Saturday, January 31, 2009

"We are fam-i-ly!"

So, the new kitty has successfully arrived home! I'm not sure if I'm going to keep her name as Nina; I have some great/dorky ideas on what to name her. (Maybe Bea?)

Anyway, she and LZ have become fast friends--they are both playful and adorable. Just wanted to post and send some love!

UPDATE: By "fast friends" I think I also mean "possible enemies." I can't read cats; is batting and swatting and growling and chasing a good sign?! They keep chasing each other--it seems peaceful to me . . .

Friday, January 30, 2009

Debate over!

I'm getting a new kitty! My application just got approved! Here's her information:

http://tulsapets.com/adoptions/adoptions.asp?atype=1

(It's Nina.)

The first girl in the family--hooray!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Peace

I was continuing my thinking about war last night and just wondering what would happen if the US declared that it wasn't going to fight anymore. I thought that it would cause a lot of US citizens to be really upset; I thought maybe even people would rise up and do terrible things to the administration.

But then I thought, how would that form of violence be any different from the atrocity we're committing against other people? And not only that, but how would a US civil war be any different from the violence people inflict on themselves every day? It's amazing the capacity people have for self-hate--believing they are unworthy, unloveable, unwanted. People sometimes cling to inaccurate images of themselves--images that are damaging and based in fear.

It's no wonder, then, that we enact this violence on other people. It's no wonder we strive to find control and a sense of identity in a life that is seemingly accidental and arbitrary.

I would just say, though, that continuing war will not help alleviate people's fear. Taking a defense posture plays into that system of fear and violence.

If the US could stop war and disband the military, it would not create any more hostility or violence than already exists in the world. But it would be an opportunity to eradicate that hostility and violence. Working on the personal and interpersonal level, we know this to be true. You cannot take away your own fear by force; you take it away by showing yourself other opportunities. Thinking and working and feeling creatively and trying new things. Through gentleness (always gentleness).

That works the same when communicating with others. And I have the belief that that's the only way to work with other countries.

I was going to end the post here, but the internet connection wasn’t strong enough for this appear online.

What a blessing because I have more to say (as it turns out). I was thinking that maybe we could start locally on taking a stance against war. I thought maybe that I could start by seeing if everyone in my building would take a stance against war. And that thought really scared me because then I thought that we might be the target of violence. And someone (allegedly a neighborhood punk) has already broken into Sara’s apartment. So I was worried about my private space and worried about being a victim of violence. This is the very thing that I don’t think you can prevent, though, with a belief in peace.

There is a knot here, though, to be thought through. And it has something to do with the public and private sphere and I don’t know exactly how to think through this. I think what plays out in the private sphere is mirrored in the public sphere, but I do think that the public sphere can afford some protection to the private sphere.

These thoughts seem contradictory to me right now; I’ll have to come back to them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You want your crazy cat lady? I got your crazy cat lady.

Mysteriously, my mirror fell (but did not break, thank goodness) off it's hooks.  So it's no longer hanging from my closet door, but is now leaning against the wall.  LZ saw himself in the mirror and freaked out.  Then he approaches and is looking behind the mirror.  He then paws at the mirror and flops onto his back and is trying to play with his reflection!  Soooo cute and soooo heartbreaking!

I know cats aren't pack animals like dogs are, but I think it's time for LZ to have a new companion.  And I want a new baby.  It's just so sad that so many animals are born and don't find homes.  So . . . I think I'm going to get a new kitty!  

What my pain-body is saying

Last night I couldn't sleep (I'm sure it had nothing to do with the three-hour nap I decided to take, all bundled up in my bed in the midst of yesterday's ice storm), and I'm still really upset this morning.  I just don't understand why war still exists.  I've had an ear out to the strike that happened on Pakistan last Friday (I still don't think the US has 'fessed up to that one yet).  And yesterday I caught a headline saying the US was giving $40,000 to 15 Afghani families who had civilians die in a bombing the US is responsible for (I got $10,000 after the apartment fire and no one died; $40,000 is bullshit.  The whole concept is wrong, but it's also a slap in the face.).  And I heard Eve Ensler (along with others)  on NPR the other day talk about the mass rapings in the Congo (it's effective to rape babies, girls, women, and elderly women because it's a quick way to humiliate a community).

