic food that isn't organic! It's hard navigating shopping sometimes. It's why I love farmer's markets. Sadly, those aren't as common once October hits...

I don't know what it is going to take to find a more sustainable way of living. To knock us out of our plastic covered, boneless, hermetically sealed packages of food that somewhat resemble meat. In most cases? It is meat from cows from all over the world. Look on your package. If you buy ground beef? There is a good chance if you aren't buying from someone like "Laura's Lean Ground Beef" that beef is from Australia, Mexico, South America and *maybe* the US. I guess I can only start with myself.

Each day and each choice I make about what I am eating gives me the opportunity to live a more sustainable life. No, I can't always eat organically. But I can choose, when possible, restaurants that serve organic meat. I can also choose to eat less meat and pay more for organic meat when I do buy it. I can also, next year, start a garden. And who knows... maybe after the winter? I'll get my own chickens and let them wander around my yard... 

My mother used to have a huge garden. She'd grow all kinds of fruits and vegetables and can them or freeze them. We'd enjoy the benefits all winter long. I sit here tonight admiring my mom in so many ways. And tonight? I miss her just a little. Because I have to learn all these things on my own and I can't call her and ask her how. Luckily, I have her notes and her cookbooks. Now... if I just had her green thumb.



Sunday, September 26, 2010

Best damn chicken house in the Pacific Northwest!!
That's my house. In case I wasn't being clear...


I was going to write about walking a little over a mile today (for the second day in a row) and then swimming and then doing resistance exercises on my arms in the pool. How good it made me feel, etc.

Then? I came home and made the best damn chicken I have *ever* eaten. Seriously. THE BEST. Of course recipe and info to follow (mostly because I want to make you all jealous and show once again that damn it, I'm cool *lol*)

Okay I started with an organic chicken. I set it out about 3 o'clock for an estimated 4:30 pm grilling. At 1:00 I put on some organic spelt/flax, sesame seed bread to bake. I love my bread maker and I have been making a loaf a week. It lasts me all week, is pretty inexpensive and adding the flax and sesame seeds tonight really kicked it up - yum! Plus my neighbor has organic chicken eggs... so LIFE IS GOOD! (insert grin here)

About 4pm I lighted the grill. This is where the story breaks down. I did NOT have that grill ready until 6:00. Seriously. I can't seem to navigate fire in the big green egg or in my fireplace... *lol* I digress. I did finally get the grill at about 325 sometimes around 5:45. The grill was supposed to be 350, but it didn't matter to the chicken. I did direct grilling instead of indirect, so they cooked pretty quickly. What is 'they' you may ask? "They" is my spatchcocked (well really half spatchcocked) chicken. I'd have put in photos of the whole thing, but this guy? Already did. No need to repeat. However, I went farther than this guy did. I also removed the cartilage between the breasts and cut my chicken exactly in half. Trimmed off the excess fat and got out my nucoa (I don't do dairy if I can help it) and made sure both halves of the chicken were dry. I then put butter on both halves and a little under the skin on both breasts. I will say that I didn't use that much butter, maybe a tablespoon on each side. I then dusted both sides and the bottoms with Poultry Seasoning (which was simply amazing) and Butt Rub!I love butt rub above all other seasonings as it has no sugar in it! YUM!!!

I had no idea this was going to turn out so well so I have no 'before' photos of me spatchcocking the chicken or of how it looked before I put it on the grill... but *this* is what it looked like after 45 minutes of cooking and not ONCE opening the lid. The internal thermometer measured 160 in the breast and 180 in the thigh *exactly*. I turned it over for about 1 minute to crisp up the skin then realized it was unnecessary as the skin was already crisp and removed the two halves from the heat. Look at those pretty red coals glowing under the chicken... *drool*

ohhh pretty!
all crispy and juicy!
other side
all plated up!Oh wait... is that organic CORN from the farmer's market I see? Why yes, yes it is...
mmmm  homemade spelt/flax/sesame bread fresh out of the breadmaker!

dessert... organic marshmallow with dark chocolate and organic graham crackers!

ohh look at you, you beautiful, crispy perfectness!

Um. YUM. Seriously this is the best chicken I have ever eaten. It had a smoky flavor, but the skin was crispy, the meat was incredibly juicy and fell off the bone. The bottom carmelized perfectly and without all the extra bones, the chicken was just beautiful and easy to eat.

Super healthy! Super tasty and low in calories. Yay me! AND I exercised today. My goal is to exercise every day for the next 10 days. Doesn't have to be anything crazy, BUT I have this new iPhone app.. I am LOVING it! It's called iTreadmill and it is fantastic. It measures every step, tells me how many calories I've burned, how fast I've walked, how many steps I've taken and the distance I covered in the time I walked. I really like it!

So happy Sunday night to you all! I'm beat! Gonna put away my leftovers for bento tomorrow and going to sleep early. One of my resolutions has been to get into bed by 10... I'm doing pretty well with it... It makes such a huge difference in how I feel the next day!



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Does it make me old to say Saturday morning? Ain't what it used to be...

Lord. This is my third attempt at a blog post. My first post was about not being responsible for other people's problems. The second post was about babies - and my feelings about not having one.

I think, however, I am going to write about something I realized this morning when I turned on the tv. I watched the cartoons. Or more accurately? I *tried* to watch the cartoons. I realized that not one of them was interesting to me.

I kinda think that today's kids are missing out on a cultural experience I shared with almost everyone aged 39 - 45. Saturday morning cartoons, Sesame Street and Captain Kangaroo. I know Sesame Street is still on tv, but when I was young? It was *all* that was on tv. I loved watching it, as well as the Muppet Show. (It's time to play the music... it's time to light the lights, it's time to get things started on the Muppet Show Tonight!) I remember John Denver when he'd guest star and waiting every week to see who would be starring. That was back when there were three channels and two 'other' channels on "U" that we didn't always get in. My mom would sit on the couch, dad in his chair and Marge and I would sit on the floor and sing along when we knew the songs on the muppet show. I loved that show. I'm pretty sure I watched Captain Kangaroo? Until I was probably 10 years old, way past when it was still cool to watch it. I was 'too old' for it, but I loved watching it anyhow. My two favorite memories from the Captain were Picture Pages with Bill Cosby and Simon in the land of chalk drawings...(a full episode!) and of course Mr Green Jeans and Mr Moose. The thing is? I can almost bet that people my age know exactly what I am talking about.

