Friday, December 31, 2010


December 31 – Core Story
What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.) (Author: Molly O’Neill)

This trip to NYC - yes it started in 2010 but now is well into the first week of the new year- has turned into old friend week.

I haven't been to NY in over 4 years, but, I have been trying to do a better job of keeping in touch long distance. Some of my friends, however, haven't been able to make it to where I was either... so a chance to be around old friends is a treasure.

Don't get me wrong, new friends are great, too, but old friends are a special breed, and they are at the core of my being at present. Since what I am trying to embrace is the sense that I am known, just being in the presence of old friends is healing.

Aside from the three friends I came to visit explicitly -- two of them I hadn't seen in the four years, I have had a week full of reunions.

Monday, I saw a friend I haven't seen in over 15 years. And as she said, it was as if no time had passed.

Tuesday, I got to spend a lovely afternoon and evening with one of my all time favorite families. As well as getting the chance to visit old haunts - which was wildly surreal.

Wednesday, a sweet evening with an old friend on his turf for a change.

Thursday (tomorrow) another catch up with someone I haven't seen in probably 20 years.

Starting Friday evening with another friend I have not seen in a long while.

All of this time spent with people who get me, just as I am. It is the essence of being known.

It is like living inside a warm hug.
I had too many bags to also carry my camera, but here is one shot someone took of us at a NYE party... the rest of the pics will have to just live in my memory.

Location:Aiken Ave,Princeton,United States

Thursday, December 30, 2010


December 30 – Gift.
This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)

A while ago I decided that the best thing to do was to gift myself for my birthday and Christmas.

That way I know I will get what I want and everything else is gravy.

This year I didn't really buy myself a birthday gift, but I did gift myself with a spa day, a three week trip all over California and my words necklace.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Breakdowns, Break Ups and Definition

December 29 – Defining Moment Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

[Again ... in this moment of truth, I will admit it is not December 29th when I write this, but it is still 2010 ... by at least eight more hours]

I was just telling a friend the other day (they all run together now, so I am not sure if it was yesterday or the day before ... or even how long I have been in NYC) that the painful friend break up I experienced earlier this fall, and the breakdown it engendered, were defining moments for me.

There was a lot of soul searching to be done ... and defining and redefining what I understood as "friendship," how I defined myself as a friend and what I was looking for in a friend.

This is not to say that I have definitive answers to these questions now... I do not. But I learned some important things about myself and applied a new found compassion to my soul ... it was painful. I will admit that I felt I had fallen a dark well for a long while.

The important piece was that not only did I already have the resources, internal/personal as well as real live friends I could call on ... I knew exactly how to access them.

It was like taking a deep breath, not the one you take and it catches because you have been crying and can't get your breath. It was the one that cleanses, renews and literally breathes life back into you.

Check the company you keep ... if you are not breathing deeply, they might not be the right people to spend time with....

[Not sure I did this prompt justice ... but I hope so. I am not meaning to be cryptic, but at this point, these are the aspects of the situation that seem salient. If you want juicy details, I think you will have to make them up for yourselves. I encourage this tactic, by the way.]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Achievement Envisioned

December 28 – Achieve

What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara Sophia Mohr)

Happy, Open, Whimsical, Tender ... what I would like to feel, achieve...

10 (or as many that flow) new thoughts:


Let go...




listen to the universe

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ordinary Joy

December 27 – Ordinary Joy
Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown)

[In the name of truth ... I am sitting in a sb in NYC on December 31st ... trying to get at least some of these posts updated.]

I have been feeling rushed and drowsy for the past few days ... the long awaited crash has finally taken over. I am loving these prompts but don't have the energy to do them justice. But, I will try ...

One of my most joyful moments this year was at Brian and Stephanie's wedding ... for which we planned the wedding reunion last night (it was a blast, by the way).

It was a wedding weekend and it began inauspiciously ... I was tired and fearful and grouchy and managed to piss everyone off before we left the airport.

