Monday, November 29, 2010

Clean Up on Aisle Three

When my helpers are working on someone, they will often instruct me to remove energies that are not helpful.  I then hand them to another one of my helpers under the massage table who sees that they are recycled safely.  At healing circle last night I noticed nearly every practitioner has developed a new MO - they seemed to be imitating this behavior.  Throwing things over their shoulder, or dusting their hands under the table, or flicking their fingers. I watched to see what this was and what happened to it once they did this.  

Most people were intuitively removing dense, intrusive, unwanted and dark energies.  A few however were removing nothing - were just mimicking.  One was actually removing some of the awesome energy being provided to the person on the table.  YIKES!  (My peeps simply set up a tube to catch this and put it back in the person).  I was actually impressed by how much of the oogey stuff the group collectively removed.  ::mucho applause::

The problem here is that they were removing it, but no one knew what to do with it once they had.  They simply flung it away from themselves.  No one was cleaning this crud up.  I watched as a bit of it puddled like oil on the yellowy beige carpet and then sunk into it and disappeared. What kind of way was that to thank Patricia for hosting this, by combing out the oogies and leaving them all over her floor?  It was like watching a baby feed itself for the first time as this shit ended up splattered on the walls and floors or worse, flicked onto another practitioner.  I watched as someone unknowingly did this and the recipient actually flinched slightly when it hit them.  I mean who wouldn't if they were suddenly hit with someone else's crud out of the blue?  DOUBLE YIKES!

Alarmingly some of the nastiness simply snaked its way back up the table legs and back into the person it came from - negating its removal at all.  I started to get a little pissed off at all this irresponsibility.  Like cartoon bull snorting steam kinda pissed off.  

I got a little tap on the shoulder right then from one of the peeps who seemed to think I should do something about this.  OK OK OK.  Thankfully it was followed by a tug on my pant leg.  I looked down to find Dobby (Yes the house elf from HP) who offered to clean it up as we went and help dispose of it properly.  Thank you for this generosity.

On my way home my peeps and I had a talk and they think this is a great opportunity to talk about the safe disposal of negative energies to the circle.  They even suggested creating a place for it to go for the entire group.  I love smartness. 

Healing Community

I have been part of a communal Reiki healing group for the last eight or nine years.  You would think I might remember the exact date, but I don't.  It is part of what I coaxed out of the ashes that were my life at that point.  While most of the people who were attending when I started, or who trained with me have drifted away from it, I keep coming back.  I wonder why that is?  

If you ask my astrologer, she would laugh and tell you of course I want a community - my south node is in Aquarius which is all about community.  It is what is familiar, what I know already.  But the challenge for this life is in my Leonine north node - stepping out and being seen. ::shudder:: Yup that's a hard one.  

I found friendship at a time when I needed it.  Friends who shared my interest in things mystical and inexplicable.  As I look about me today - most of my close friends have come to me thru this group either directly or in that friend of a friend kinda way.  The ones who haven't, came to me thru the other great love of my life - science.  ::insert secret science nerd salutation here::

I meet myself there in the small circle.  What I get out of any particular evening is often related to what I bring in.   But generally I leave feeling a lot better than when I arrived.  And on the odd night that I don't, I get a chance to practice compassion.

I get a chance to practice lots of things that I am not very skilled at - primary among these is boundaries and self-protection.  The group shifts from month to month as far as who is there.  Some I relate to more easily, while others are just gritting-my-teeth hard for me.   It is the perfect environment in which to experiment with how to keep the oogies off of me.  

For a long time, I hoped that the group would evolve into something different - something (to my way of thinking) higher, better, faster, stronger.   For a while I tried to push the evolution in the direction that I wanted rather than let it unfold organically and just be whatever it was going to be.  When I was unsuccessful I got angry and resentful at the members who seemed to stand in my way and stopped going.  All because I couldn't control it.  Couldn't have my way.  OMG - I have to laugh at that childishness now.  But not too loudly because I still struggle with reconciling the vision of what the group could be v what the group is.  These days I try to hold that 'what it could be' in my heart in a soft focused kinda way while I just enjoy what it is right now.  