This is madness.

I've also been hearing how Cheney warned Obama not to come down too harshly against the previous administration's stance on terrorism, because it's a scary world.  And, apparently Bush is bummed that Obama so quickly decided to shut down Guantanamo; Bush was hoping that President Obama would see why they did what they did there.

I know that there are studies that have been done saying conservative people tend to have more of a fear-based perspective than liberal people.  And I can now honestly say that I feel bad that Bush and his administration lived with so much fear.  But fear cannot save us--it only perpetuates itself.

Life is so fragile and it's so short and we're so connected.  It's really time to lay down all arms.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Working was fun . . . last week

I am so over trying to get my work done and to not procrastinate. It's so much more fun taking pictures of myself. Here's me promoting world peace in outer space:


And here's me sustaining a brutal attack:


And I am not going to photograph this, but I kid you not--there is a perfect kitty paw claw mark on my ass.  That cat attacked my cheek while I was scooping his litter box this morning.  It felt way too similar to that Far Side cartoon where the fat lady is looking for her cat, who happens to be stuck in her crack.  Soy una pobracita!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Set-Back

I sent to the ether that one day I want to meet Javier Bardem and have him fall in love with me.  To my dismay, I found out today that he's seeing Penelope Cruz.  So, unfortunately, that guy is going to have to do a lot to convince me that he could ever get over someone as beautiful and talented as she.  I do not envy his position.

One Little Change

On MSN yesterday, they had an article about women who spent thirty days making one change in their life. These changes included exercising for one minute per day, wearing red lipstick, dressing up, making coffee instead of buying it, and eating off real dishes. I enjoyed reading this article and thinking about what little thing I could do each day.

This, in combination with Spring's post on a service pledge, has got me thinking about what kinds of things I can still do to improve myself and the world around me. I've been making some little changes already, and I've been quite proud of myself for those changes. Spring's post, and people's responses to it, have inspired me to be more ecofriendly, and I finally feel willing to do something I've been wanting to since I was a kid, but never really have done (use reusable grocery bags). It's a little thing, I know, but it's new to me. ("So suck it," says PMS-y Courtney.)

It occurs to me now that there are a couple of places I really want to travel to, but I haven't done much in making that happen. So, maybe for the next thirty days I will spend five minutes a day researching those places and getting a better sense of what I want to do/accomplish there. OK--I will just try this and see how it goes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Procrastination and Privilege

Earlier this evening I was reading an article on procrastination from Scientific American Mind (Dec. 2008/Jan. 2009).  According to this article, 15-20 percent of American adults are procrastinators.  Procrastination, says the article, can impact a person's health, finances, and job (among other things, surely).  This is all pretty obvious, but one quote stood out to me, "Procrastination is about not having projects in your life that really reflect your goals."  Again, this seems kind of obvious, but it made me think of all those things that we think we have to do in order to be successful, healthy, and so on.  Really, we don't have to do any of those things.

I experienced a weird moment a couple days ago in yoga class.  All of a sudden I felt panicky and anxious and I just wanted to leave class.  And, from there, I just wanted to leave school and leave Tulsa and just escape!  I was so sad!  What plays in my head is the idea that being here is not making me happy, so I should honor myself and do what makes me happy.

I agree with that, but I'm also paying attention to other advice I've received.  That advice is that it doesn't really matter where you are or what you are doing.  Whatever thoughts/emotions that come up are symptoms of something inside of you--symptoms that can't be healed by changing geographical location, professions, friends, lovers, etc.

This might sound like bullshit.  But, I really find this advice to be helpful not because I have some sense of martyrdom ("Oh I'll just stay here and rough it out."), but because I am learning a ton about myself.  Sister Ellie has told me about the difference between gratification and happiness; I believe I am finally feeling some happiness!  And it's because I've experienced ungratification--what a paradox (and what a blessing)!

It is a privilege to be able to work on oneself.  Sometimes it seems scary and sometimes it seems unnecessary.  When that happens, I think it's important, like Sister Ellie says, to recognize resistance and to gently explore where it came from.

