Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Venn Diagram Experiment

My friend and fellow co-writer goddess Laurie wrote a poem in the form of a Venn Diagram.  I love some good Venn.  For those of you who perhaps don't remember high school math, here is a picture.  In her piece LL grooved on what she wanted v what she got as circles A and B respectively with much overlappage.  MUCH discussion ensued over this piece.  My knee jerk reaction was both love it and hate it at the same time.  Shit like that is like a puzzle for me to decipher.

When I first tried to imagine the "What I Wanted" circle v the "What I Got" circle, they are non-overlapping circles.  As a child and young adult, what I wanted most was to be normal.  I had not yet attained my adult understanding of just how boring 'normal' is.  Pretty sure hell is full of normal sameness. I wanted to stop being afraid.  I wanted not to have to hide.  I wanted just one person to see and love me just like I was.  I wanted safety.

In the "What I Got" circle was none of that.

As long as I looked for someone else to provide me with the things in my A circle, those circles remained stubbornly aloof from one another.  As I learned to be my own best friend, my own advocate, my own safety net, my own lover and boon companion, those circles began to dance slowly toward each other until they were nearly coincident.  As I saw that, I became aware how very much of my attention had been focused on the little sliver moon of A that I had yet to attain, instead of on the wealth of things in the 'both A & B' part.  I like both/and.  I am grateful to LL and for the overlap.  My focus is better served there.

So in response to this poem, I wrote the following love letter to myself.


 you for your intergalactic hominess.
 you for your ability to find beauty in unexpected places.
 you for your mountain switchback operating system
 you for your softness that invites other beings to call you home.
 you because you love rain.
 you for your capacity to step through the doorway of a book and be there.
 you for your patience.
 you for the way you accept the teeter totter of duality, occupying both seats and neither.
 you for your unwavering loyalty.
 you for your appreciation of silence.
 you for your ability to fly solo.
 you for your love of snug friendships
 you for your round belly that gives birth to the world.
 you for the way you wrangle words or let them flow trusting where they lead.
 your nerdiness
 you for your belief that everything will work out OK.  
 your belief in superheroes and that they exist within each of us.
 you for your ability to calm.  You are a people whisperer.  

I just  you.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Looking for My Buoyant Place

I have been trying to keep my head above water these last few weeks, things with my mom, things at work. It seems the only "me" time I get some weeks is when I close my eyes to sleep and the random Sunday morning writing time at the Dawg. I am trying to be patient and compassionate toward all the players, myself included. Succeeding more often than I fail, so counting that a success.

No part of either of these situations is within my control to change. Nor are they situations that I am able to distance myself from. So the best course of action seems acceptance and a sort of detachment from the angst bits. I know that is sometimes seen as the weaker choice by our Western culture the same way that love is seen as a sort of weaker stance, but I'm pretty sure that bit of conditioning is wrong.

It's much easier to explode your anger out onto someone, to misdirect your own crap, to blame, to hate. Much, much easier. It's so much harder to hold onto it for a moment, objectively examine it and determine how much of this is really just your shit showing.

"Umm. Excuse me. Your shit's showing"

Gawd knows I have certainly been that volatile angry person, just ask my little brother who was my favorite target growing up. But the thing is, that the exploding bouts of anger didn't make me feel any better. Instead they simply made me feel guilty or childish and kinda ashamed.

The shift from angry bitch to calmness began with my studies of energetic work, like Reiki. It's an ongoing process and I learn something new every day. There is always a deeper level and like a Galilean thermometer we each find our own place of buoyancy. I know my little glass bauble is still sinking as I haven't found my point yet. 

The best part is the more I try, the easier it gets. So what's the magic formula for this. Dunno exactly. Probably different for you than me. But the following things have certainly helped me:
It all starts with want to. You have to want things to be different. You have to put your energy into it. A big dose of patience never hurt either. The changes I am talking about have evolved over the last 12 years.

Reading about the very real and deleterious effects of stress (and what is anger really, but really amped up stress in a blender) and bad diet on the human body. Holeee fuck that's a hot mess of no-way-do-I-want-that. Stress, cortisol, weight gain, stress on the heart and brain. The more I read, the more determined I became to learn to leash the beast.

I began to look into a number of homeopathic types of healing. (Although healing here is clearly the wrong word for me.) First among these was Reiki, a Japanese type of energy work. One of the practices of this type of work is to say, to ponder and to try to emulate the Reiki Prinicples daily.  I said them even when I was pretty sure I would fail. I said them 3-4 times a day. The thing that made it easier to believe was that "Just for today" thought. I mean I can do anything for just one day. It's not like I'm saying I will do this forever. Just one stinkin day. I can do that.

The weird thing is that they began to stick like good affirmations always do (or bad ones). I began to recognize the stages of my body in anger or stress. And I began to intervene in the process before I reached DEFCON5 and blew someone's hair back. I learned to step away from the thing annoying or stressing me. Step out either physically or mentally. Distance is good. Take a half a dozen really deep breaths. I imagine letting the beast out with my breath instead of my tongue. (For a really spectacular and completely non-woowoo way to do this check out my friend Fabeku's Don't Lose Your Shit Kit. Bonus: It's funny as hell). I could go into the physiology of what this does to calm your body, but really??? who would be awake by the end of that.