It got better, though; I realize now that all three of us in the car were carrying our own fears of being trapped among wedding revelers. Truthfully, at that moment I felt like I was staring down the barrel of a large gun, maybe a canon. I had just not enjoyed any nuptials since my divorce, maybe even before that ...

The event was joyful and loving and fantastically hilarious. I don't think I have clicked with folks or had real joy like that in so long that I couldn't really remember the last time I had laughed that hard or heartily.

The reunion on Sunday night was just as boisterous and joyful...though this time I was ready, theoretically, for it... no fear, just the desire to let my hair down and really enjoy the moments.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

good eats

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

Best meal I had in a long time was at Cafe Pasqual in Santa Fe.

Everything was just good, simple and good... not too much sauce covering up for not so good.

Perhaps the best was the dessert sampler ... everything on that plate was awesome.

A friend in from Oakland was there ... and we agreed, it was as good as anything we had in the bay area and that is saying a lot.

Even the wait staff's tshirts made me want to stay and be friends.

Looking forward to the next time I dine there ...

Another great place is the Boot and Shoe Service in Oakland ... it opened after I left, but this summer, I got a couple of good meals there. The best: soft serve ice cream with sea salt ... YUM. There wine was yummy too. And you have to love a place that likes the old sign out so much that they keep the name. Love it. Miss Oakland... can't believe I will not be there anymore this year.

I am a creature of habit, so wherever I am a regular there is usually something that is feeding my soul besides the food...

There are definitely others that are standouts...briefly
Fish tacos with freshly made tortillas at the little mariscos place near 3129
Fancy mac n cheese at the Standard Diner
Happy hour wine and food at Zinc always makes me happy, especially late happy hour on Sunday evenings

I am still trying to get over the Chocolate Cafe being closed ... and losing the Pudge Bros.

Just might add some in NYC in the next couple of days!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

1000 words... or less

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself

Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and [...]

Above, inadvertent self portrait ... on one of the Oxnard - Oakland trains, trying to capture the ocean through these two slopes, I caught myself in the orange shirt... one of my favorite shirts, too.

Can you see me?

I put on my new necklace yesterday without looking, KNOWN is showing, on the necklace, and I hope in real life, too.

Below, two more shots from the train that I like...

Friday, December 24, 2010


December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK
What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

[Without apologies ... I am desperately trying to finish this on NYE in NYC]

I have been mulling this prompt for way too long. I am sure that this year, like every other, has been full of moments that prove that everything is going to be okay, but it seems so definite to choose just one.

The first thought that flashed when I read the prompt was a picture of me flying across the sidewalk, landing wonder-woman(NOT)-like on the ground.

Why was this proof that everything is going to be ok?

I jumped up, literally brushed myself off and sped to my appointment without regard for the pain or the blood.

I might have been dazed and confused or just sure that it was not that big of a deal.

It hurt like hell...but in my mind I just thought, well, I took the brunt of that discussion about whether or not to pass me in my body. No problem.

And, I still have the scars on my elbows and one (!?!) knee, but I am just fine.

It was a bruising and it was just like the universe does without warning or rhyme or reason. There was not an explanation for the fall, it just was.

And I was fine... I didn't chip a tooth or hit my head. I landed sprawled but not truly injured.

It was the universe saying you have the resources... I was going to need to know that I had the resources soon enough, this was an indication, not a warning.

Hoping it makes sense...

Thursday, December 23, 2010


December 23 – New Name
Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

Writing about a saint for the last five or so weeks has got my head stuck in the church ... hence the title of this piece.

What comes to mind is my Christmas present ... the one I designed and bought for myself.

It arrived today and is in my stocking. You see the restraint?

Anyway, it is the necklace with the two words I want to manifest in 2011 ... manifest is not exactly right, maybe embrace is better. Just imagine the agonizing I did deciding on the two words: fierce and known.