I think it's really important for everyone to recognize that whatever parts of themselves they aren't pleased with arose out of a sense of survival.  We pick up bad habits (like procrastination and (in my case) not taking care of my body) because that was how we knew how to cope with the world.  And those reasons are real; and, oftentimes, I believe that people feel isolated and believe that no one will understand why they did the things they did.  Why people do things is serious and complicated.

And, I would just gently like to say, this doesn't have to be the case in the present moment.  Learning to let go and (as I like to say) breathe into our resistance feels really good.  Sometimes scary, but also exciting.  In this sense, as Sister Ellie recommends, it becomes helpful for thinking of taking care of yourself as a privilege.  The way we did things before arose from many different circumstances.  But we are grown-up now and holding on to those old ways can be so harmful.  Yes, they might be familiar, but it's just as logical (and true) that learning new ways will be (eventually) familiar and even more gratifying and happiness-inducing!

I just write this out because of conversations that I've had with people lately.  And, also, I really needed to write this to myself.  I still struggle with old patterns of thought and for one of the first times I'm not berating myself over that struggle.  I'm not saying that I should be over things already.  Instead, I am getting practice in returning to the moment and working on boundaries.  Both of which I can see helping me no matter what I end up doing in my life. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"I stand on the shoulders of giants"


So, even though I risk raising, as Joan Didion says, "the question of self-pity," I just wanted to announce that it's been six months since Ye Olde Apartment fire!  I took these images on my cellphone (look at me, using bluetooth--again) the day of the fire.  My apartment was the one on the second floor.  The fire took the roof and it also knocked down the little patio I had.  The big space in the middle was were the sliding door used to be.  You can't see it in these pictures, but you could see from the parking lot the charred refrigerator with magnetic poetry pieces burned into/onto it.

This morning in on-going meditation class, Sister Ellie talked about Rosa Parks and how Parks helped make President Obama's election possible.  Sister Ellie told us the story of Orion, the blind giant in mythology, who carried the dwarf, Cedalion (according to Wikipedia; I can't remember any mythology), on his shoulders in order to find the sun and gain sight.

Sister Ellie's point was to remind us of community.  After writing about her teaching, people shared that people in our lives can be giants for the good and the bad things they teach us.  And, also, that we never know if we may be a giant for somebody else.

It seems only natural to me to say that I relied and continue to rely on so many giants in my life.  The apartment fire made my dependence even more visible and necessary.  So, my dear ones, I mention the anniversary of the fire to celebrate all of you.  All of you who were giants when I so badly needed you.  And, I still need you.  If ever you're feeling incompetent, I think it's completely fair to praise yourself for helping me through the fire--that's no small feat.  You might think whatever you did was little, but it has meant the world to me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day and Bush's Last Day!

What a holiday, today!  In Tulsa, the sky was a beautiful blue.  It was as though nature knew to celebrate.

And, I was reading some Thomas Paine (yes, I am actually studying for my exams) and becoming excited by his spirit and sense of revolution.  While he advocates America's separation from England, and he believes in peace, he also believes war is a viable option to attain peace.  (That's too bad, Tom Paine.  Too bad.)  But, he says this in Common Sense, which I think still resonates today.  Actually, that last sentence is bullshit; I'm trying to make Paine work here just because he's my latest dead-guy crush.  So here's a quote taken nearly entirely out of context; doesn't it just fit our times (and amazingly so, at that?): "The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is capable of reflection."

My use of this quote is not to diminish the excitement and hope of Obama's presidency.  But, there is work ahead.  And Sara and I just finished watching a rerun of today's episode of Oprah and, well, I'm a little tired of celebrities saying how they are ready to serve their country.  Which is not to say that I don't think Obama has a great ability to inspire people--he clearly has this gift!  I just feel a little eye-rolly tonight as I hear celebrities talk about hope and such.  Or, maybe, I'm just cranky because of that insidious song, "America's Anthem," or some such thing, they sang on the show--that better not be the new Lee Greenwood song of our generation (not that I like that song and think it shouldn't be replaced; well, I did like it in the second grade when we started singing it in music class every day for the rest of my elementary school career.  Although, maybe I should just be thankful that there was music education in my elementary school.).   

There's work ahead, but tomorrow we celebrate.  Thank goodness!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to Cook Cat

I realized that I might be too heavily indulging in my new electric blanket when, last night, I woke up to see LZ stretched out on the bed on his back (as if he were basking in the heat of the sun) and then pet him only to find him nearly too hot to touch.  We'll back off the "hi" setting tonight.