Once I was a little calmer, science chica stepped in and began to analyze the situation. Since not all of you have one of these, I might encourage you to get one. We're certainly cheap enough, especially in the current economy. Science chica is objective. Objective as in unswayable by my whining and one-sided view point. She analyzes the data from every side without a shred of emotional attachment and constructs hypothesis based on these data. She doesn't sugar coat it. When I am wrong she tells me so. When I try to make one person responsible for the world's crap or my own ills, she steps in and say "Don't think so". I could mow her over and just proceed with my crap, but I have learned she is often right and that if I listen I feel better about how unpleasant situations play out. Once I gave her that latitude, it was all kinda easy after that. She now steps in and stops me as soon as I try to shift blame or circle up all the shit wagons into one big train. Don't tell her, but I seriously love her for doing that. I might get her a tie-dyed lab coat just for shits and giggles.

The latest piece came in with studying lots of alternative medicine and beginning to understand the place where these thoughts and quantum physics are starting to talk the same language. Realizing my life is lived on a StarTrek holodeck and I am the one with the key. If I focus on what's wrong, seems that's all I see - as if the holodeck has interpreted my thoughts for what I want. If I can turn my focus back toward something else, it often rewards me with it. This took a lot of practice. Much of our society is set up to reinforce negativity. I find this sad and ironic that we are good at making it someone else's fault, or wholly our own fault. We are terrible at objectively seeing which pieces of crap are ours and which are not.  I invite you to change that.  To find a buoyant density that is all your own.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Moose Magic

Moose magics are still in play a week later.

I have been trying to hold  a place that allows for unexpectedness and joy.

Guess what??

It's working!

Spectacular writing small group on Saturday with all my favorite players.

My mom has evened out again.

And lastly......and most importantly.  I reconnected quite by accident with a very dear friend.  I had almost convinced myself that it wasn't going to happen, that we would just keep promising each other out on FB to get together soon.  That we would just keep on fooling ourselves with the politeness of people who used to be friends.  Turns out that was silly thinking.  I kinda knew that, but those thoughts were starting to win out.

Today, while I was at my favorite hangout I unexpectedly ran into two of my favorite people, including my friend who has been kinda MIA from my life for the past year.  How I have missed her.  How very happy I am to have seen her.

THAT is the power of moose made real.  Unexpected and full of joy.

A girl could get used to this.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dealing With It

Somedays are good
Others loop hopelessly inward
a dog chained 
to a post in the yard

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blog-ey Bits Backlog

Just got back from a few much needed days away from home.  There's a pile of laundry that I can smell from here.  My DVR is full of shit that I know I won't watch.  My head feels kinda the same way.  Not one shred of writing in a week makes me feel cranially constipated.

There's a lot going on around me right now.  Sometimes that stuff creeps in and feels more important, more MINE, than it really is.  Getting away reminded me that I am not responsible for that stuff, that the majority of it is created by other folks, and that by supporting it I give it wings that it doesn't deserve.

Nature is a great reminder of just where my own personal boundaries need to be.  I am not responsible for anyone other than me out there.  Or here either.  If that sounds selfish, then so be it.  It's a good selfish.  The kind more of us should indulge in.

Every year about this time I take off with my younger brother for a few days.  This year we returned to Maine.  Our goals were simple and twofold:

 1)  To stand at the easternmost point of the US.


  2)  To see moose in the wild.

Getting to West Quoddy Head was the easier of the two.  You just need a car, a map and a willingness to haul ass for hours.  I don't know what the appeal of this place is.  Maybe it's the cute candy cane of a light house there.  Maybe it's about something less tangible.  There's something about standing at the edge of the world, or a cliff or a country, about butting yourself right up against the edge of something and leaning out into the unknown, that appeals to me.  As if I can just reach out and be somewhere I have never been before.  Someplace where I am not known.  A place I can dance with as a stranger.

Moose, being wild creatures and therefore less predictable, were a bit more tricky.  Regardless, I was quite certain that we would be successful.  And we were.

Not just successful, but successful beyond my wildest hopes - which are fairly out there.  This little yearling calf came up and grazed about ten feet from where we were sitting.  So trusting.  Both parents calmly allowing us to adore him while they grazed tasty things from the bottom of the lake.

When I ponder this after the fact, I think we just created a space that allowed for such a close moose encounter by believing it would happen.  That kind of idea may seem foreign to you, but I have seen it work time and time again (and I have rarely seen the reverse work - i.e. by believing something won't happen that it actually does).  The first step in having anything happen is to believe that it can.  That creates a little space in which the magic can happen....moose magic.  That's an idea that had gotten lost in the drift of emotional garbage around me.

The next day, I made my intention known that I wanted to be surprised.  I didn't care what form it took.  Just something unexpected.  When we checked in at the Portland airport, the desk clerk offered us a deal too sweet to pass on.  If we agreed to fly out the next morning instead of right then, he would fly us first class, give us a swank hotel and food vouchers for the evening and.....give each of us two round trip tickets to anywhere in the US that the airline flies.  Since little brother and I are not Bill Gates, we jumped on it.  Only later did I remember that I wanted to be surprised.  Boy Howdy was I!

The whole thing seems unreal and kinda funny now that I'm sitting at home.  It was so easy.  And I have to ask myself, if big magics like moose and fantastical airline upgrades are as easy as asking, then why does my life seem so hard?

*Insert sonic BOOM here*

It's hard because I become afraid of the unknown.  It's hard because I forget to ask for what I want.  It's hard because I stop believing in the magic.  It's hard because I tell myself it's hard.

So whenever I feel overwhelmed with crap, I'm just gonna try to remember this little guy.  Remember how he just appeared out of the blue.  Remember that all I have to do is lean out into the unknown a bit and picture a new horizon for the magic to happen.

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...