Then there were the awesome Saturday morning cartoons. Today the tv was full of so many I couldn't even begin to choose which ones I wanted to watch. I grew up on a few favorites. Bugs Bunny (one of my favorite scenes - Bugs plays beautician to a monster) There was also Land of the Lost (sleestak anyone???), Voltron (which were *best* when they were cats not cars), Speed Racer (the guy who played speed racer looked so much like the guy I had a crush on in middle school *swoon*) and of COURSE Thunder Cats. All the kids I knew watched and we all talked about it. And EVERYONE could sing the School House Rock videos...(Interjections!!!)

What I realize? Is that only having 3 channels created this shared community between myself and people my age. I am sure those who are older than I am have the same sort of shared memories from the 70s. I think that sort of stopped in the 90s when cable became popular and everyone could watch cartoons all the time. There were way more than three channels and Oprah came along and tv stopped showing old reruns after school. I mean after school when I got home I either watched Gilligan's Island, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Big Valley (Heath was cool, Nick? SOOO hot, but I loved Jarrod the most)... or some other tv rerun. Unless it was an 'after school special' show! *lol*

I'm not sure why I feel so drawn tonight down memory lane, except I am taking some comfort in this shared experience.  And maybe I am wrong, maybe people of the next generation who are younger than I am, have the same experience. But having these shows in common? Makes me feel connected to an entire generation of people. I know that kids today have the internet and can reach out and touch a 'friend' in Africa or Argentina in ten seconds. Their world is both incredibly small and larger than I ever could have imagined at their age. I sometimes am amazed at 42!

Do you have favorite tv/Saturday cartoon memories? Is it a generational thing?



Friday, September 24, 2010

Now, the hard stuff...


This is always the hard part. I've been doing something for a while, and I've lost interest in it. I don't want to blog tonight, I want to sleep. I don't want to exercise I want to chill out.

I lose interest in things. I have a hard time staying excited and wanting to continue. I've reached that point. And even though my goal is to push through this feeling and make it for my whole 100 days. Tonight? It's hard. Because I have a caffeine withdraw headache. Because for whatever reason I am super tired. 

So I'm not quitting. I'm not even giving up. I am recognizing that I have reached that 'plateau' I always reach and instead of my typical 'rush off to find something new' pattern, I'm sticking out my original goal. I'm working through the 'boring' -  I'm working through the 'uncomfortable'. I'm moving forward. I'm planning on adding some new exercise this weekend, and that is hard. I won't lie I like 'easy' a lot better, but I'm 'in' this time. I'm in for the 100 days. My guess is that I am in for the rest of my life, but for now? I'm committed to 100 days.

I look at the 61 more blogs ahead of me and wonder 'what in the hell was I thinking'... 

At least my entries might get a little shorter!


So, tonight I recognize that I am in the hardest part of making change. The part where I just want to quit and start over again. Find some new fad thing that's all glamorous and shiny.

I'm not quitting. I'm sticking around. I'm not giving up. I'm not changing course midstream.

And now? I am going to go to sleep. Because this headache is splitting my skull open and my brains are about to leak out onto the floor. Luckily, in the morning I can make myself a cup of coffee. Hey, this blog is about having coffee issues. I have *one* cup a day. I can quit any time. I *can*! I am just choosing not to. *laughter*



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold...


It's cool in my life how easily people slip in and out of my world. I have people in my life that are *always* there and I rely on them just like they rely on me. In general however, I try hard not to hold on to people too closely. This summer I was fortunate to reconnect with several people from my past that I care about deeply. Yet within ten minutes, even though over a decade (or more in some cases) had passed, it was like coming home.

I had this thought over the summer. I realized that each person I've met and loved, I've left a small piece of myself with - just as they've left a small piece of themselves with me. Seeing an old friend again is like reconnecting with a part of myself that has been on a journey with another. Getting to listen to where that part has gone, is delightful. It is renewing, affirming and such a treat to hear and see how people have grown, changed and still, in some key wonderful ways, stayed the same.

Then there are people that I know tangentially that with a simple invitation, go from 'acquaintance' to 'friend'. I had a friend over for dinner tonight. Before tonight? A great person I worked with. After tonight? A great friend I have connected with :). I like how life is fluid like that. How a simple invitation for dinner can deepen a connection. It was delightful and I felt like my life is more enriched just from sharing dinner.

I was remembering the people I knew from high school today while sitting at my desk. I was smiling and thinking about the people I have reconnected with both on facebook and over the summer. I realized I have my memories of high school (not so much so great) but by reconnecting to people I knew in high school, my small perceptions have widened and I've gained a more complete understanding of the struggles others were going through - just like I was. It's funny how often I still dream about people from high school. Old flames I loved, old friends I loved, others I really wanted to be, others I really wanted to just 'like' me let alone 'love' me (chuckle) and a few I admired from afar without ever telling. And I can look at that time in my life now and be much gentler with myself, with them and with the trials and tribulations of being in high school.

I don't even think I really knew what it meant to be a friend or have a friend until I got to college. Growing up I desperately wanted that 'one best friend' I could always rely on and trust. It took me a long time to find that friend, but I did and I love her and talk to her every single day, even though we live 2400 miles apart. I am also fortunate that the closest person to me in the world I have known for 41 years... she's a pretty amazing woman and without her I know I wouldn't be half the wise, spiritual, loving and compassionate person that I am. I have learned most of that from her. <3.

And with that thought, I am going to bed. I know friendship supports me and moves me forward in my life and for all the lives that have touched mine and for the few lives I've touched? I will say a little 'thank you' to you all before I go to bed tonight. You have made me who I am, and you know? I turned out pretty darned good - and so did you!