In other news, I read a completely heartbreaking article yesterday about a woman who tried to save a friend, who ended up dying, while they were both sucked into strong ocean currents.  The woman herself ended up being saved by two (female) strangers.  The article's in the current issue of O and it's really powerful.

And, actually, this issue of O is really great.  It talks about luck and how studies show that people create their own luck.  And it mentions the latest in mascara technology--tubing mascara--so I immediately perked up at that article (actually, I really did, now that I'm being all glamorous and stuff).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sanity and it's connection to body

Last night I was reading from The Artist's Way and came across this quote from Doris Lessing: 
All sanity depends on this: that it should be a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh.

Yes--how true. Last night a group of Tulsans met to discuss Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now.  One thing Tolle discusses is how to feel the inner body.  When you are feeling your body, then you are in the present moment.  Being outside the present moment is what causes suffering and grief--and we bring those things to ourselves by not being present!  Tolle also writes that when you are present, then God is present, too.  As a result, God can only be found inside; God is not some external being.

I've been real hesitant to talk about God, but Tolle's book and The Artist's Way have made me more comfortable claiming my own spirituality.  I find it revolutionary to discover God within; I find it revolutionary to think of the physical body as a means to God.

Tolle also writes that women are closer to enlightenment because they menstruate; menstruation connects women to their physical bodies, which is how one connects to God.  While he's not romanticizing menstruation, he is making the point that awareness of physicality is how one stays in the moment.  And women receive this bodily awareness more often then men do.  

I was thinking about this today because I woke up really early feeling all crampy (maybe I'm ovulating, I reluctantly share with you) and in pain.  Then I notice that this whole morning LZ has been acting all spazzy--more than usual, that is.  So it just made me wonder about what energy both of our bodies were responding to (the moon's?) and in what ways our bodily responses were the same or different.  

Tolle (and others) call cats Zen masters.  I have certainly learned a lot by watching LZ through a Zen frame.  For example, this morning I revised my thinking on why he isn't phased by the squirt bottle.  To LZ, any activity is the best.  Whether he's sneaking on the table (which I've now allowed him to do) or sniffing in my food (which he's not allowed to do  . . . yet) or licking squirt-bottle water off his fur, it's all the best.  The guy just rolls with it.  In fact, I would have to say he embodies all the grad school mottos we've created so far ("just roll with it," "take it halfway there," and "let's cut the bullshit")!

Monday, January 12, 2009

First day back at school

Well, I just taught today—hooray! I decided that this semester I’m going to be the kind of teacher that I’ve been dying to be, but haven't because I've been too invested in the kind of teacher I “should” be. To that end, I’m running the class mostly conference-style. We’ll meet once a week as a class, but then I’m meeting with each student one-on-one twice a week (I only have nine students, so I think this will be fine). I’m teaching the introductory writing class to non-native speakers, and I think this format will better fit their needs, too.  

As I went over the roll, I had each student tell me which languages they speak (2/3 speak Arabic and English, 1/3 speak Chinese and English). I told them that I wanted to learn from them at that I also want to teach them my “love for English.” As soon as I said that, I thought, “I love English?! When did that happen?” It’s my guess that it happened when I decided to work within these constraints that make up my life-situation. As soon as I made the commitment to finish my degree, I realized that I just need to work with myself (instead of against) and be who I am.

So, instead of (just) bitching about the masculinist models of teaching that we have received, I'm just going to try to do things this other way.  I'm just going to see how it goes.

But, the point of this blog is mainly to share that I taught the first day without arriving late or drenched rain, and without tripping in front of everyone.  Everything is coming up Courtney!

And just a little plug: for anyone at TU who's interested, I recommend taking one of the yoga classes this semester.  Both are taught by Louise, who happens to be wonderful.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Some stuff that's come up (internally)

So, school starts again on Monday and I've been feeling anxious about that fact.  Yesterday I had worked myself into a quite a state; I was feeling unorganized and unprepared.  I was feeling angry, and when I asked myself, "Can I just accept that I'm feeling angry?" I responded with a loud "No!"