I have accepted that this is a place of beginnings - just like it was for me.  There is a certain energy to beginnings that I like, a certain new baby love for them. Maybe that is what keeps me coming back.

Maybe I simply return to honor the gifts that I receive there.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Different Orbits

We walk back to the car pausing to stare up at a clear November sky made for dreaming.  His arm riding lightly around my shoulders, mine about his waist.  We have been disagreeing, but have called a momentary truce to witness such an evening.  This silence feels a balm after that contentiousness. 

He offers to give me the moon as if he is the earthly successor to George Bailey himself.  As if I couldn’t get the moon for my own damn self if I wanted it.  I know it is a gesture on his part of what he is willing to give me.  But the moon – really? 

I am a woman.  I was born with the moon in my pocket.  She has been my confidant since conception. She has followed me since I was born watching, waiting.  Eager for me always like a lover.  Every month we have danced together, she and I, as sisters, naked to the drums – faster and faster until the blood comes.  The very celebration of blood that creates the world instead of destroying it.  Give me the moon?  Why would you offer to give me something I so clearly possess already?  Besides, you can’t give me something you have no idea how to wrangle.  And it is plenty clear that you understand neither of us. 

And so I ask, Why do you not offer me the sun?  

He looks puzzled as if that line has always gotten him laid in the past and that I am the first to question it.  I stand waiting for his answer which comes in the form of spread hands and shrugged shoulders.  A look so pathetically cute, that I throw him a bone instead of blowing his hair back.  The evening has seen enough fighting.  Instead I sigh and try to explain.   

I don’t want to be the moon to your sun.  That is the old way – the way that we have been for two thousand years – the way that doesn’t work.  I don’t want to be the one who shines no light of her own, the one who simply reflects your greatness back to you. 

He looks confused, I sense he isn’t following the metaphor. 

I don’t want to be relegated to being the moon stuck in orbit to your sun.  I want to be my own sun and moon.  To make my own light. To reflect back all the wonderful things I see in the world including you.  I want to be my own solar system, my own galaxy, a cosmos entire unto itself.

Now he just looks tired, a look I have seen many times.  His tiredness becoming a shield against any further discussion.  The end is coming.  We both sense it.  So we both go back to contemplating the moon each in our own world, thoughts incomprehensible to the other.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Evening 2AM First Snow

Just like that winter has crept in and laid a blanket of snow on my world inciting me to curl up and go to sleep.  It came at the end of a day busy with family and was preceded by gale force winds so that when I stepped outside a moment ago, I was genuinely surprised by the unexpectedness of quiet and snow.  It will be gone by tomorrow when the shoppers swarm out for Black Friday.  They will have missed it, opting instead for early bed so as to make the early alarm.  I am content to be awake, to simply be in this moment right now.  

Ward Cleaver - GO HOME!

I was talking to a friend recently and trying to describe the kinds of men I was meeting through online dating. First of all the age thing. At 49, I am hoping to meet someone close to my age give or take 5 years. However, the men my age generally want someone in their 20's or 30's and the ones who want to meet me are 10-15 years my senior. I don't understand that AT ALL. Why would you want to be with someone you have nothing in common with? I have no inherent problem with either of those, it's just that a man who is in his 60's grew up in a different era and is looking for someone who is clearly not this girl. Making sweeping generalizations here:

1) They are sometimes technophobic. I don't know how they even get online to look for dates they are so awful at it. They are marginal at the art of email. And texting - they don't do that! WTF!?! I channel my inner 19 year old diva . I love texting.

2) They LOVE to talk on the phone. Grrrrrr......I hate the phone except for its lovely ability to text. I think this one is more me than them. But I especially struggle trying to talk to someone on the phone that I have never met in person. And I certainly don't want to talk to you for hours every day if I have never met you or even if I have met you and we are dating. I have a life and other things to do.  I have met a guy or two who was such a great conversationalist that an hour or two flew by while we talked, but that is a rarity.  

