Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Asking my friends about me

As part of the personal net worth exercise for the money program, we were asked to interview some of our close friends and family about our strengths and weaknesses. It would give us more information about our assets and liabilities of personality or behavior. I asked seven of my close friends to answer the following suggested questions about me.

a. What do you see as my key strengths? as my key weaknesses?
b.  What is most distinguishing or unique about me?
c.  When am I most powerful?
d.  In what situations am I least powerful?
e.  If you could wish one thing for me in the next year, what would it be?

It has been fascinating to get their responses and to consider what they see in me and how that matches up with my experience of me. Of course, the strengths are flattering and the weaknesses are great food for thought (after the initial gulp! of being seen as not perfect). And not surprisingly some of my strengths also get in my way.

It's an exercise I highly recommend. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Death in Phoenix

I've been following this blogger for a while. Her posts resonate with me. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

What is your personal net worth?

Our assignment this week in the money program is to create a statement of personal net worth. These are personal assets and liabilities in all domains except money (we are separately doing a financial net worth).
It's been a most interesting exercise.

I have a lot of assets: for example, a great apartment that I can afford in a great location with a great close friend as neighbor and it has a covered terrace and a porch swing, I have a solid exercise program, I have loving and affectionate close friends, I have wonderful cats, a reliable, high-mileage car that's paid for and it's red, I have plenty of interesting well-paid work, I have a studio close by that I can afford, I live in a wonderful city and a country with many freedoms. I've been working at the asset list for a couple of days and keep thinking of more things.

Writing the liability list is a different experience. I started with a number of minor physical health difficulties and then moved on to recurrent emotional issues that plague me some or a lot from time to time and that remain obstacles to my extraordinary life. The 12 steps keep me pretty free of unfinished business but I have sorrow around several old friendships that died so I put them down. But I'm having trouble thinking of very much.

I think there are two reasons for this. I have a very blessed life. My liabilities are few but real sticklers, problems I resist solving.

What would your personal net worth list look like?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Poem from life

Insectuous Relationships

I have a no-kill policy
I help spiders outside
and the beautiful moths
if the cats don't get them first
Even flies--if they're near the door
I'll usher them out
So when I go
to the land of 10,000 mosquitoes
and yellow jackets
to the rural outdoors, in other words,
it's tough to keep
the same live and let live spirit
with this summer's bumper crop of biters
It's as if I have a target
on the back of my leg
or left shoulder blade
or my third knuckle
I don't mind giving a little blood
Other creatures need to eat too
It's the return gift of venom
that's so unpleasant
Add to that the high-pitched scream
of the hungry shes
On vacation, I averaged two
to three new bites a day
And home I came with swollen legs
and feet with red welts the sauce of saucers

And then there was the yellow fellow
who followed me into my room
after a walk down the road
riding in my hair
I heard the buzzing
Shook my head
He stung my neck
I brushed him off
He stung my hand
I killed him
in a fury of pain and surprise
It all took less than 10 seconds
from encounter to death

I didn't agonize over it
But it got me thinking
about pain and fury
and impulse when the weapon
is a gun and not a paperback
The provocateur is human
and not a yellow jacket

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Understanding where it goes

Today is my first day of a week of tracking where my times goes in 15-minute increments. I'm doing the record keeping in my creative journal and just listing a thumbnail sketch of what I do every 15 minutes. Today turned out to be much cooler than anticipated (thanks to the Goddess for some heat relief), so I ended up doing things outside (dead-heading plants, sweeping the terrace and porches, household chores, some work, reading on the swing with at least one cat always beside me.

I've been asking my coach about time management techniques and he suggested this activity. "It's tedious," he said, "but very valuable. You'll see where time is leaking away and you'll see if you're using your time wisely and just trying to do too much."

I was headed out for vacation the last time I talked to him so I agreed to do it this week. If I'd thought of it yesterday, I could have started then but no matter. I've kept track today and will see how the week goes. If you decide to do this too, let me know what you discover.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Staying out of dread

I have little to no equanimity when it comes to hot weather. I tolerated the summers of rural Virginia and western Pennsylvania with air conditioning and learning to move much more slowly but my body responds to high heat with a kind of general malaise (headache, nausea, lethargy) that is most unpleasant. So I was happy to move back to Portland where there are few wretchedly hot spells in a summer and most of them come in late August when the days are shorter. I don't have air conditioning in my apartment though the last few years have been much easier in the heat we do get because my new landlord immediately put in good windows and insulation so that I can keep whatever cool I've got going.

For the last 10 days I've been on Whidbey Island north of Seattle and the weather has been idyllic. It was cloudy with a bit of showers the first few days and then mid- to upper 70s with low 50s at night. It stays cooler not only because of the breezes off Puget Sound but also because it is heavily forested and the shade and oxygen made a big difference. So I've escaped the first part of the current Portland heat wave but I am heading home tomorrow for the brunt of it.

Trying very hard to stay in the now of this coolness, this comfort, and deal with the heat when I get there. Hard to do for a comfort junkie.