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say...


I love Neil Young and this video. Saw him in concert not too long ago. He was amazing... and this seems like a fine song for this Autumnal Equinox. Although I have to say, I'm not still 'inlove' with anyone like the lament in the song :). I think I have finally kicked that habit of looking backwards. So tonight, it's officially time to put summer and the stories and dreams of summer to rest. I have a fresh loaf of spelt bread cooking in the kitchen to celebrate.  I turned off the tv in an homage to the silence, then put on some Neil Young.

I've been reading the Salmon Mysteries: A Guidebook to a Reimagining of the Eleusinian Mysteries  . It was written by one of my favorite authors Kim Antieau. She's written many books, but the one closest to my heart is  The Jig Saw Woman. It's intense and in some parts a bit confronting, but absolutely fantastic. Her latest book, The Salmon Mysteries is a guide book to reconnecting to the feminine cycle of the seasons. It is compelling and reminds me about (while giving me ways to connect with) that spiritual, profound and sacred space inside of myself. If you are drawn to the feminine, I think you'll love this book.

Demeter's search for Persephone, her daughter lost in the underworld, inspired the Eleusinian Mysteries, a nine day celebration so powerful and awe-inspiring much of it remains a secret to this day. Now, in a radical reimagining of this potent and ancient story, renowned novelist and mythologist Kim Antieau updates the tale for modern sensibilities through the life cycle of a most remarkable creature: the salmon. Salmon live in two worlds: salt water and fresh water. They are shapeshifters, transformers, and finally, pilgrims searching for home. Relying on ancient sources and modern speculation, Antieau writes about what happened during the nine day celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries and offers a template for creating your own mysteries to celebrate and honor the cycles of Nature, your community, and your life. The Salmon Mysteries is mystical inspiration and a practical tool for transforming your life and your community.

So tonight, I'm hoping to spend some time with the suggestions and activities she outlines in the book. I downloaded it on my Kindle and read most of it at dinner. Maybe I'll do some singing, some dreaming and go swimming in the morning to finish my 'celebration' of the equinox.

I love this time of year. It's such a good time to let the overworked soil lay fallow for a while. We all need rest. Lately I feel like I can't seem to get enough rest. Perhaps I'll honor that tonight as well and try to get to sleep before 10:30.  Another good thing to do tonight is 'plant' some seeds that germinate over the winter. While everything *seems* like it is dead, under the ground, it is waiting... and getting ready for the big unveil. That is how I feel with being healthy and losing weight. I feel like I am working on the big unveil.

I'm not fighting my body like I used to. It has felt wonderful. I'm trying to go with the tao of my heart and spirit. It wasn't time for exercise before. Now? It feels like it is. I even think I know what form that is going to take. But instead of talking about it, I'm going to do it.

In the meantime, happy equinox tonight everyone. If you can see the moon in your part of the world, enjoy the full harvest glow. I'm thinking about lighting a fire, curling up with my Kindle, finishing the Salmon mysteries and heading to bed. I'm waking up to fresh spelt bread in the morning!

I feel like I have done a lot of putting things to rest lately. I'm ready to enjoy Autumn in all it's apple'y', chilly, rainy, beauty. I'm going to take a drive to see the leaves at some point and just enjoy the season. I'm excited for winter this year, but I'm feeling a strong urge to truly enjoy the Fall and all the holidays and joys of this season. When Winter comes blustering in, I'll be ready. But I'm learning to enjoy the moment. And this moment? Smells of cider and warm bread baking in the kitchen.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The only way to 'loose' weight...


I got my hair colored today and tomorrow I'm getting my nails done. I have problems with nail biting. And when I look down and see my fingers bleeding I feel unprofessional and it's all I can see. So? Fake nails solve the problem and I feel better about my hands. Not all problems are that easy to solve. I like taking care of myself, but I have learned that taking care of my outside isn't enough. I've worked hard to take care of my issues inside. I know for me it has been easy to jump into new situations without taking a good hard look at my insides. It can be really easy to focus on ways to 'fix' my outsides without ever truly doing what I call the 'work'. I've seen it happen - not just me, but people in general facing turmoil quickly jump into another situation (usually the same one they just left except with a 'new' person) before doing healing and the inside work that helps them see why things fell apart in the first place. It can really be easy to just blame the other person and not move on...

I highly value the time I've spent 'working' on my insides. Because without resolving some of my recurring patterns, I would surely pick another emotionally unavailable partner and start the cycle all over again. Recognizing my own fears about being vulnerable has helped me see the patterns in my life that have made emotionally unavailable partners 'attractive'. I believe I have grown enough not to make that choice again in the future. I could not have done that if I had thrown myself into a new relationship right away and not spent time learning about myself.

I also know? There is a point when doing 'internal' work becomes an excuse not to do the external work. Probably flipped from most people. Most people when they go through heartbreak rush to work out, get in shape and jump right back into a relationship so they don't have to do the 'work' involved with real learning and healing.

I watched a video today - an inspirational video of someone who had lost 100 pounds. Someone had commented "Hey fatass, if you want to loose weight, eat less and work out!" Yes, well rudeness and bad grammar aside (someday I'm going to dig into why people hate fat people so much) I thought a lot about that. Not because this guy was so cruel, but because I think I am to the point in my life where I can only go so far processing. It's time for me to stop doing so much internal work and start doing the external work. I believe I've done a good job changing my relationship with food, now? I think I need to change my relationship with exercise. And THAT relationship is going to be much much more difficult. Because I have a horrible relationship with exercise. I love food. Renegotiating a relationship with something I love hasn't nearly been as hard as learning to negotiate a relationship with something I loathe. Funny thing is... I don't really *have* much of a relationship with exercise. Maybe this is my chance to forge one. I used to bike 20 miles a day 3 times a week. I can't get that relationship back, but maybe I can forge a new one with the same excitement and drive. And perhaps I can shoot for a revisit to that relationship with my bike come spring...