3) They are kinda boring. Were they not encouraged to have hobbies? No TV watching does not count as a hobby. I dunno. In that regard I find them generally snor-ey. When I ask you for some ideas about what to do, you should be able to have at least one.  Also, YOU are not so interesting of a topic as to occupy an entire evening's conversation.  Trust me on this one.

4) They don't know who they are. Not really. They know nothing about what makes them tick. Nor are they interested in looking. Nope they want to skate through without ever giving it a thought. This is just unacceptable to me. How do you build a relationship with someone if you have no awareness of your own junk?

5) They want the whole 1950's life they grew up with on TV. June Cleaver in the kitchen or cleaning in her impossibly small waisted dress, CFM heels and pearls while Ward sits on the couch watching TV and sipping on the perfect scotch rocks with his feet up. It's as if they missed the whole sexual revolution and women's movement. This is the same guy who will go on and on about how he could never respect a woman he could sleep with on the first date who will then proceed to push for exactly that! And when you point out the absolute hypocrisy of their words and their actions they will shrug and say "I'm a guy" as if this will make it all understandable.

After that, I so understand why women become cougars.

NB - If you are a dude reading this, don't get your knickers in a bunch.  I do know some amazing men who are not like this. Thank God. You guys give me hope that there maybe a few available still.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter Windows

Every winter I go through the same thing.  My apartment has ginormous windows and high ceilings which make me dance in sunbeams during the spring, summer and fall.  The windows, so lovely in those seasons, become my enemy during the winter.  The 1960's crap-ass replacement windows leak and let out my heat.  And my puritanical self won't allow the thermostat to creep above 67-68' cuz it understands all too well what that translates to when the Duke bill comes.

So what's a freezing magnolia to do?  I thought for a second about heavy insulating curtains.  ZOIKES!  During the season of limited light, how could I do something to the windows that would result in basically no light?  There would be no dancing behind them in the dark winter shadows those would create.  I may hate cold, but a true magnolia loves her light more than she hates cold.  I tried the 3M shrink wrap my first winter.  But come spring there was no way to get it off so I could enjoy the breezes without destroying the painted sills.  Uh-oh!  The second winter I closed off the spare oom which is the smallest, but has the most window/wall space.   That was a big mistake.  It threw off the feng shui of the whole place and I can't remember a winter worse than that one for blah-ness.  

Last winter I discovered something useful on eco-green insulation.  I am all for that.  Bonus the materials were cheap.  The installation was easy and reuseable year after year.  YAY!  What is this mystery window treatment you ask?  Why it is bubble wrap.  LOL.  You read that right.  You simply wet the window with a sponge and apply the bubble wrap to the window with the bubbles toward the window.  I firmed the whole thing up with a bit of tape.  Big bubbles work best - yunno the quarter size ones that sound like a shotgun v the smaller ones that sound like firecrackers.  You bubble popping addicts know what I mean here.  I did one 8' X 4' and one 6' X 4' windows in about an hour.  

In the end, it doesn't look very pretty from the outside, but it does let in light and it snugs a room up right quick without destroying the paint job or taking hours and blowing up a perfectly good hair dryer.  

A Sorting Hat

Doesn't Daniel Radcliffe look so sweet in this photo?  

Anyway......where was I before I skittered off the track?  Oh yeah - the sorting hat.  I was standing in line Friday night, opening night, for HP Deathly Hallows Pt1 with my friend Patricia.  Or maybe she has nipped over to Dewey's for pizza while she waits?  Dunno.  Anyway I am people watching which is all one can do in this situation.  Trying not to overhear loud cell phone conversations or personal discussions going on in the adjacent space to me.  Trying to carve out a little space that is mine and erect imaginary walls to those meaningless rants and drivel.  It's a crab thing - this need for space.  Sue me.  