Now that I write this, of course it makes sense that anger would respond to anger with anger.  Of course I'm mad that I'm angry--it's the only emotion that works here!

So I realized that when I'm angry, it's kind of my instinct to want to change everything around me.  If I'm angry, I rationalize, then things are wrong and must change.  Well, today I'm trying something different.  I'm just going to still accept myself (I can accept that I can't accept the fact that I'm angry (so there, anger!)) and I'm still going to return to what I was planning to do today anyway.  And I have completely unglamorous things to do today and I'm still going to them in my unglamorous way.  The same.  A return.  A return to the moment--it does feel really good!

Friday, January 9, 2009

GoodSearch and GoodShopping

In case you don't know, you can donate $0.01 for each internet search you do.  How? You ask.  Just go to www.goodsearch.com.  Here you can pick which organization you'd like to donate to (I pick St. John's Center for Spiritual Formation just because I'd be up a creek without Sister Ellie, but you can pick whichever nonprofit you like.)

Also on the GoodSearch page, there is a thing called GoodShopping, where stores (like Target, Kohl's, and others) donate a percentage of your purchase to your nonprofit of choice.  

I haven't used GoodShopping yet, but I have used GoodSearch.  I don't think it's quite a good as Google, but GoodSearch is good for info that isn't completely vital.  A penny a search may not seem like a lot, but non-profits can use all the help there is!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Men

I just wanted to announce that LZ and I are taking our relationship to the next level. Yesterday he was licking in my ear and I kinda liked it. Here we are snuggling, in my bed (he is oh so protective of me):




Book Clubs

So, there is a meeting, through St. John's Center for Spiritual Formation, on The Power of Now this Monday, January 12 at 7 pm. 

And the Progress on the Prairie book club will meet on Saturday, January 31 at 3 pm (I think.  I just made that up without confirming the time with anyone.)  We're reading Naomi Wolf's The End of America.  We'll be meeting at my place for this one.

If you want to go to either meeting, then please do.  If you don't know where to go, then find a way to get a hold of me--I don't feel comfortable posting addresses and phone numbers on the internet!

Happy reading, yes?!

Ankle Sprain!

Hooray--the internet connection that I leach off of is back! I can be a thief again. Or, I can practice found-internet. And make art out of it. (I'm calling this blog art, for whatever that's worth.)

So, I believe I must share the fact that I sprained my ankle the other night. At meditation class. Like a moron. Apparently every few years I like to sprain my ankle; this time it's a meditation-related injury, the time before it was a skipping accident, and the time before that it was a basketball injury (that one has to kind of undo the lameness of the other two, right?).

So, I go to meditation feeling all cute and self-important (I think that's my standard behavior when it's laundry time and I've reached the dregs of my wardrobe, which is usually dresses/skirts), and I notice a new guy there. This is after I've been acting all cleansing and nurturing to myself and trying to not think about boys and relationships. Since I had just been practicing letting things be how they are, I am ashamed to admit that when I saw this new guy I had instantaneous fantasies that he would now be the one (you know, the one that I don't even believe in anyway . . . that one).  What more could I ask for, I thought, here he is in meditation class!  And, just like that, I am married in my mind to a total stranger.  (Will this brain ever rest?!  Ever give it up?!)

In meditation class, Sister Ellie begins with announcements and then we take 20 minutes of meditation time, using whichever method we prefer.  Always my legs fall asleep during this 20 minutes.  After this, we practice walking meditation to get paper and pens, because then Sister Ellie gives a talk and then provides a question for us to think and write about.  So after the 20 minutes, she tells us to mindfully stand and mindfully walk to get a pen and paper and then return to our seats and wait for the next bell.

So I mindfully note that my right leg is so asleep and I mindfully lift my ass off the cushion.  And I mindfully take a step with my left leg and I mindfully notice that I can't feel my right leg at all.  I mindfully hear some popping noises and I trust that my body was just doing its thing as I twisted my ankle and fell.

There's a lot to share about this!  Like, for example, how dumb I felt!  I'm always so clumsy.  I had recently been getting a lot of mileage out of the saying a bull in a china shop.  Since I'm a taurus, I identify with that bull, that bull who has been acting roughshod on her (china-like) relationships, family, friends, body, life situation.  And here I was again, being a bull in meditation--the very place where I thought I had been an unbull!  (In fact, I was acting very self-righteous during my meditation practice--I've been getting to uncharted territories inside myself.  How bull-like of me!)