I have a friend doing the c25k (couch to 5K program - yes you Traci!) and I am going to check it out and see if it is a good fit for me. Right now? My biggest struggle is finding and making time to exercise. I have to make exercise a priority and I haven't. I have never been a runner, I have no relationship with running so maybe this is a good place to start.

Believe it or not? This new relationship with exercise going to be the hardest part. Even harder than looking inside and working through the pain and tears. But I can only spend so much time processing. Now? It is time to start exercising.



Monday, September 20, 2010



I wrote a blog entry not too long ago about the difference between intuition and insecurity. I was cleaning my kitchen and was thinking about that question. How to tell if that gut instinct I am feeling is intuition trying to give me a nudge, or insecurity and fear blocking me from something good.

I am looking back on the situations in my life that brought me the most heartache - two of which are fairly recent. One, painfully recent. But when I look at those situations I realize that what I thought was 'insecurity' was really intuition I didn't want to or wasn't really ready to look at and deal with.

I'm not sure that made sense. But what I'm coming to realize? Is that it doesn't matter if it is insecurity or intuition.   If I'm having warning bells going off? There is a reason. Now, I may not be at the point in my understanding of the situation to truly be able to process those warning bells, but I can't simply write off those moments of questions as simple insecurity. Partly because I have processed through a lot of the things that made me feel insecure. At this point in my life, if I am feeling unsettled... it doesn't matter what I call it, I need to honor that it is there. It doesn't mean I have to rush and *do* something about it, but I do need to remember the moments I am feeling that way and pay attention. Because there is a really good reason I am feeling those red flags.

The thing is? Sometimes those little 'something isn't quite right here' feelings take time to give a name to. Just because I have a sense that something is amiss, I may not have all the pieces. Recently, that is a big part of what happened. I had all these little pieces that told me "Hey MK, pay attention here... this is telling you something. You aren't happy, please pay attention!" But it took all the pieces together for me to have the bigger picture of, "OH DAMN! Now I see it! (insert painful exhalation of breath here)." I can look back on it now and see all the pieces, how they formed the whole and how I didn't want to see (and honestly wasn't ready to see) that the dreams and hopes I had were not going to pan out. I wasn't ready to let go of the dream yet and with only some of the pieces, it was easy to blind myself from seeing the big picture. Sometimes love makes it hard to see the whole situation... especially if the whole picture doesn't fit the 'happy ever after' frame I picked up when I felt that love in the first place.

It doesn't do any good to be angry at myself for not jumping on how I felt... I couldn't get here until I got here. But I realize now that just the simple question of "insecurity or intuition" will be enough to make me take stock and look closely at the situation that is bringing that question into my life.



Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lessons from Lying...


I used to lie. A lot. I lied because I thought it made things easier to manage. I lied because I thought somehow it protected me. I got very good at lying. 

I lied mostly to myself. I think when someone battles with addiction (mine was/is food) she becomes really adept at lying. I spent all my time telling myself I didn't have a problem. Hey I can quit any time. I don't NEED that hamburger, but hey... I only had a small breakfast so a double cheeseburger is okay today. 

In my late 20s, I had a moment in my life where my lying caught up with me. Everything sort of fell apart and I found myself curled into a ball on the floor trying to sort out the pieces of the mess I had made of my life and the lives of others around me. The problem with lying is after a while the lie takes on a life of its own. You have to keep lying and eventually the lie becomes more real to you than the truth. 

From that moment on, I have made the conscious effort not to lie - especially to others. For someone who is a natural storyteller, it's hard not to lie about things sometimes. The story is so much better with a little exaggeration... and I am not innocent of that. However, at 42 I see where my body is because I am not always honest with myself about what I am eating or how often I am exercising. Telling a tall tale is one thing, lying to yourself about something that is destructive to you? Is completely another. I've learned to be honest with others, but still struggle at times with being honest with myself. One of the reasons I started this blog was to keep myself accountable and hone those 'honesty with myself' skills.

The issue of lying came home to me again yesterday. Many years ago, I posted something on a website... a positive review of a friend's business that I care about. Someone else had posted an unfairly negative review and I felt like if I didn't write something positive, there would only be that bad review for everyone to see. Except instead of posting as myself? I posted as someone else. As a writer it wasn't difficult to create a whole persona that was 'close' to true, but not actually true. Until yesterday. Yesterday someone seeking advice wrote to me because of the business review I had made. I was faced full on with a crisis. Do I continue the lie? 

What I realized is that I was faced with not only losing my credibility as a person, but if I continued the facade and got caught?  I would cause my friend's business to lose credibility as well. Now, some of you might be saying, "Seriously, MK? You got all worked up over one review you posted on the internet? A review you wrote because you cared about a friend? A review you wrote that was based on truth, but wasn't actually *your* truth? Get over it."

Except lying? Eats away at integrity. I know the reasons why I lied were in my eyes, 'noble' but the results weren't. It's made me look at myself and accept that even a lie told for a 'good reason' comes back and haunts me. Not only that, but in my profession of educator, I spend a great deal of time talking to my students about lying. How can I, as a teacher, tell my students not to lie, when I don't own up to my own moments when I don't tell the truth?

In the end? I found a good way to 'fix' the situation. It was more honorable and more accurate than when I tried to 'fix' the situation on my own. I think, because I spent my life trying to 'fix' situations as quickly as possible I jumped to the 'easy' fix. I jumped to try to fix it myself instead of looking at the larger picture and finding a situation that didn't cause me to compromise my own integrity. The 'easy' fix of telling a lie doesn't end up being easy and in the long term, usually ends up being painful.

So here's a toast to the truth in all its sometimes ugly and usually difficult glory. The more I deepen my relationship with it, the fewer burdens I carry and the lighter I become.



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Short and sweet...


I think I broke my brain tonight. I can barely string three words together to form a sentence. I think the week has finally caught up with me.