Anyway, there is a 20 something couple standing in front of us - tall, beautiful and giving off little wafts of such sweet energy that I just want to hug them.  Maybe because I am standing in line for HP, maybe because folks are dressed in their house colors, maybe because I have been giving Patricia shit for not wearing the Slytherin scarf she has - probably all those things - I suddenly want to sort the people in line into their respective houses while they wait.  (Which. in retrospect, would have been a very entertaining marketing tool to allow people to sit on a stool and be sorted).  The couple in front of me a - he is a Hufflepuff and a she is a Gryffindor.  And just like that I am off and intuitively sorting them in my head.  

As much as I would like to be a Gryffindor, I know I am a Ravenclaw (or maybe something in between - a Ravendor a Gryffinclaw??), Mizz Patricia is a Slytherin by her choice and on up the line 2 Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Gryffindor, etc.  It was quite a pleasant diversion to standing in line for an hour (I hate that!!).  

Oh I put no stock in this diversion because, like Dumbledore says, "I sometimes think we sort too soon."  Or that we should be sorted at all really.  What if we were free to choose our house from year to year.  Sample what each house has to offer and THEN choose the path?  Or create a path that is a combination of all houses?  

Anyway that is how I entertained myself for an hour.  BTW - I think I will stick with this hat.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

A J Among P's

So it's been two weeks since I walked out of the lab that had been my home for 24 years. I can't say I am homesick for it although I do miss the intellectual-ness of being among the nerd herd. Miss the challenge to stretch and grow my brain trying to figure stuff out. Yeah - there's lots of stuff in my life to figure out, but little of it follows the rules the way science does. Those things are more emotional/spiritual and don't respond well AT ALL to reason. In fact, thinking about any of it for too long rarely yields a blinding insight into any of it. What it does is create excellent migraines.

There is a certain satisfaction in figuring stuff out for me. I am a classic J in that regard. Yunno Meyers-Briggs kinda thing. I am an INFJ. That last means judger (J) v perceiver (P). A judger likes rules and order, likes to have plans and know what's coming. And this part of my life is all full of directionless P-ness. ZOIKES! There is no order and very little in the way of planning, all of which causes me a bit of angst. The perceiver likes to examine all their options, likes to leave things open and just see what happens. That sounds a Mary unfriedly place to me.

I was OK last week, when there was the trip to VA to plan, details to clean up, actual cleaning up that needed doing. This week has felt all full of P. And I find that I have floated through an entire week without doing anything. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact a certain amount of nothingness is good. But I know me and know how a bit of nothingness can easily turn into 6 months of it. And I am not gonna have that.

I was listening to some beautiful gong-y music this morning from my friend Fabeku when it kinda settled in like a warm blanket. Yes this place is P to the extreme. But it doesn't have to stay that way. I can choose to carve a bit of order from the day rather than let it all just float around me. That the rules and scheduling that have mostly been provided by the presence of a job can be brought in and created - BY ME! I hate rules and scheduling, but somehow I need to have those to bump up against to feel comfortable.

Maybe I will learn to be a bit more P for having this experience, but for now a bit of self-imposed schedule seems in order.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Catching Courage

Fast write from the prompt 'Women catch courage from other women'......

Interesting thought that. I think of things contagious as mostly negative. The flu is contagious. So is a bad mood. Fear and hate - absolutely. Why not contagious courage? Contagious laughter? I have definitely seen the latter at Laughter Yoga where the laughing starts out forced and awkward but shifts more and more toward deep conscious laughter originating from the belly.

If courageousness were contagious would it start in that same awkward way? The same sense of 'I can't do that because everyone is watching me' followed by 'Oh wait. They're all being courageous too, so they probably won't notice me.' So it feels safe to take a step in that direction. Step by step until we each step into that place of personal courage - the place where stories are written and shared without consciousness of self. The place of WHAT THE FUCK where writers thrive. I do believe that is exactly what happens here [at WWfaC].

