Friday, June 30, 2006

Standing up for what you believe....

Standing up and getting squashed is never fun. For Cecilia Thunder Fire, though, standing up meant getting replaced as tribal leader. As the first female tribal leader, I am sure she is used to the abuse. She is also probably used to fighting for the causes that move her.

So, how could anyone expect her not to take on the egghead anti-abortion laws in North Dakota? How could she look herself in the mirror everyday knowing she had the ability to defy the laws and didn't even try?

Ok... so you feel like your population is dwindling and so abortion in antithetical to protecting your tribe, but, there are better ways to foment fertility than to oppose abortion clinics.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Listening... to the stars

Not Brittany or Angelina, the cosmic variety. The spirits and subconscious have been knocking on my door as well, but I have been fairly successful at ignoring all of these entreaties. Today's messages from the cosmos are demanding that I take a break, sit back and listen, and bask a little in the success or at least finality of the last project. I have decided to try to heed this advice; silencing my mind has always been a difficult task for me.

Here is what one said:
You've been running around so frenetically that you long ago missed out on the fact that you already tore through the finish line on that project or goal. Slow down! There is no point in continuing on your path, because everyone you wanted to impress has long disappeared. Right now, you're only trying to impress yourself. This perfectionism isn't going to make you happier, so just take a break and relax. Give yourself time to notice the progress you've made.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What price happiness?

It's hard to break routines... whether they bring us joy or pain, once we are in a routine, we generally stick to it. Even when the routine isn't working for us, we keep following it.

I find myself trying to retrain my brain:
Leave work on time...
Don't take work home...
Make time to exercise...
Eat good food that is good for you...
Talk to your friends...
Write in the journal...

I don't need a study to tell me that making more money will not make me happier. Neither will finding the "right" partner or having the "perfect" job.

I do believe in happiness. But I am not convinced there is a continous state of happiness. One plan I have for the next few months: reread the Dalai Lama's book on happiness and take notes. There is something about living in the moment that money can't buy. I hate to call it contentment because I have some negative associations with the notion of content vs happy. Maybe that is part of the problem. I don't know. Content shouldn't equal settling.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Night Terrors

I don't remember being afraid of the dark as a child, but I can imagine believing there were monsters in the closet. Certainly, I had a deep and abiding faith in the cucuy. Children have a profound need to fear or to imagine that there are beings that should be feared. It is a strange mixture of dread and excitement. I saw it in the mijo's eyes when he asked me in a whisper, "what's that?" and then answered his own question, breathlessly, "monsters." A twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips, monsters and cucuys of any variety are a secret joy.

Night terrors as an adult, however, are no joy, secret or otherwise.

First, it was the insomnia and the sounds that screamed for me to imagine someone breaking into my car. I rationalized that it was a result of the crimemapping. In my house hunting frenzy, I discovered the Sacramento PD's tool that allows you to see the crime statistics by neighborhood. Delightfully colored stars mark the spots of the crimes reported to the police; against the lavender background, it is hard to distinguish between the aggravated assault and vandalism. But there it all is, ready for your sleep deprived mind to run away and make up stories.

So, for days on end, I bolt up in bed everytime I hear the least sound, imagining it is the car-window breaking marauders, come to hurt my cute little car, nameless all these years. The first time it was when I had left my car on the street rather than in the driveway. It made sense, in its own way; but there was just no explanation for the terror on the nights when the car was tucked carefully into the driveway. In the warm light of morning, sun or not, it is easy to remember that no one down here has had their window smashed in. The street is just too busy. And if you look carefully at my car in the driveway, you realize the intense work it would take to get the angle and then get into the car without making a ton of noise. Yet the sleepless nights brought endless sounds that made me believe there was danger just out my window.

Even after Jake, I never felt unsafe in my neighborhood. Occasionally, I felt angry that I had to take precautions and worry about people like Jake, but I never felt FEAR. I never thought, this is a dangerous place for a person like me. Somehow, searching for a house in an unknown city had me terrorized.

Maybe it was more than the house hunt and the unknown.

Eventually, I started sleeping again, only for the nightmares to begin. Generally speaking, my nightmares involve my family -- and someone being mean to me and the rest of my family not coming to my aid. Sometimes, the nightmares involve quests that I can't seem to complete. I hate my own incompetence and wake feeling exhausted and defeated. I can remember one bad dream in which I was being chased and my mom was there and unwilling to help me, but that was the only dream in which I felt truly unsafe.

Until this past week.

The new nightmares are all about tight situations in which I am being chased, pursued or otherwise threatened, and I am also in a vulnerable state: partially clothed, behind walls of pure glass, no where to hide. Even more menacing, no conventional attempts to make myself safe work. I dial 9-1-1, if I am able to do that, and the police don't show up. I am unable to remember the number to the person I should call. When the police show up, they arrest me instead of the person who was threatening me. Up is down and left is right, and I am out of the loop on these changes.

I thought stepping back from all the decisions that have been making me feel overwhelmed would help me to regain equilibrium and allow me to feel safe again. Instead, it just caused old fears or new ones to emerge and take over.

Sleep, restful, peaceful sleep, where are you?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My brother's keeper

Take a moment to read this heartwarming story of two brothers who have learned to love and respect each other while still engaging in the kind of sibling sniping that makes life interesting.

Happy day.

Friday, June 23, 2006

the little black cloud

Could it be that all I need to do to make the little black cloud go away is to let the sun shine on it?

It seems too easy.

Letting the sun in, making the black cloud gray first, then white, then a clear blue sky?

I will try.

Friday, June 09, 2006

You think you have problems?

Perspective is a wonderful thing: it allows you to step back, look around you and fix yourself and your current situation in reality. Usually, it gives you the chance to moderate some extreme reactions/emotions to your current situation. Sometimes, it gives you a strong slap, stingingly reminding you that what passes for complaints in your world could very well be considered blessings in someone else's world. Sometimes, it just makes you want to give up altogether when you see someone dealing with the hand he/she has been dealt so remarkably better than you are dealing with yours. Perspective can cause you to crawl right back into your comfortable shell called denial and take a nap because thinking about all of this has exhausted you.

I have, in point of fact, reacted in each of these ways to my current situation in the past few weeks. I would like to say that I take the piano teacher's model and apply it ... move forward, don't look back nostalgically, just deal. Rather, I wallow in self-pity and, frankly, entirely unrealistic longings far more than I care to admit. But, there it is.

One day, you are taking a walk, and someone tries to take your life... and ten years later you think of it as a blessing because it helped you redefine your priorities and appreciate every thing in your life a little more, though, like any other human being, there are times when you stumble.

WOW is all I could think as I read through this article. She's amazing, and maybe that's why she survived, and maybe that's why she's recovered so miraculously. Maybe she's extraordinary. On the other hand, maybe she is terribly ordinary and just made it happen. I am going to stick to believing she is an ordinary person who managed to be led by perspective rather than pity. I wish her continued health and wisdom with her new life.