I've been so tired. I've been worried, anxious and not sleeping well. I've always been blessed with the ability to sleep quickly and easily, but my mind has been working to process so many things and I can't remember being this sleepy. I seem to be able to get to sleep, but I wake up and can't get back to sleep.

So maybe I'm gonna not think tonight. Not write a long blog post. I'm gonna watch a movie with my sister, relax and then snuggle up with my cat and not wake up tomorrow until I feel really ready - maybe noon!

I spent some time swimming today and enjoying the sun. It felt good to be outside on likely the last day of anything even remotely summerish in these parts.

yay me!

Thanks for all the comments and notes everyone... the ones you share here and the ones you share with me. You words of support are so appreciated!



Friday, September 17, 2010

No other path but my own...


For a lack of a better term, the last week has been the 'end of the road' for several different situations in my life. I ended a shared path with someone I have cherished for almost 20 years, I ended a path it was *way* past time to let go of, and I allowed myself to stop longing to fix a path with someone I have no ability at this time to mend. However, among all these endings, my focus on being healthy has helped me find a beginning where I can see my own path plainly before me for perhaps the first time.

For most of my life, I have feared ending connections. I have feared the knowledge that when you make a choice, you automatically eliminate other possible paths. I've been a hoarder of options, I wanted to keep ALL paths open. I kept open even the paths I walked with others where I felt abused, hurt or disrespected. And if someone kicked me off his path? I assumed it was *my* fault and kept trying to chase after him to prove I was worthy of walking with. If someone emotionally checked out on me and didn't come back?  I'd stand at the last place I saw her, trying to understand what happened and waiting 'just in case' she changed her mind.

I have been, and still am at times, an excuse maker. If you treated me poorly? Surely it was because you had terrible trauma as a child. You said something cruel? Clearly it was because you were in pain and just lashed out at the closest person. Hey, don't worry - I know you didn't mean it. You didn't want to be emotionally connected? You must need time to learn how to love and be loved in a relationship - no problem I'll wait for you while you 'figure things out'.

And WHY didn't you know what you said or did was hurtful? WHY didn't you know I was 'waiting' for you? You didn't know because I didn't tell you. I didn't tell you because in the past I have been not only a hoarder of options, I have been a hoarder of people. I didn't want to lose them. Because I loved them. Because of a million reasons. Because, I saw something special in them and knew if I just waited long enough, they'd see that something special in them as well. But more, I secretly hoped that if I held on long enough, surely they'd see I was special, too, and wouldn't leave me.

I see now that in my 'path hoarding' I spent too much time confusing the paths of others with mine. I'm learning how to be honest enough with myself to own my faults and responsibilities about the paths in my life that have ended. I'm also learning how to recognize (and stop) holding on and hoping a path can be fixed when it can't. It's been hard for this path hoarder to let go, but letting go off all those paths that weren't mine has made seeing my own path easier. By letting go, I've gained access to paths I never even knew were there beneath the clutter!

I go forth to walk my path and share that path with those who are nourishing, loving and open to sharing their path with me. If someone has put up a big "No Trespassing' sign, I will respect that. I will let go of paths that no longer serve me and I will no longer hoard paths or fear it when a path comes to an end. Because in the end? The only path I can truly walk is my own.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's a Miracle...
or I <3 you Barry...


Today I'm going to repost something I wrote in September of last year. I'm sitting here on this rainy morning listening to Barry Manilow. I found a bunch of his CDs and copied them onto my computer. It's a Barryfest! I realize some people don't care for his music... but every time I hear it I get all happy. And you know? This week? I needed a little happy. And after listening to Cee Lo Green's song  F**k You  (sorry for the semi profanity)obsessively the last few days (which is perhaps one of the BEST songs to come out in a long time... it's absolutely hysterical and well written. The music is catchy and fun! I was dancing around my office to it and am now on the hunt for his CDs) I knew maybe it was time for some new music... *chuckle* And Barry? Somehow his music just sort of soothes the savage beast.

Anyhow, last year I went to his concert. And I am SO SO very fortunate to have seen him live. He's absolutely  incredible. I think, for me, there is nothing more magical than music... so last year I wrote the following 'note' in Facebook about him and this morning? Seems like a good day to share it and him.



Basking in Barry Maniglow...

by MaryKate ت Meyer on Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 12:32pm

Mock all you like. I am in love with Barry Manilow. It is true. I am not ashamed. I am, in fact, proud. I went to see his concert last night. Minus the obviously overly stretched skin for a 66 year old man, I was awed. I was amazed. I realized that while some people may not like him, the problem is that they don't 'get' him.

I have never yet seen someone so incredibly invested in music. His life is his music. He got on that stage and NOTHING else mattered. He laughed. He got me to cry and his very presence was a testament to devotion to a gift. His voice, although at times a bit shaky was bliss to me.

People spend their lives trying to reach some sort of happiness, some sort of peace. But watching Barry Manilow last night, I saw someone who had reached that place. Some say his music is juvenile, written to appease old women with no taste. Those people? Are hardened to life. Barry's music wasn't about anyone. His music was about love. I don't mean 'love' like the emotion shared between two people (although that is certainly the theme to many of this songs), I mean love in a grander sense. Devotion. Beauty. Passion. His songs touch on pretty basic emotions: love, losing love, the sadness that comes when perhaps you realize that the love you left behind still haunts you... he also sang simply fun songs like Copa Cabana and Grandstand... his sad songs touched my own sadness and his songs of love and joy reminded me of the best parts of myself. I think to dismiss him because he is 'campy' or 'cheesy' is to miss a bigger picture of one of the greatest talents in music that has come our way. His music had every SINGLE person in that venue smiling, singing and many even dancing! People walked out of that show happy and feeling 'alive'.

So while you may laugh at my apparent "lapse" in taste, I tell you true. Seeing that concert last night renewed my connection and belief in humanity. To see all those people together, happy, basking in Barry Maniglow, feeling this amazingly powerful love for him and for each other, was the best and highest form of religion/meditation group devotion I have seen. And ironically it wasn't for the man, but in fact, it was for the music.