It has happened to me many times - that leap or tiny step into the place of fearlessness. And what seems like courage when I finally get there is really just being me and nothing more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crabs in a Bucket

It's been a crab bucket kinda day. 
Yunno what I mean? 
One where no matter how hard I try 
to gain purchase and climb outta the funk 
there is always someone or something 
grabbing at my ankle to yank me back down?

I try to shake it off, 
but the grip is too strong.  
Down I go back into the writhing 
sea of claws and shell.  

    I rest.  And then I try again. 

Evolution of a Call

I got a phone call this afternoon.

A couple years ago,
that phone call would have
made my heart race, my palms
get clammy and my stomach 
launch a flock of butterflies.
I loved the way that felt then.

A year ago
when the calls stopped coming
the silence sliced my heart 
and the butterflies died.

Six months ago, I would not
have taken the call.

Today I took it
Waiting for butterflies
or knives
and found neither came.
I waited for the tears
they didnt come either.  

It was as if a stranger called.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Scaling New Heights

Some of you know that I am deathly afraid of heights.  Even watching someone I care about scamper up an escarpment or walk too close to the edge is enough to make me weak-kneed enough to have to sit down.   Trips to the Badlands, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Royal Gorge, Tintagel Castle.  Each of these have challenged me.  But I am stubborn enough that I try it anyway even though it feels like doing so is going to give me heart failure.  

I have been trying to conquer that, but it is slow going.

When I passed this cool old train trestle I made note of it in my mind so I could come back and walk across it.  I absolutely was going to do that.  By the time I got back to it, my internal fear monger had tried its best to make me choose not to.  This is how things often play out.  I want to try something, but the fear monger shows me possibility after possibility of certain embarrassment or death as a result.  What if there is no hand railing?  It kept asking.  Then showing me a picture of me stumbling and tumbling over the edge.  I admit I have balance issues.  I once fell into a garbage can at work when I turned around too fast and lost my footing.  That does lend a certain air of credulity to his view of possibilities.  

But I could feel something rise up in rebellion against this view of myself as clumsy.  I said NO.  I don't acknowledge your world view to the monger.  Handrails?  I don't care.  Openings between the rail ties so that you can see the ground?  I don't care.  Possibility of meeting a train?  I don't care.  Falling off?  I don't care.  I AM DOING IT.  

And so I did.  

Of course it had a hand rail - you can see it in the photo......but you can also see me in the photo waving to the cowed fear monger.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Steele Creek Park Bristol, VA 11/10

I was in this park on Friday to snag a letterbox, went back to the hotel and found there was another one there.  Such is letterboxing with reams of printed clues - there are always a few that get shuffled out of place.  The park was so beautiful, that a second trip was no hardship.  

So at 9AM on Sunday I found myself back in this little gem of a park.  It is one of the most photogenic parks I have ever seen with the slow moving wide creek sandwiched between two steep valley walls.  The perfect stillness of the water made for some stunning reflections.  So I grabbed my camera and tried to capture the tiny spots of color that remained.  

As I walked down the dewy ridge, focusing on my feet on the steep hill so that I didn't wind up on my ass, I was startled a bit by a sound overhead that sounded like someone breaking down cardboard boxes.  I tried to think of a more lyrical description, but that is what it sounded like.  When I looked up, I saw a small flock of geese about five feet over my head.  Some rocking sharply right to left.  I couldn't even be disappointed that they rippled the still reflective surface upon landing.  This was morning joy.  

The water calmed.  I snapped some photos.  An old female grey goose honked stridently as I neared her, the sound bouncing off the opposing valley wall.  I stopped moving toward her so as not to annoy her any further (mad geese are not very nice and prone to bite).  She stopped honking.  Then I heard them answer at first far away but growing closer.  More geese flying in.  Greeted by massive honking from those already floating the lake.  