I was also reminded of Tolle's warning/notification, that when the ego is dying, it's normal to feel pain in the physical body.  I had had some mysterious pains show up in my right hand while I was reading the book.  And here I was, and am, with non-mysterious pain in my right ankle and leg.

As I was driving home, which I wasn't convinced I should be doing anyway, I felt so sorry for myself.  I just wanted someone to take care of me!  But then I tried to bring myself back to the moment, and damn if I didn't do just that.  As soon as I said that I could accept that I've sprained my ankle, things seemed very funny and not really a big deal at all.

I made it through the night just fine, taking care of myself.  I even asked Sara for help for the next day (and she so kindly bought be some pain killers and an ace bandage--both of which have made me feel so much better!  Although, I can't help but wonder if it would have been better to stay off medicine--would I be more in tune with what is actually going on in my body that way?  I've had this thought before--I guess I have no answers other than to realize that it's not a black/white situation.).  

A friend told me that this was the Universe's way to tell me that I should not be thinking about dating right now because, her logic goes, I must be the only person to receive injure herself during meditation.  Another friend suggested, though, that it might be the Universe's way to get me some attention.  I agreed with that because I've realized that I need my own attention.  I've so enjoyed paying attention to my body--for feeling what is really there, instead of making up what it is or isn't.  

Anyway, I have been practicing mindful walking for the past few days now; I guess that's another benefit!  And, too, on a serious note, I have been thankful to have a safe apartment wherein I can pay attention to myself and take care of myself.  And it feels like such a blessing to not have a job that I have to work right now and that I have to be on my feet for.  I really don't know how blue-collar workers do what they have to do, especially when they get injured.  Here's to hoping Obama's health plan will work the way we all need and want it to . . .

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Love

I'm still not done with it yet, but I really recommend reading Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now.  I skipped to the sections on relationships first and then I've gone back to the beginning to read what I missed.  I've been thinking about romantic relationships a lot lately as I've gone through the divorce and a subsequent relationship.  Let me share this excerpt from Tolle:

If you stop investing it with 'selfness,' the mind loses its compulsive quality, which basically is the compulsion to judge, and so to resist what is, which creates conflict, drama, and new pain.  In fact, the moment that judgment stops through acceptance of what is, you are free of the mind.  You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.  First you stop judging yourself; then you stop judging your partner.  The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of you partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way.  That immediately takes you beyond ego.  All mind games and all addictive clinging are then over.  There are no victims and no perpetrators anymore, no accuser and accused.  This is also the end of all codependency, of being drawn into somebody else's unconscious pattern and thereby enabling it to continue.  You will then either separate--in love--or move ever more deeply into the Now together--into Being.  Can it be that simple?  Yes, it is that simple.


I have a lot to share about this. And it's been an intense day. I had the great privilege to spend time with a friend who's going through a divorce (the guy is unequivocally being a dick), I've been observing my parents argue with each other over how the laundry room remodel should go, and I've participated in a conversation with the guy I was with--all of this today! I can't help but think of the ways in which I've flailed against the present moment; it's like when Tori Amos sings, "This is not really hap-pen-ing. You bet your life it is." But it also isn't. Things seem a certain way, but they also really aren't that way, either. It's like when I would take a day off from school and see that many people would being doing a variety of other activities during the day. I'm just trying to say that it's so easy to believe that what we're doing is the only way to do things.

But when you can step back, even for an instant, and put a thought aside, such peace does enter. And this, I think, is what meditation is about. Practicing meditation helps for when the stakes are higher. When you can notice, accept without judgment, and let go of a thought during meditation, then it makes it easier to do this when you are engaged in other activities.

I was kind of bumming out that the fire took my list of things that I wanted in a lover (although a "list" might be putting it midly; that thing was turning into a certifiable "tome"). On that list I remembered writing that I wanted "a love that can change the world. Even if we are only in bed lovin' on each other, I want to believe that we are changing the world for the best."

Tolle writes, and cites religious figures who have said the same thing, that light attracts light. That there is no opposite to love. That often what we call love has a hate cycle, too, because love relationship are often just another type of "addiction."