FIERCE - strong in the resilient way, determined, committed, unashamed, there's more, but I am too tired to elaborate. I hope you get the picture.

KNOWN - if I have to explain this one, it probably isn't worth the words.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

travel: remembering and wishing

December 22 – Travel
How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

started the year driving from Oxnard to Oakland, to wine country and back to Oxnard and then all the way back to Albuquerque. My car was tired, so was I, but I had a lot of wine and a wine refrigerator on the way

a lot of trips to Santa Fe to visit the archives

SoCal for my brother's 50th birthday

Quick trip to Oberlin for a conference

a month of all over the place ... fly to Oakland, drive to Tahoe, train to Oxnard, back to Oakland, drive to Fort Jones and the cabin (check the archives), to Oregon, drive back to Oakland, Gilroy, back to Oxnard and the Albuquerque on the train

more trips to Santa Fe, for work, for music, for spa days

SoCal for Malibu half marathon, Thanksgiving and now Christmas

In 2011, I will go to NYC, ticket already booked; and then to Nashville, already booked... and back to Albuquerque.

I am plotting a trip to Bensalem, PA ... garden spot? no... more archive work...

Haven't decided on a run yet ... so who knows where I will travel to for that

Las Vegas in May for Sade? Still waiting for the confirmation

Maybe Oberlin again in June?

AAA in Montreal in November if all goes as city for me!

I can't predict much more than that... but I would like to get a trip to Oakland in ... and wine country

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

yesterday, today, tomorrow

December 21 – Future Self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

wish I had time to engage this prompt ... but, I am still working on that stupid paper that won't end...

all I want to tell myself right now is WRITE, don't censor, just WRITE, just write it, just write it...

Monday, December 20, 2010

on a side note

unrelated to any prompt that is not life ...

I wonder what it means that getting the work done on the last paper (the one about someone becoming a saint) can only get done while watching Dexter... holy irony?

intentions, manifestations, banishing fear

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

I feel a little like groundhog day with some of these prompts ... didn't I just write what I was going to do ... I guess I didn't mention these were challenging for me ... things that I have been too scared or worried or unsure or too busy or otherwise deterred from doing?

Again, then...
dance like no one is watching
be whimsical and tender
smile when I see something that tickles me
enjoy every moment, even if it is a painful moment
be present
not regret
just be...

I am intending very much to do these things...

Sunday, December 19, 2010


December 19 – Healing
What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leoni Allan)

What has healed me this year, still working on it, actually, is compassion... applied to myself. I started the project a long while ago...while at an all day metta retreat.

I was not enjoying the day ... the teacher was working my last nerve. But, I recognized that uncomfortable generally means making progress. All day, I rewrote the metta statements that we were given. Working on the premise that I needed to take issues that plagued me most and turn them into positive statements. Statements that I could remember and apply as salve as needed.

We alternated between sitting and walking meditation. I abhor walking meditation. I usually can just not get into it ... I worry about falling and get distracted by every sound and sight and just can't keep focus. Not so that day.

During the sitting meditation, I would test out different statements and write down the one that seemed right just before heading out to the walking meditation. During the walking, I would just repeat the statements, fiddling with the words if they were not just right. I also arranged them in alphabetical order by verb so that if I could not remember them, I could think through the letters...

At the end of the day, I had four statements that were at the heart of breaking old agreements and making new ones:
May I acknowledge abundance.
May I allow love to flow to and from me.
May I embrace my gifts and talents.
May I feel beautiful and strong.

Running and working out in general were also helpful. It was most effective to repeat these while I was running, though I also found that I could use them when the gremlins, as Andrea call them, started up the negative chatter.

At times I stalled with this practice, but, for the most part, this is a winning strategy. I realized, at some point, that I needed some new statements, which I created ... but I think these four are still the most powerful.

