Archives for the month of: April, 2013

An abundance of thoughts are rushing through me, thoughts that I’ve collected over the weeks, some I’ve written in my notebooks and devices, some I’ve yet to pen. I started out this morning with a larger block of time. I ran into technical glitches with my Apple keyboard. I had synched it with the iPod Touch and forgot that you have to stop one to use the other and re-synch. I remained patient, knowing that I wanted to post to my trusty blog. Sometimes I start out knowing where I’m going and other times I just follow along and see where the pen leads me. I like it best that way. Writing has long been an act of discovery for me and so much more. It’s like a love affair that won’t stop, even if I feel like sometimes it has.

Two days ago the highlight of my afternoon–the highlight of the whole day–was walking back from the doctor’s office for a routine check up. I have to admit, I don’t like going to see doctors, but I had a couple of things to ask. This was the first time I met with this doctor. She recommended I get a mammogram soon. I told her I’d think about it. She asked if I wanted a vaccination and when was the last time. I gave her a look, that gave her my answer, before I said no thank you. She then got my vibe. I wasn’t unfriendly. I just don’t like hospitals and doctor’s offices.

But back to my day. I was walking, and when I passed the sidewalk that overlooks a creek, something caught my eye. Well, actually, I think first the familiar honk caught my ear. I looked and I saw a Canadian Goose with its mate and a handful of goslings. Oh my goodness, what a special day! I stood there hanging over the railing, the wind blowing gently on this warm day. They were coming toward me, swimming along. They came closer until they were right under my nose. The papa goose got his wings wet and swooshed them back and forth, allowing the water to drip down. The goslings, kicked their little webbed feet. It warmed my heart. I could see under the brownish, but clear water. The mama duck was sure to keep her goslings in place, nudging them when needed. The father stayed at the back. Then the mama looked to her children and ducked under the water, once, twice; then one gosling imitated her, then another, until all of them were ducking under, following mama’s example. It was a priceless moment. I could have stayed there all day watching them swim around and learn from their parents the ways of the land. They reached the point where they would go under the pass and come out on the other side of the creek. I took in once last glimpse as the last baby swam under and away.

This morning the room fills with music from Santana’s Supernatural album. The drums have always been my weakness, especially conga drums, that call up a primal part of my soul; the guitar, horns, and vocals slip in at the right moments to create harmony.

I’m transported to the beach,
around a fire under an ocean of stars.
I dance and spin circles under the pulsing moon.
With closed eyes,
this body surrenders to the music,
moves with it,
feels cool air–
the sea through my fingertips,
wrapped around my whole being.

Driving down the road, I peer over at the progress of the new retail building. A man on his hands and knees tends to the soil, where the grass and flowers will be. He has a garden pick in his hand, that I see as he raises it, before bringing it down to the earth.

I was transported in that instant to my grandmother’s garden.

When I visited my uncle this past week–like a child–I asked if I could go outside. I took the dog with me. He went his way; I went mine. I walked over to where my grandmother’s garden would have been, nestled in the corner near the fence dividing the neighbor’s yard, past the rabbit cage where Sylvester used to live. I took notice of how wild all the trees had grown, how the almond tree and walnut tree had been taken down, along with the clothes line that spun. I remember waiting for the almonds, the soft fuzzy skin that would eventually yield, revealing a beautiful almond, and how I would sit at my grandparent’s kitchen table cracking open almonds and walnuts that grew from their trees.

I remembered how much fun I had exploring in this backyard, playing hide and seek and running around like cowboys with my cousin and swinging on the swing set. And I remember the pool table that used to be in another large house-like shed where my grandfather kept his heavy duty carpentry tools and machines; and the pool table that we would play on and how I was told that when I was little–I had my own mini pool stick–I would hop up on the pool table and try to whack my cousin on the head because I seemed to think it was funny. I don’t remember this, but I can imagine this curious and mischievous side of me.

When I got older, I’d rummage through the far back shed, looking through my mother’s old clothes that my grandfather had stored for her. And I remembered those tall eucalyptus trees that I adored, that had burned down because of some careless kids playing with fire. My grandfather was lucky the fire didn’t reach his house. How my heart sank when I arrived on that day to find his home surrounded by fire trucks.