The geese grew restful once more, the lake resumed its stillness.  More photos ensued.  Then the old female started her braying honking again.  None of the others - just her.  A group of two or three geese flew in answering as they came.  This cycle repeated many times while I sat there.  The old female acting as a major domo to announce the incoming guests.  The guests calling out greetings as they flew in.  Then all the geese on the lake entering in a rousing chorus of honking their Hellos.  They arrived in small groups of twos and threes and in large flying V groups from a general northerly direction.  All were greeted equally.  

Some groups flew in elegantly and looped to make their graceful landing.  Some groups made the ruffling noise that had caught my attention at the beginning.  As far as I can tell it was caused by the quick shifts from right to left.  This seemed to slow them down.  So perhaps the older geese knew better how much speed to carry into the perfect landing, while the younger geese with their need for speed had to make the right-left-right adjustments to take off speed so as not to plow into the water.  

I was glad to have the time today to spend there just watching and for being part of their morning ritual.  The old goose that made the announcements never did honk at me, nor did she chase me away like geese will sometimes do.  She recognized I was not one of them, but she allowed me to stay anyway.  It was a beautiful way to spend a Sunday morning in communion with the geese.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Goldie Magnola Dye

Let me start by saying I am not a proficient liar.  I tend to stammer and look guiltier than a 4 year old caught with their hand in the cookie jar.  But maybe, just maybe, I am getting better at it.  Not that I think that a good thing.  

Today I spent the day tooling thru windy roads looking for tiny little churches and of course Tupperware.  Most of these were easy enough to acquire, but a few required uber-stealth mode.  Unlike suburbanites or hardened urban folks who have taught themselves to see nothing, people in the country are innately suspicious of people lurking and diving into the shrubs which any good letterboxer worth their weight is prone to do.  I missed at least 2 boxes for this reason - people watching me a little too closely.  And had one near miss.  A beautiful little white clapboard church in the valley outside Abingdon, VA.  

I sat in my car reading the clue so I could at least leave that behind.  The box in question was located right next to the front door.  The problem here was that the front door was only about 10 feet from a fairly busy intersection.  So I was having problems timing the retrieval so that there were no cars to see me.  I did eventually nab it.  Stamped in in my car and was just stuffing all the guts back in it, when I saw a frail little woman headed purposefully in my direction.  Great.  How was I to get the box back where it goes without her seeing me?

She was very polite and asked if she could help me.  I told her that I was touring the area looking at little old churches  and I just wanted to photograph the church because it was so beautiful.  I talked about the steeple, the rolled tin green roof and the way it sat against the blue sky.  All the while I am wishing she would go away so I could re-plant the dang box and get on with it.  She seemed satisfied with my overt lies.  Maybe I overdid it a bit because then she asked if I wanted to see the inside.  Uh-oh!  Here was the price I was gonna pay for the lies.  I said 'Of course'.  And off she went into her house NEXT DOOR to get the keys.  While she was gone I stashed the box where it belongs while sitting on the step in front.  Then I used the age-old letterboxer's ploy of pretending to tie my already tied shoe.  That is how she found me when she returned.  Sitting and seemingly tying my shoe.  

She gave me the grand tour of this tiny little church that was quite unremarkable on the inside, despite its lovely exterior.  I feel like a complete poser in most places of Christian worship given that I no longer believe in that.  And now - a lying poser on top of it.  The kind of person who would lie to an old lady no less.  Oh it got worse.  I wish I could say that I didn't think 'Shut up already, so I can go', but I absolutely thought that.  Then something weird happened.  I stopped shifting from foot to foot.  Stopped thinking about my own agenda and the daylight that was rapidly waning and the boxes I would have to tick off my list because of this delay and I started really listening to her - being present to this woman as she told me, a complete stranger, her story.  

So that is how I came to meet one Goldie Magnola Dye of Greendale, VA.  I learned that she took care of the church and did indeed live next door.  Had lived next door for over 50 years.  That her name came from her grandmother who died shortly after she was born.  That she had seven children - one of whom died at 13.  That she had been a widow for over 30 years.  And that her husband had worked in Winchester, KY.  (This after astutely guessing I was from Kentucky - even though I am sans twang).  At 91, she still cleaned out the church.  Her son helped her out with the raking and mowing.  And that the rusted car in her yard with the tarp over it belonged to him.  