The phrases often can sometimes have more power when I send them to other people or to the world. Sometimes I direct them at the people who appear to be causing me distress ... tailoring the words to fit their personalities. I know that, in fact, it is my brain that is causing me the distress, but by redirecting my negative thoughts towards people to some positive energy, it lifts the discomfort and the fog...

I don't know if this makes sense to anyone out there, but it really does feel like a salve for me: for my soul and for my heart, and I hope, in a small way, for the universe.

Blessed be...

[Photos: July 2010, leaving the Cabin, Fort Jones (ish), CA]

Saturday, December 18, 2010


December 18 – Try
What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

More than anything I want to try really being open ... however painful that may be.

I want to try not to be overly helpful to anyone but myself. Sure that this sounds awful, but it's not really.

I want to try to have more fun and worry less about everything.

This is clearly all off the top of my head ... still working on a paper, so there is only so much brain power left for other things...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Street Smarts

December 17 – Lesson Learned
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)

Still trying to figure out what lessons have been learned ... I know there are many or at least a few ...

Right at the moment, however, I am still catching up on sleep and trying to figure out how to get some exercise in the rain that won't stop.

And, no, of course, I didn't write this on 12/17 ... but still catching up...

Thursday, December 16, 2010


December 16 – Friendship
How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

Two songs to put a little perspective on this prompt:

and this one:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

minutes, hours, days...

December 15 – 5 Minutes
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)

I am going to break the rules, again. Who made these rules anyway?

It's a prompt ... that is, it should prompt you write something. If it prompts you to write on the question asked, well, you should get some extra brownie points. If not, you should just be happy you had something to say on that day.

When I saw the prompt, several ideas went through my mind, even though it was 8:18am (yes, I just changed the am to pm in the post date/time because I figured I wouldn't get time to work on this until then):
-how many more minutes before I am finished with finals?
but that depressed me because I actually have an indefinite extension on one of my papers, though I am tentatively planning on it being done by Friday evening.
-what will I do with all those theoretically *free* minutes when I finish with finals?
they are only theoretical because I will be working for money for a lot of those minutes, though some will be spent in NYC and some will be spent in Nashville, and, of course, some of them will be spent in SoCal holding my new niece!

So.... what will I do with my minutes
-watch movies at a movie theater and on tv
-watch as many L&O marathons I can find!
-try to watch dexter for free
-give my niece eskimo kisses
-have a movie date with the Mijo
-read a book for fun
-read a book for school
-draft a funding proposal for my research in PA [no fun!]
-draft my progress report for the dept
-draft my personal statement for the reapplication process [don't get me started...]

Did I mention that I ordered the really big latte with full caffeine and an extra shot today??

It has helped me to be somewhat productive in these two and one half hours ...
I have drafted an essay for a scholarship
I have drafted a budget for a funding proposal -- actually it is not FINALIZED!
I have drafted the funding proposal

I still have to draft an abstract
finish paper #2 -- that's the one with the extension, so it is not happening today
finish paper #3 -- I have eight bad pages but I really good OUTLINE for that one!
volunteer on campus for an hour
EAT real food
get a drink to celebrate the pretend end of the semester while listening to Felix's solo debut CD

There's probably more I need to do, but, let's be realistic... there really are only so many minutes in one day.

You see, I came back to the prompt, at least the first word of it!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

acknowledging abundance

December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)

Victoria must have been reading my mind.

This year has been very tough emotionally, now that I think of it, what year hasn't?

However, what I learned is that beyond my personal resources for dealing with life ... I have a great circle of friends. Friends, you know people who are for you not because they want something from you or want to use to to make themselves look better... etc.

Friends are people that you just have to call when you need them ... and not worry that you are going to be imposing on them in some way, because as your friends they can say with all the love in their hearts, I can handle this right now, or I can't ... but it doesn't change the way I feel for you.