I've been trying so hard to process my role in my relationship and to figure out what's going on. And I've been trying so hard to not try to figure things out. Yesterday I was sad and I was writing an unsendable letter and I wrote out this kind of elaborate fantasy of what I thought our future together would look like. The only thing was, I had actually never imagined that future until I wrote it. But after I wrote it I was so sad! I thought, "Well, that must be what I wanted, if that's what I wrote."

But then later I was writing in my journal and I realized that I made myself miserable with that fantasy! I was letting myself dwell on my feelings (which is just where I'm at right now, I guess) and then I amplified them with a thought that I had never had before. Then I validated that fantasy with a thought--and I thought all of this was the truth.

This is all so Billy Corgan ("I'm in love with my sadness")--this is all the ego. And now that mine is being exposed to light, it's dying, and it's kicking and screaming on the way out.

Today I ended my phone conversation not knowing where I was going in my relationship. I had told this guy in the past that I was really excited to not know where we were going. But at that time I really meant, "Who knows if this one great fantasy of us I have will pan out or if it will be one of these other great fantasies--what excitement!" And now, well, now I know on a deeper level that I don't know what will happen. That there is only now. And instead of clinging, I can let things be.

And this, I'm learning, is what love is. And when I write that I want a love that will change the world, I can see that this love exists and that it can't be taken away. And this does change the world. It just does, you know!

PS: I'm not going to be happy until I quote yet another song. Alanis sings, "The only way out is through"--so true. And, perhaps, all of this life is just going through. "Out" might be part of the illusion--because if you think you're going to get out, then you're still going through. Until you are just out. You just are. That's out.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Revisions

I take back what I said yesterday.  It is possible to know if I could be more of a badass.  Last night Dad and I pulled up linoleum floor with a heat gun and scraper--awesome!  I think we'll get to play with concrete today.  Yes!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"I might have to do it on my ass, but I'll get down from here."

It is impossible to know if I could be any more of a badass right now.  I just bluetoothed some pictures from my phone to my laptop and now, look, some images from my hike yesterday!




Yesterday my artist's date was to go for a hike (on a real mountain--how fabulous! (Suck it, Oklahoma.)).  I had a great time outside--there were a lot of things to think about, and I kept refocusing on the present moment and putting into practice all the things I've learned these past few months.

As I got to the top of Lily Mountain, I was trying to figure out which way to scale the rocks and get to the very top.  I had been following people's tracks in the snow, and the tracks diverged around the top rocks.  So I just had to go for it.  I was reminded of one time in particular when I was kid on a picnic with my family and all I wanted to do was climb on the rocks.  Mom and Dad didn't want me to because they thought it was unsafe.  So I kind of reconnected with that little girl yesterday as I clumsily (and almost fatally (not really--I just made a couple unfortunate mistakes of stepping on the end of my scarf, which was wound around my neck.  Dork.)) climbed some rocks.  I wondered how I was going to get down, but then I figured that I'd worry about it when I got there.  So I just enjoyed paying attention to what my body could do and how I was feeling at the time--it was a lot of fun.

As I climbed down, I was a little freaked out until I said that I knew I'd make it down, even if it had to happen on my ass (and parts of it did--but there's plenty of ass to cushion the falls, thank goodness).

It's difficult to not wax metaphorical about hiking, but I'll try my best here.  (And look, I think I've succeeded in not saying anything about journeys, destinations, present moments, goals, nature, God.)  And I know I don't always need to provide advice on things, but I just want to repeat how wonderful The Artist's Way is; if anything, it's so cool to go on dates with yourself!

In other news, last night I was out at dinner with my family, celebrating the New Year, and my nephew declared, loudly, "I'm so going to marry you, Mom!"  Then he stretches out his arms, wiggles his fingers and says, "Come here, baby!  Come here!  Come get a kiss!"  Just like when we went out over Thanksgiving, he also talked to the servers.  This time he told the waitress that she makes really good Chinese food.  He also had a watch on and would tell us the time, which was usually followed by "It's getting late!"  He said he wore a watch to control time, so of course (because I can't keep my trap shut) I told him he needs to read The Power of Now.

And, right now, I'd like to wish you a happy new year!  Best wishes!