When I took the time to truly listen to her, I found I liked her.  This courageous lady who fiercely confronted strangers lurking near her church.  The last room on our tour was far and away the best.  This room was full of potted plants of all sorts - shamrocks, begonias, a few tired looking geraniums, Christmas cacti, even a few leggy poinsettas blooming in mid-November.  We talked about shamrocks and people we knew from Ireland.   This was her room.  Goldie fingering each plant, turning some, pinching off some dead leaves from others.  Soft, filtered light caught her at this task and I wanted so to take her picture because she was so beautiful standing there among her flowers in that moment.  Like a Vermeer.  But it seemed too rude to do to someone I knew.  I could lie to the stranger, but Goldie deserved to be asked.  

I did ask if I could take her picture (I will post that on here when I get home) and she seemed shocked that I would want to, but agreed.  It is not the candid picture I wanted, but I am glad to have it because it reminds me that everyone's story needs to be heard.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Apparently I came back from mid-December to post the last one!

I am the face of unemployment.  It is happening to people you know or maybe to you.  We are not lazy or unable or unwilling to work.  Despite busting hump we have seen our jobs evaporate from under us.  I tried to find another job, but no offers came.  And the salaries of those positions were anywhere from 60 to 75% of what I am making.....was making.  

Mostly today I just feel lucky.  Lucky because I didn't have to immediately take another job just to have health insurance and to pay the bills.  But it might have been me.  Might still be me in 6 months.  Although I am not intending for it to go that way.  But I have a new perspective and a new understanding of how it happens out of the blue and without any provocation.  

I will be more empathetic for having this experience.  

Monday, November 8, 2010


My first official day of unemployment.  I will admit I slept later than usual. Although I might claim the last couple were spent in deep discussion with my Peeps around my NaNoWriMo project.  The next chapter clearly unfolded.  TY

I told myself these first few weeks would be about intense self-care.  I would just let my body find its own rhythm and I would follow that instead of always folding it into a different scripted agenda every day.  That I would not force busyness just to seem productive.  That staring at navel lint would be OK for once.  

But not forever.  I know that prolonged stillness for me can lead to stasis.  I'm not gonna go there.  

So I am off to shop for groceries.  Staying home means there will need to be more food - and my body says food of a different kind -food that involves actual cooking.  So we'll see how this goes.  Having just cleaned out the tea cupboard I can confidently say THERE WILL BE NO TEA BUYING - yet.  At least not until there is room for it.  And no more jasmine green - although it makes my heart do happy cartwheels there are 5 containers of happy heart cartwheelin tea in there already.  So this could be fun, to shop both practically and intuitively.  We'll see what happens.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Day After THE DAY.

Thru my Polyanna specs I was pretty sure Friday was gonna be the worst day - all that good-byeing and stuff.  I just kept telling myself that if I could make it thru THAT day the rest would be easy.  I probably should have known better.  Those damn glasses are worse than comic book X-ray specs for not delivering what they promise.  They did serve to get me to and through Friday.  

But the sun came up yesterday and I stayed in bed and slept.  I got up, ate a bite and went back to bed.  By noon, I knew I needed out or I would just fetal position the whole day away.  I called my mom and took her and her dog Pumpkin for a drive.  I know I mutter about her a lot, but some days she gets it right.  And thankfully this was one of those days.  We had a great day roaming thru Clermont County and ended up at East Fork Lake.  The three of us walking unhurriedly down to the empty beach where Pumpkin alone braved getting her feet wet.  It was just an afternoon of easy grace for all of us.  And one I will remember for its timbre even if I forget the exact circumstances that brought us there.  