Yesterday, I sent this text to three of those in that circle (if you are reading this, you know who you are):
Report back: finally chose my words to manifest not just for 2011: fierce, known.
Thanks so much for helping me to think through the words!
You are the best friends and support system any person could want!
Acknowledging my great abundance!
[just imagine the texting conventions employed to make this not be too long; and no punctuation, of course]

One of the ways that I express my gratitude and appreciation for my many great friends (and other gifts) is to acknowledge abundance in my metta practice.

But I am also trying to practice telling the people in my life just how wonderful they are, how much I appreciate them, and what they mean to me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Action Aspirations

December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)

Finish these damn papers.

Relax, see family, do a lot of work for money, read for fun, visit friends.

When I come back to the real world of second semester, second year graduate school ... I need to be refreshed and ready to be more focused and organized.

I will believe. It might not seem like action, but if it isn't, that's when it doesn't work.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Training ...

December 12 – Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

This summer, I trained regularly as though I were going to run a race.

My body often wanted to get out of bed to run ... and if I didn't make it out before the sun baked the field to the point of it being dangerous, my body missed the run.

I felt strong and my mind did feel unified with my body.

Looking forward to getting back on track.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Simplify or Beautify?

December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

I am going to struggle with staying true to this prompt. There are things, material and otherwise, that I most definitely need to get rid of... I think in some way these posts have already been full of them. Also, did I mention that I don't really like lists? [I was going to say *hate* but I realize that is a dramatic and extreme word that should be used sparingly ... and it has been springing from my lips regularly along with too many four lettered words since I have felt the crush of finals week upon me.]

I want to focus more on what I want to manifest.

I conceptualize it in this way. Several years ago, I moved across country with only what I could carry in my car. I handed over to many friends, some for safe-keeping and other for keeps, the worldly possessions that could not fit in my car (read, I didn't need them, they were unessential) but that I had special attachment to. I learned how to let go of material things ... and I have done a pretty good job of keeping myself clutter free since then.

[Aside: In fact, I am so good at de-cluttering that people ask me to help them. Mostly I just go over and talk them through letting go of things that they don't need, but sometimes, I actually do the sorting and sifting myself.]

Then a few years later, I looked around my sparsely furnished one bedroom, barely 400 sq feet, apartment and realized I didn't have anything up on the walls... nothing.

So, I started to decorate. It didn't fix anything in my life, but it made the place I came home to more welcoming, more like home. I loved that place, with all its imperfections, and I still miss it. I wonder some times if one of the things I miss is actually how I had made it homey.

Now I have been here for over a year and there is still nothing on my walls.

There is no welcoming part of my apt ... other than my turtle's space. I find her tank beautiful, with her little cave/sunning spot. When she gets up on the rock and does her turtle ballet in an attempt to get as much sun (or fake sun) to touch as much of her body as possible, I think she is happy ... if that is an emotion that turtle's feel, if turtle's feel emotion ... it is beautiful because I sense the security and warmth that moment holds for her. She may not feel them as emotions, but they are two sensations that rule her world, so I know she feels them in some way.

[I will try to capture a picture of this, but for now, just use your imagination]

I am busy ... trying to write a paper about how religious views impact the way people tell their life histories, no light work for me, so I am going to post this half done so that I can give it the thought it deserves.

These are the 11 things I want to manifest in 2011...
1. Self compassion.
2. Patience with the universe and the beings with whom I share the world.
3. Self love. I really do believe that you can love others more when you love yourself. I really do!
4. Openness. Vulnerability. Tenderness. I want to practice what I preach!
5. Healthy lifestyle ... regular exercise, healthy, yummy food choices and appreciative self-concept of my body!
6. Lovable.
7. Gratitude for the abundance in my life.
8. Talented, gifted, full of trust in my abilities.

[I cringe as I review the list so far; it seems so self-centered. But, how can I heal the world without healing myself? I am starting here, with me ... as I believe is all we can do.]