How I love the memory of my grandmother in her garden, tending to the soil, as she tended to all of her children and grandchildren, how she loved us and nourished us and provided sustenance for our bodies and our souls.

And now she nourishes me still, from up above, always with me.M

On Sunday I took myself for a hike. My significant other tends to be a night person and I am the early riser. I didn’t plan on going on a hike, but suddenly my body was pulling me in that direction. I threw on some clothes, sent a text message to him, so that when he woke, he’d know where I was. Off to the hills I went.

I had my notebook in my backpack and on the way down the hill, nestled in the quiet, I began to scribble down what little bit would trickle out in that moment and with a few additions, here is my Sunday:

Today is a day of pictures and still images in motion because I have no words for the beauty that surrounds me, for this place I call home. Wildflowers fill in the green hills in patches of yellow, white, purple; and orange poppies dolloped along the sides of the earth carefully placed like sprinkles of deliciousness. I hear crickets, birds chirping, wheat grass swaying in the wind; I see a hawk flying, woodpeckers flirting; the soft scents of spring and the freshness of the day waken my being.

It’s best when I’m alone; the passerby in conversation create a ripple in the stillness. Eventually, I speed up enough to slow down–to only hear my feet press against the earth below me–sometimes gravel; sometimes the soft puff of grass for long stretches, grass that has grown over because of the rain.

The crystal blue reservoir in the near distance refreshes my senses.

Yesterday turned out to be a pleasant day. When I got to work, the boss hadn’t gotten to the stack of files for me to process. In the past I would have immediately felt the stress stream through my body. I know he’s busy trying to wrap up loose ends, so instead I turned to the work I did have to do and then went into his office, sensing that he was feeling slightly stressed and asked if I could help with anything. He handed me a few things to file and another to process. Sometimes, just offering a small lending hand in a stressful situation, can create a sense of ease.

I was also reminded by my instructor in my ECE (Early Childhood Education) class that when she finally let go during her years working in childcare–now she works more as an advocate and is not working directly with children–she stopped getting headaches, she stopped being so stressed out. I related.

I think it has been good for me to explore ECE this semester, during tax season, for many reasons. It’s acting as a balancer throughout my days at work. There are only a few more weeks until class ends and I’m still trying to decide if I will continue taking ECE classes. Summer session is very condensed and is two days per week for four hours each night. I’m still not sure of my direction, but I know and trust that my path will become clear as I keep putting one foot in front of the other; I suppose this is another one of my mantras, since I keep encouraging myself along with those words.

So, it was a good day; and while I was walking back to work from the park, after enjoying another lunch hour there, I saw a single yellow butterfly. I followed her flit back and forth; I realized I haven’t seen that many butterflies lately. It was a nice treat to end the lunch hour and brought just a little bit more lightness to my step. I made it to class and it was a good one. We got into groups and went through a brainstorming exercise for developing curriculum. And at work, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tax tunnel.

Right now I feel still. I can hear the cars rolling along, as I enjoy my last cup of coffee, which reminds me of a quote I saw in a coffee shop, a variation and suitable to the moment: “Take life one cup at a time.”

And with that, I drink my last cup of coffee for the moment, and greet the day with open arms, ready to follow where it leads.

Happy Day and Happy Writing and Creating!

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It’s going to be a busy day at work today and I planned on going in early for my own sake and I have class tonight, which I’m not sure I will make. It depends on how the day unfolds. I’ll have to take it a moment at a time. I did decide that I needed to write and that I would go in a bit later, so that I can do this one thing for myself first.

A book has been brought back into my consciousness after a fellow blogger mentioned it as a book that changed his life. That book is Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. I do recall having this book. It’s one of many that got away with my last move. It’s a book that was part of several in a class I took long ago; then again in another class, the teacher couldn’t praise it enough.

Since the book had been brought back into my awareness, while browsing the shelves of the second hand store recently, there was a copy there peering back at me as thought it had been waiting for me; I invited the book back to its home in my own shelves. I have been reading it for a few moments each morning before I get out of bed to start the day. I have nodded my head in agreement and feel that I’m visiting a familiar place, an old friend.