Today kinda feels the same.  Like I could curl back up in bed and pull the blankets up until it's dark and cave-ish outside like it is inside.  I don't think that would serve any purpose though.  So today I am up and moving about.  Catching up on things that I have let go the last couple weeks, telling myself that I will have plenty of time to do that after Friday.  Writing, laundry, a football game a little later (hey, I'm sad not DEAD), dinner and Frankenstein with friends.  None of those things feeling like anything I want to do.  But I am hopeful that if I do them other moments like that at East Fork will emerge.  And when I string a few of those together I will suddenly find myself in joy again.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Please Pass the Kleenex

Been a rough day kiddies.  A whole day of the dreaded good-bye saying.  Leaving behind me a wake of wadded up tissues.

A research lab is a lot like planet Vulcan (sans the pointy ears).  All cool logic.  Deliberately devoid of emotion.  Touching is verboten.  And there is definitely no crying in research.  

I broke all those rules today.  Hugged everyone.  Cried like a newly minted Miss America. 

Last week I sent a letter to the division letting them know I was leaving, telling them how much I appreciated having been one of them for the last 24 years and inviting them to stop by and say good-bye before I left.  To my knowledge not one single person has ever done that.  I don't know why.  Then I began looking at the responses I got.  Not judging who or why.  Just objectively interested in seeing the results of that little social experiment.  Of the 200 or so employees in my division, my final count was: 

9 faculty members came down or stopped me in the hallway.  FYI - 3 of those were NOT part of my division but they used to be.  Thats 6 of the roughly 2 dozen current faculty members.  It did not include my division head although he has seen me numerous times over the last few days.  

5-6 research staff - that included one woman I recognized but whose name I didn't even know (Yes, I am guilty as charged Mr. Spock).

Most of the people who gave me condolences were not part of my division, but speak to my years there and how, even unknowingly, I have built a lot of bridges just by taking time to speak to them.  Dozens of sales reps, service techs, delivery people, food service, housekeeping, secretaries and misc other hospital employees who are not part of research except tangentially.  Special props to Pete who soundly hugged me when I ran into him in the Credit Union this morning and broke the seal on the No Touching rule.  I have known Pete since I started there.  He works in Vet Services and has from time to time been responsible for my mice.  In fact, lots of these people hugged me.  An incredible number of them have also been helpful in trying to locate new employment.  

The social experiment played out what I already knew.  That scientists, in general, suck at things emotional.  They may be brilliant and phenomenal researchers, but they lack some basic social grace.  There is no judgement in me for how they act, how I have acted myself.  Well....except my division head.  That seemed really inexcuseable - that someone who had given 24 years of their life toward building your division didn't even deserve a nod or a handshake.  

As of today I now one of the 9.6% of the population living the American Dream of unemployment.  I am luckier than most, I have a built in cushion.  When I go back to work, and I will, I will remember this little experiment and try to bring a little bit of humanity back to those who sorely need it.  

Live long and prosper.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin - Part II

All my relations,

Remember me, Mary?  That speck of dust down here on planet Earth.  No not that one - that's Jennifer Anniston.  The one just to the left of that - darker hair, a bit more girth, less leggy, nerd girl, less well-paid, located a couple mountain ranges away?  Yeah - THAT speck.  


I could use some help this week.  I don't feel bad right now.  I don't anticipate feeling bad.  But it would be nice to know that you're back there just in case I make an unexpected run for the cliff.  That isn't my intention, but I can feel it lurking. Circling.  Looking for the weak entry point.  

To those helping me hold the shield against that - Thank you.

To the Grandfathers who are helping me see my vision there on the mountain top - Thank you.

To the Grandmothers who may just let me jump - Thank you.  

If I do jump, all I ask is that you please remind me to use the wings you gave me.  

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin....All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer....
To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.
To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.
To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.
To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.
To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.
To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages, I thank you.
To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.
You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.
Thank you for this Life.

This is a Lakota Prayer/song and it pretty much sums up how I feel today such that anything I would write would detract.  

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