[Green, in honor of T, she is inspiring me today]

behind, again

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)
It's a wonder, really, that I am not more behind here .... though I guess you could say that I make up for it being behind in writing my papers.

I have two more to go ... and though I have done an awful lot of research, once again I feel as though I still need to do a ton more. The goal for today is to just write and worry about what I don't know tomorrow...but to take a break from writing at some point to do a little reading.

Wisdom ... what I have learned from life this year is that it is important to be flexible, which I guess is another way to say, open, or maybe present.

Part of that is to listen ... and being able to listen is a function of not crowding your mind with plans and regret and recriminations. I am still fighting with it. It is too easy to go there and never hear what the universe is trying to tell you.

The life coach gave me this prompt to work on every day:
The wisdom of the universe...

I am ashamed (there goes that regret again) that I have not worked on it once since she assigned it to me ... months ago.

On the other hand, we haven't had time to meet either, and life has been carrying on just as it would.

It is one of the tasks I hope to get on when the papers are finished.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

play amongst yourselves

Today's prompt is PARTY... I don't even have the energy to go to the site and copy and paste it here. So you will just have to imagine it.

I might be able to come up with a memory from a great party, but it won't happen before the three papers are finished.

And... I just read that mercury is going retrograde tomorrow. TOMORROW?! Seriously, doesn't anyone understand that I have THREE papers, yes, not one is complete YET.

So, play amongst yourselves until I get a handle on my life.

UPDATE ... Ok, I guess I did have something to say, but I did it at the other blog.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Being Tested?

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

I feel as though I am being tested with all these prompts. Can you force yourself to examine your own self through that gaze of silver linings you love so much? Even the question belies the little compassion I afford myself.

I am supposed to be writing three research papers right now. Well, of course, not all at once, but at least I should be working on one, but instead, I am trying to write here.

I do believe that one of the things that makes me different, even, perhaps beautifully different, is my ability to see in, around and over. I used to call it seeing people (usually) from the inside out. I used to consider it dangerous.

Not taking people, particularly, at face value, but allowing myself to see people with my empathetic self, does make me vulnerable. This is especially true if I then engage these people from the person they may become rather than the person they are. It isn't really fair, either, to expect people to be able to reach inside and know that other self and act accordingly. But it does lend itself pretty well to giving people the benefit of the doubt.

I don't think there is a better gift you can give anyone, friend, foe or stranger, than to allow him/her to be. Since it is difficult to not judge the behavior around you, and sometimes directed towards you, it is helpful to be able to step back and say to yourself, I wonder what is making Y act like that. Or even to go further, I wonder how Y is feeling right now.

In the overtired super brain taxed state I am in right now, I have to admit that this is harder and harder to do. As the stress takes over, it makes me narrow my gaze to the point that I can almost not see other people much less feel them.

Today, for instance, I had a rough morning with a student. It could have derailed my day as the horrible meeting did on Saturday. But I gave myself permission to feel hurt and to feel her hurt and fear and anxiety, too. It doesn't excuse her behavior or make it all right. It just opens space for both of us to have feelings, hurt or otherwise.

The universe rewarded that compassion with a free chair massage. Just what I needed really ... and then the day was much more productive than I expected, though, I am still behind and badly in need of sleep.

And perhaps these real physical needs have taken me off course, but I hope you grasp my meaning. I am claiming the talent of the silver lining, of seeing people with my heart, and of giving compassion at difficult times. Never perfectly, but still beautifully whenever it is possible.

Blessed be.

[photos are meant to show perspective, taken in Santa Fe]

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Got Community?

December 7 – Community Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

I am excited and scared to write about community. The first thought that pops into my mind is that this year has been about the failed attempts at community for me.

Of course that isn't really true.

But it has been a year of learning about the pitfalls of expectation and planning. Not unlike Disney's planned community of Celebration, many of my planned communities turned out to be exercises in what should be not what really is.