I believe that certain things, whether experiences, moments, books–the possibilities are plentiful–as long as we are paying attention, what we need will surface. The Power of Now has reminded me of the strong influence the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh has had on my life, and takes me back to when I first saw him speak and then purchased one of his books nearly 20 years ago. I don’t look to him as a guru by any means, and I don’t think he’d want that. Instead, I look to what makes common sense to me: the practice of mindfulness, compassion, love, understanding, nature, and being in the present moment.

Through these many years, I feel that finding and being in the present moment is there for me to enter when I choose, when I choose to let go and surrender to it–not think, but do. Since rediscovering The Power of Now, I feel that certain spokes of the wheel are reconnecting and opening further.

I’ve been thinking about my past angers and I feel that, without being able to say why, The Power of Now, opened up something in me that allowed me to frame what I’ve been thinking about for so long and put it to the page. I started to write about it a few days ago, an image of my childhood that I’ve often thought about, but never felt comfortable putting to the page, even to my personal pages; I finally did, and I went on for four pages and it took a different direction and became entwined with work. I was overwhelmed with how much there was to edit if I want to post it to my blog. I view it as part of my memoirs, for that is the type of writing that I am most drawn to, that, the essay form, and journal writing.

In the past several days, I’ve been finding my mantra to be the single word, “now” to bring me into the present, especially at work or if I find I’d like to slow my thoughts down.

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A Dream – From my journal (Sunday, April 8)

Last night when I became aware of the music that almost always comes through the apartment walls, I said in my mind, “now, now…” I dreamed last night I was in a situation where my death was before me. I don’t remember how I got into the situation, but I was standing there with someone aiming a crossbow at my throat. I think I heard someone shriek or make a sound of fear. I said, “it’s ok.” And I remember I kept saying, “now, now” to myself. “This is now.” I accepted the situation and became my own witness. I concentrated on the present moment and a calm overtook my being. I think I remember the click of the arrow releasing. The dream ended.

Yesterday against the gray,
rain kissed day,
green ivy, both light and dark,
yin and yang peered out at me.

I saw what I would not have seen
had the sun shone bright.

I would have only seen half the truth.

There are only ten more days until tax season comes to an end. I feel guilty each year because I don’t put in as much time as the others. There were years that I did, but I listen to my body. Even though I’m younger than the other two, their body’s seem more able to withstand the long days. But then I remind myself of my capacity to support our small team with all things administrative and with basic tax return input, and really there isn’t enough that I can do to work into the wee hours of the night as they do and they don’t’ seem to mind. And I know they appreciate the help I am able to give. I try to keep things in order, and so I put in my time as best I can.

This will be the first year of all the years I’ve been there, that I will only have gone in for one weekend and that will probably be this coming weekend. Maybe not both days; it will depend on where we’re at. I wanted to go in last weekend, but I wasn’t feeling well and stayed in bed both days.

This is also the first year where I’ve noticed that I’m not worrying as much. Usually, I would fret at how much work there was still to do and stress myself out. I would bring these worrying thoughts home with me and into my dreams. This year, I am just working through one thing at a time, sometimes juggling different tasks when the boss needs me to stop what I’m doing to do this or that.

I’ve gone in earlier in the mornings than my usual flexible part-time schedule, and so I’ve chosen to set my morning writing aside. Instead, I have dipped into whichever book calls to me from my windowsill in the mornings for a few moments; at night I dip into at least three and sometimes five, reading a few pages from each of my darlings.

For the first time in a long time, I found myself without thought, and it felt like a stranger. I often try to take advantage of moments where I can just be, such as waiting in a long line, walking, sitting, shopping, driving. And so last night in class, it happened during break. I usually take my journal out or read from a book I’ve brought, and sometimes I just sit there and listen to the hum of voices. Break went a little longer, so I sat there longer, not fidgeting, just sitting and being aware of my body and of my breath–in, out; in, out; breathing deeply from my belly, effortlessly; I rested my gaze upon the chalkboard, and then in between breaths, I realized that I was blank, there were no thoughts. I couldn’t believe it. I had to stand back from within myself and make sure I was seeing what I was seeing in my mind, which was nothing. What a beautiful and rare occurrence. It felt good. I continued to sit quietly in that moment with the wave of voices that seemed to be one voice in the sea of individual voices. I was enveloped in blank bliss.