So yes, I am a Barry Manilow fan. Someone like him only comes along once in a lifetime. I feel fortunate he came along in mine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Morning Has Broken...


It's 7:15am. I have 15 minutes to write this, then I need to shower and head to work. Today is my busiest day at work and it will be twice as hard considering I got 4 hours of sleep last night. I got up at 4am this morning and even though my body wanted to crawl back under those soft covers, my brain turned on. I tried to force the issue... sleep isn't usually a problem for me, but this morning? It wasn't happening. Finally at 5:30 I gave up and made some breakfast. Two soft boiled eggs. yay comfort food.

I sat in the quiet and the dark and looked out the window at the fog. I listened to the silence. I decided that sitting and feeling bad wasn't a solution. Hearts don't mend that way. So, I put on my swim suit and went and did laps. Twenty to be exact. Then I did some arm and leg exercises using the water for resistance. It felt good. Being in the water felt good. I suppose I am part mermaid. The water was a comfortable 82 and I watched the sky get lighter and lighter while I swam and enjoyed the early morning.

I would love to write how much better I feel and how the world is a nifty place and the sun and clouds are all singing now. They aren't though. It's still foggy out. I'm still exhausted and today is still my longest day at work. But I do feel better. I feel better because even though I am exhausted, even though I want nothing more than to sit here with my coffee, call in sick and just melt into my chair today, I'm not going to. And I'm not going to because I am one of those lucky people in this world that loves her job. I love what I do, I love where I do it and I love that the people I work with are such an amazing group of people. Every day when I go to work I feel like I am making a difference. I feel like I am touching lives. And every day, I feel like those people and those kids are touching my life as well. My students remind me what it is to be young and while I can live without their drama in my life, seeing all that teen angst reminds me what it is to be young, crazy and full of innocence about the world. Of course every teenager will tell you they aren't innocent... and hey... I've had students that have done things by 13 that I have never done at 43. But they are still innocent. A few know about how hard life can be and a few know about the pain that love often brings.

But most of them? Most of them are young and they believe they can change the world. I want them to do that. And I am grateful each day that they remind me that I am changing the world as well. They remind me not to give up. They remind me that being young and being alive may look different when you are 15, but even at 43 I am still young. And? I am still alive.

For me, I could ask for no better situation in my life. And this morning, I am taking stock in my life and the wonderful and amazing things I have in it. While I may not have 'him', I have family I love, friends I love, people around me I love and a wonderful job that nourishes me and allows me the freedom to teach in a way that I don't burn out and my students are challenged and nourished as well.

And finally? I have my health. And today of all days, the day my best friend has yet *another* surgery to try to reconstruct her breasts I am grateful she is alive and cancer free. And that even though this is the hardest surgery yet, I believe she is strong, and I know God isn't done with her yet. So, I'm taking a moment to send her some love and healing energy as well. Because as selfish as I am, when I called her crying yesterday, the day before she had to have major reconstructive surgery, not only did she listen but she held my space until I stopped being all about me and could hold her space. Together we shared our fears, our concerns and we looked forward to the future together.

So while this isn't an 'easy' morning, it is a new one. And with that note... I have to get moving. It's 7:30 and I have a long day ahead of me.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's love got to do, got to do with it?


So, my best friend says there is nothing harder to get over than heart break. I think it is because one invests so much of oneself in love. Love is this amazing thing and it reaches in so deeply. And it hurts so painfully when it ends. No matter how much you wish the other person well, breaking up with someone, or being the one broken up with? Is painful.

My sister says that you can't be friends with a former lover. She's not even sure men and women can be 'friends'. I think men and women can be friends, but I don't think that someone in a relationship can 'hang out' with a single person of the opposite sex and not have it affect the primary relationship. I suppose that is another story. Or another blog entry.

I don't know if you can be 'buddies' with someone you once loved. Perhaps if you 'cared' about them but weren't 'inlove'... I don't know. I don't even know that I can explain the difference between love and 'in love' but I know how it feels. And it feels different.

But heartbreak tonight pretty much feels like someone has pulled out my heart, tossed it on the floor and after six beers and nothing to eat decided to dance on it wearing clogs.

However, I'm trying to see heartbreak as an opportunity to let go. To make peace with the past, accept that one phase of life is over and a new phase is beginning. It's just a little scary. Thinking about starting over. But I suppose heartbreak only defeats you when you give up. When you doubt your capacity to love. When you hate your ex or hate your ex's new love interest. Or just hate yourself for hating. That's a lot of hate. Doesn't seem healthy to me.

So... tonight I wanted to eat an entire truckload of food. Deep fried to be exact. Deep deep fried. Oh, and crunchy. But I didn't. It was late, I hadn't eaten much and I knew I was hungry. I had a simple dinner with no dairy and not too many calories. I felt full and I knew I made a good choice because nothing was frozen or deep fried..

Maybe I'm finally getting the food thing figured out. Now I just need to work on the exercise. And hey, if my dad can get over heart break at 83, I can manage it at almost 43.



Monday, September 13, 2010

"Enjoy the Silence"


Okay... my computer is dying. It's almost 2 years old... I heft it around and use it hard... but still... it's KILLING me. It won't recognize the plug correctly... meh. Ten years ago? My life was not built around phones and computers. Okay... maybe it was. My life has been built around computers since grad school. I have someone I blame for that... but it would be rude to call him out on it. ;)

He knows who he is.

But now? Now with my computer flaking out on me and me running around my house desperately trying to 'fix' it  and jury rigging it so that I can post my blog? I wonder if I am too reliant on computers. I remember once I was dating this guy and we were chatting online. I lost my signal and I ended up in a parking lot in my car at 6 in the morning trying to get a signal. um. yeah. There's just all kinds of crazy in that story.

Is it healthy to spend so much time on my computer? Is it 'smart' to always 'be available'? Maybe I need a vacation from the internet. As soon as I think that I think of ten things I neeeed my computer for.