Letting go ... that earlier posting, I had to stop myself from putting in all the things I couldn't let go. Planning was one of those things.

So, planning community didn't work out so well, but it helped me to be more appreciative of the community I do have. It also made me take a step back from planning.

Some of the best communities I happened into... no plans, just happy coincidences. Sometimes, throwing caution to the wind. Trusting in the universe, particularly when it puts people in front of me.

There's the life coach looking for willing participants who just so happens to be able to connect me to various meditation communities. A sweet person who wants to engage in intelligent conversation over a drink.

Of course, there are the cadre of sbucks people who are my fellow regulars and the folks who work there. I might even become a regular at my favorite happy hour bar. Not only do I frequently meet interesting, open people there, the bartenders remember me and know what I want. It's not at all the hole in the wall kind of dive bar where you would expect to meet people... but there you have it.

Without a plan, it is community.

Then there are the online community members ... bloggers, fb friends, long lost old buddies and people I have never met before.

One community in particular, that I joined this year online, has taught me so much, even as it has brought me tears.

Community, it turns out, is every where. No need to plan and strive and feel beaten down... they will almost come to you.

For 2011, no planning, just letting community happen.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Recalling Moments of Creation

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

I was sure that there wasn't anything I had created this year, short of a bunch of academic papers -- how do you quantify the materials used for that??

But, then, a fb friend began posting some really old photos of his family today, and I realized, I had, indeed, created something this year.

For my brother's 50th birthday, back in May, I was tasked, as I generally am, with making a book for collecting memories.

First, I had to choose just the right book ... so, off to Barnes and Noble to peruse their journal type books. I wanted something sturdy and pretty but masculine enough that my brother wouldn't balk. Of course, I was also interested in something that wouldn't break my poor graduate student wallet.

Then, I went through my mother's mounds of photographs. She is terrible about putting photos into albums, but she keeps them all in the same general vicinity. I took down the huge box of photos and started my treasure hunt.

It was, as always, a ton of fun to look through photos. Since he is the oldest, I found a ton from the first few years of his life, but then they started to get more sparse. I was able, however, to piece together a fine collection that spanned his entire life, including his wife and two kids.

Next, I arranged them in the book with photo corners and did a little calligraphy on the first page and around the pictures.

My final task was to hound people at the party to write in their reflections. Some people found photos of themselves and signed it, others actually wrote stories about my brother. Having the pictures as a prompt was helpful to get people to remember funny stories... but almost everyone balked at actually writing them.

I don't know how many we got, but all in all it was a pretty good 50th birthday present.

I also scanned all the pictures before I put them in the book, so we are not losing them as part of the overall collection, and now everyone can have a copy. Since there are five of us, this is really a better way to distribute them.

The project that is waiting for me to have time is a quilt... actually there are two quilts that I want to make and am actively collecting the materials.

One is a jeans quilt. I have a ways to go before I have enough used denim, but I continue to collect and ask other people to contribute.

The other one is a t-shirt quilt. Believe it or not, the idea for these quilts came separately and they are not meant to go together, but perhaps they will end up just being one quilt... t-shirts on one side and jeans on the other. Who knows?

The t-shirt quilt is my idea for what to do with the many t-shirts I have that I don't wear, but that I don't want to give up. Some are concert t-shirts, but most of them are associated with a volunteer project or a run. I probably have enough of these t-shirts to make them, but now I just don't have the time... it will have to be done in stages. If I can decide on the size of the squares, I will go ahead and cut the t-shirts up as stage one -- next summer.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Creating Space

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

I would like to report that I have let go of many useless emotions, but I am still working on it.

I am letting go of the old agreements (see this if you do not know what I am talking about).

I am actively practicing creating the space for the new agreements ... and still struggling to convert ideas into agreements.

[Picture: portal in Santa Fe, NM]

Location:Tijeras Ave NE,Albuquerque,United States

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Cultivating Wonder

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

I would very much like to think and write about cultivating wonder in my life right now. Instead I am pondering how to release all the negative energy I allowed into my space during a nearly four hour meeting.