I like being connected. I like the people I meet, the conversations I have and the ability to reconnect and stay connected to the people I care about. Not to mention the people I have 'found' after losing touch. What joy to find pieces of myself I have left all over the world! This summer was especially wonderful for that. So yes, even though I loathe facebook? I am also absolutely delighted at the people I have reconnected with. I'm like that. I can go a few days without talking to the people I love, then I want to connect with them... I jot off an email, or a text... I don't need a lot of connection, but I can see how I've always felt that way. I remember in college in the days before email, waiting every day for letters. I hardly ever got letters, but I would wait every day for them... I think the internet is the same way. I'm not sure what I'm waiting for, but apparently? I'm looking for it frequently.

I feel like there is a deeper issue with this... that desire to feel connected... to feel loved and needed. It's like some sort of reassurance, 'Hey MK, you're loved and you're needed.'

I sort of wonder if everyone seeks that, or if it is just me... that reassurance that things are okay. That I am okay. That 'we' are okay. I have been told that 'need' is my 'low self esteem'. I don't feel like I walk around with low self esteem.  I feel pretty confident actually. Most of the time. *chuckle* Is being needed and loved a self esteem issue?

All I know? Is that I am not loving my computer acting up... I'm going to see if I can fix it first. If I have to buckle down and send it away, I'm going to take a deep breath and like a good Depeche Mode song? "Enjoy the Silence".



Sunday, September 12, 2010

ch _ _ ch... what's missing? UR


I went with my friend to church today. I haven't been to a Catholic church in many, many years. I went a couple of times in college because two of my closest friends at that time were both Catholic. I grew up Missouri Lutheran, so I pretty much knew what I was doing and all the creeds and such.

When I was younger I thought there was such mystery in a church. I remember how I loved to sit in the pews when no one else was in the church and just look at the candles. Our church was a stark one, and very conservative. But at 12, I didn't know about that sort of thing. Later on in my life I can remember wandering through Mexico loving the churches and the beauty of the stained glass and cathedrals. I felt the ancient mystery there and it was impressive to me.

I have wandered into and out of different churches since college. I had a conversation with my father once about the Power of Myth. He said to me, "Believing in God isn't a problem, believing in a personal god, you got problems." I asked him what he meant and like the most irritating koan out there, he didn't say. I railed against him. "I have a personal God", I shouted, "I have an incredible relationship with God!" He just shook his head.

Once I understood what he was trying to say, my relationship with god was never the same. First of all, I didn't even want to use the word 'god'. For a while I used "goddess" but I got frustrated at most of the 'goddess' worshipers I met. Most of them seemed to just be really pissed off "god" worshipers. They hated each other and hate wasn't what I was seeking. It seems a lot of people played the 'my god/dess is better than your god/dess' game and I got sick and tired of all of them. Wars being fought in the name of religion... trade centers crumbling and being blamed on religion... it seems like everyone had the ONE RIGHT WAY... and no one knew how to listen to each other anymore, unless you purchased with your soul their ONE RIGHT WAY bumper sticker.

I tried a more 'humanitarian' church. Unitarian Universalist. It was a good fit for a while... but their all out refusal to use the word god started to irritate me as well. I didn't want to get RID of divinity in my life, I just wanted a way to touch it again...

Then I went through a big existential crisis. There I was... the woman who for all of her life had this amazing relationship with divinity, not even knowing how to pray anymore. Not even liking the word prayer. This time in my life was the most difficult time ever. I felt outside of myself. I had been studying myths so much I couldn't see the forest for the trees. How could I believe ANYTHING??? The stories were beautiful, but all the magic of the myth were lost.

I'd say the last five years of my life have been lost. I have felt outside of myself and my spirituality.

But lately I have felt more myself than I have in a long time. I feel connected again to the magic that is life. I still try to avoid the word "god" or "goddess" or any name to a concept that is beyond my capacity to name it or define it. The minute you start to define you get religion and clearly.. I have some issues with those...

I realized today, I won't be going back to any form of rigid dogma again. Today? I couldn't even see the beauty of the mystery. I just felt so angry with all the talk of sin and guilt. I wanted to walk out of the church when a woman got up and said how proud she was that she was picketing the Planned Parenthood in Everett. I know people who use that Planned Parenthood, that organization does a great deal more than the one thing she felt it was her duty to prevent.

But I am wretched? I am sin? I am an unworthy sinner in the eyes of their god? I couldn't even enjoy the singing today because I kept listening to the words of the music, the sermon and the messages. I could barely get through "Amazing Grace" which used to be one of my favorites. In all fairness, I wasn't brought up Catholic, but Missouri Lutheran is similar in many many ways. The whole service didn't work for me and it truly bothered me. In the past I could sit and appreciate the faith of others. I could have heard the talk about the poor and how it is our job to minister to the poor and enjoyed it. But not today. Today I couldn't get past the message of guilt and sin and how much I felt that the words that were said were one thing and the actions were quite another. I realized the days when I could just go and sit in a church and soak up the mystery of the experience are over.

Then I went to Deception Pass (the irony of the name is not lost on me). My friend walked around while I sat and stared at the ocean. The smell of the water, the gulls, the breeze, the beauty... I felt closer to my spirit than I have in a long time. It was renewing. It was affirming. It was magical.

So in the end, I am grateful for today. I'm not going to lie, I am frustrated that others want to tell me how to believe. I do not think I'll ever be able to join a group again that insists I need a mediator between me and the Divine. I do not need my understanding of divinity to be personal. But I need a connection. And I apologize now if I am coming off as saying that religion is bad. I do not think it is. What doesn't work for me, is a specific form of structured religion that may very work for someone else.

I think faith is beautiful. You seek what makes your heart sing and live that. My issue comes when you tell me that how I see Divinity is somehow wrong or flawed or 'sinful'. Heck you can even believe that if you want, I'm not going to tell you how to believe... even how you believe about me. But for the love of your faith, please don't force me to see things your way. Don't take away my choice to believe how I wish to believe. As long as my way of seeing divinity doesn't take away your rights to see divinity how you want to see it? We'll get along just fine.