I think I cultivate wonder by allowing myself to be open.


It just keeps coming up.

One of my metta practice lines references allowing my whimsical, tender side to be more on view.

I love small children because their sense of wonder is so highly developed. I revel in watching them discover the world. Sometimes, I can participate by joining in their discoveries.

Turning over stones is another way I cultivate wonder. Whether real stones or metaphorical stones, there is so much to discover if you will look at the underside of things.

That's all I have for now. Wishing you all wonder and light and openness.

[Picture: found these airplanes someone left outside, I decided that they left them there so that someone would happen upon them and feel the need to play!]

Friday, December 03, 2010


December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

No one moment came to mind as I read the prompt today.

I considered going through my journal to see if there was a day that stood out, but I don't have that kind of time.

Then, I went to see a classmate's presentation about some research she has been doing on an Indian activist. As a special treat, the activist was present and gave a little speech. She blamed a recent illness and medication for her emotional response to the presentation. That is she cried.

I cried, too, as did my classmate, and I don't know how many others.

It reminded me of the best moments of this year. Those when I felt with abandon ... when I didn't hide how I felt from myself or others. This is usually accompanied by tears because tears are the hardest part of emotional release to reach for me.

Hot tears that track out of my eyes down my face as though they were little knives sharpened just for the event. And as much as they pain me, I am also always grateful for them.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Reverb - December 1's entry

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

2010 - Authentic
I think maybe this is the word I chose in 2009, but I have really been trying to live it this year.

Being authentic sometimes means recognizing who I am and how I am in the world. It is not so much changing or realigning even, rather it is loving myself just as I am.

2011 - Open
In my travels with authentic I have had to confront the pained, hurt, bruised self and all the behaviors that implies. In the acknowledgment of that self is the key to healing and moving beyond.

Open... and, therefore, hopeful.

Reverb - December 2

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

I doubt myself.

I am working on eliminating it. But, first, I am working on acknowledging it.

I doubt my worth, that what I have to say matters, that I can say it in the right way ...

I hide from that doubt because it makes me feel more incompetent and embarrassed.

I am blessed with an abundance of gifts and talents, and I want to embrace them rather than squander them.

It is a struggle everyday, particularly now that I am in graduate school.

The new mantra: I love writing, it allows me to express my gifts and talents.

Ah... baby steps, say it, first, eventually, believe it.

Blessed be.

[Picture: me, age 2. Today I will celebrate the birth of the me who believes!]

reverb and behind

So, I am a little late to the party ... so I will have to work hard to catch up and still have time to write my three papers, but I think this is useful work, so prepare for many blog posts this month.

Today's prompt:
December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

I will get back to it after class...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

ECC part 1

I know her name and her birth date. I peeked at the little bracelet that fell off my two day old niece's wrist.

I know the general geographic area where she's from.

I know she doesn't speak English or Spanish very well. I know her language is something else.

We think we know what it is, but like so much of this story, nothing is certain.

I guess we are pretty much still in the fog of the unexpected. On the one hand overjoyed at the new little bundle. On the other hand holding our collective breath that no other surprises await them or us.

I can't help but think down the road.

They were in the same room with the birth mother.

I would have asked her to just speak into the recorder in her own language. Just tell her daughter something, anything. What do you want her to know? That easy, that open-ended.

So one day when the little one is ready she will know the tremendous act of love that was on both sides of this event.

We will have unending love for her. Already she owns each of our hearts. I am sure I am not the only one who has cried for her birth mother too.

There are lots of other parenting hurdles for my brother and sister-in-law just around every corner, but for now there is a haze of disbelief and the little one's pressing needs.

There will be time for all the rest.

[Sorry the pic is so small, swiped it from my bro's fb ... and he keeps taking them with his phone.]