I do believe in mystery and magic. And I can see the deeper message in the word both written and spoken. And I may call my connection God, or Goddess or god or goddess. I may quote from Jesus, or Buddha, or Confucius. I may meditate, pray, do shamanic journeying or sit quietly by the beach and feel the earth between my toes. Those are my ways of connecting. And I can barely begin to tell you how glad I am to be feeling them again.

It is good to be back.



Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Night on the Town


A friend of mine is here visiting from Ohio. We have a big day planned tomorrow... so I am going to keep my blog post short tonight. Besides, I think I am all out of inspiration tonight - I used it up on last night's blog. *smile*

It was sort of a night of interesting insights. The first insight I had was when I picked up my friend at the Disk NW Ultimate Hat Tournament, I was the biggest person there. Odd feeling really... haven't felt so big since I visited Japan...everyone was super nice though and I'm excited that Mark's team got second place... yay!

While waiting to join some other friends for dinner, I bought a bunch of new bento boxes (10 I think!) and had two crazy realizations. The first was that $1.50 for bento boxes was AWESOME. The second realization was that some of the boxes looked WAY toooo big! ahahhah. This coming from the person who thought her original box was waaaay too small! So, yay me.

Another little moment I had tonight was when I joined up with my friends for comfort food from Hong Kong. It was delish and it was interesting to see that rice, meat, bok choy and a raw egg in a clay pot could be so delicious. Not my culture, but apparently comfort food is comfort food is comfort food.

My friend wants to go to Mass tomorrow. I can't say I'm excited, not because it is mass but because it is mass at 8am in the morning. Ugh. The plan is Deception Pass, wandering around Whidbey Island and ferry ride home. Easy peasy day. Any suggestions on where I should take him?



Friday, September 10, 2010

A letter to my goddaughter...


My Dearest Madalyn,

I just spoke with your mom. She told me you lost a tooth today and you two had the 'talk'. You know, the one where you two talked about how there was no Tooth Fairy, or Santa Claus, or Easter Bunny. Your mom said you two cried, even though you already knew. That you took the jar down from the shelf, put your tooth in it, shook it a little to see the 'fairy dust' your mom used to sprinkle on your bed and said, "Mom, let's not tell dad. It makes him so happy to think I still believe. I love his smile when I discover my gifts. Oh, and, can I help next time Grant loses a tooth?" Your mom said you were amazed at how many people went into making that magic seem real...

I can't even tell you how proud I am of you. Seeing how much it means to your dad and wanting to let him hold on to that joy even if it's just a little longer? Is a pretty grown up thing to do. I know it can be really hard, that moment when you grow up enough to know there is no Santa. I so clearly remember the day *I* found out. I was at my grandmother's house. My dad and I were on a walk. I was ten, just like you. For some reason I asked him if the Easter Bunny was real. For a moment he stopped walking and just looked at me. He sighed a little and we started walking again. I'm pretty sure he paused because it is almost as hard for a grown up tell a child there is no Santa, as it is for a child to find out. My dad looked at me and I will never forget what he said. He said, "Honey, Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy all live in the land of Imagination. It's a good place and I hope you never stop visiting there."

I didn't really understand my dad when that happened, Mads. I was kind of confused that everyone had lied to me, but I was sooo curious as well. The land of Imagination? What is that? Where is it? How do I find it? I have spent my life seeking the answers to those questions, Madalyn. And you know what I discovered? That while the Easter Bunny, and Santa don't live in our world, that the world of Imagination my dad told me about? Is the most magical world of all. It's the world of dreams, creativity, beauty, passion and hope. 

Madalyn, magic is more than just the Easter Bunny and Santa and the Tooth Fairy. True magic comes when you believe in your imagination. When you trust in your dreams. When you see beauty and magic all around you. I hope with all my heart you remember something. It is something I forget sometimes but maybe you'll remember it better than I. That 'something' is the ability to see magic in every moment of your life. Not the Harry Potter kind, (although that magic is really cool) but the magic of life itself. The magic of seeing each day as the beautiful miracle it is. As the chance it is for you to make your mark on the world. To leave this planet a little better than how you found it. This world is full of mystery and without imagination? You might just miss it all.

No doubt, in school, you will learn all the scientific reasons why the sun comes up and the moon shines. All the logical reasons why the sky is blue and the snow is cold when it comes down. But just because that snow is cold Madalyn, is no reason not to go outside and let it  melt upon your tongue. Because those moments are true magic. The best magic. The magic, that when you take the time to look for it, is all around you every single moment. The magic of parents that love you. The magic of having a brother to share your life with (even when he irritates you sometimes). The magic of having 2(!) boys sit by you at the lunch table. The magic of having friends and a godmother and family who completely adore you. The magic of being part of this world - the magic of being human. 

Magic thrives when you take a moment to appreciate it; when you see that spark of beauty and mystery. And maybe the magic I'm speaking of isn't the 'all-around-the-world-in-one-night-delivering presents' kind, but the story of Santa brings out the magic of the human spirit. It reminds people of the importance of compassion and the value of reaching out and touching the lives of the less fortunate. While Santa may not be real, the legacy of the legend is. 

Magic is in the air, the trees, the water, the stars and most of all, magic is in the heart, Madalyn. And no one can take that away from you. Hold on to thinking miracles and magic are possible! Should you ever forget? I'll be here and I'll remind you. 

No matter what your life brings you, I hope you hold onto that magic and don't lose sight of how it feels to smell a flower, laugh at otters and dance under the stars. I promise if you hold on to your imagination, Madalyn, you'll have the only key you'll ever need to unlock the doorway to The Great Mystery awaiting you. 

With my heart,


ps. Writing this letter Madalyn has helped me touch back into the magic in my own life. For that, I can not thank you enough. Know you and your family are in my thoughts every single day. I can't wait to see you at Christmas. After all, we have cookies to bake (and this year? Perhaps you can help Santa' when he comes!)