Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Baffled by conservative family

I don't come from a particularly large family. I have three siblings, four nieces and nephews, and nine cousins. I am in regular contact with my siblings and we have pretty much the same values, the ones we grew up with. But some of my cousins are another story and our Facebook friendships have become anything but.

There are some differences that have contributed to this. I grew up in Western Oregon, which is quite liberal, and they grew up in Northern Idaho, which is not.I have a lot of education, as do my siblings, and my cousins do not. I appreciate that their lives have been different and have fostered different values in them.

But what I don't understand is the desire of one of my male cousins to make fun of my beliefs. I don't question his. They're his. He's clearly a Trump supporter and a lot of people are. I don't understand what they see in him but I don't question their right to see it. But he clearly questions my right to my opinions and that isn't something that either of us grew up with. Curious.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The joy of stickers

One of my projects this year is to make my art practice sustainable and regular, not just a when-I-have-time practice or a when-I-feel-like-it practice. My coach was surprised to hear I wasn't putting it into my calendar along with other appointments. I'd tried that, I told her, but I just ignored it for things that seemed more pressing, like paid work or a Netflix mystery series. So she challenged me to figure out something that would work.

I thought about my good friend Margaret, who often rewards herself for difficult tasks with stickers. I don't find making art difficult, quite the contrary. It's a source of great joy and pleasure for me. But I find getting to it difficult. So I needed some reward for changing that.

For the last three weeks, I've been using stickers. I get a sticker in my paper calendar if I paint during the day and another sticker if I do something else art-related (watch an instructional video, work on my inventory, sketch, look at other artists' work). I can earn up to 3 stickers a day. and it's absolutely working.

I splurged on some beautiful stickers from the gift shop at the Japanese Garden so they're visually fun too. And it is so satisfying to look at my calendar and see 16 stickers for a week, proof that I'm living into my intention.

What might you use stickers for?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Cremation of Beauty

My father was 16
in August of '33
Rode in an open-back
cattle truck
with friends from school
to dig fire-break trenches
at the Tillamook Burn
350 thousand acres
of old-growth gone
in a month
The ghosts and skeletons were visible
in my own youth
as we drove to the beach
in the summer
Now the Gorge
a kid, a firecracker
friends from school
the same powder-keg conditions
a weapon of mass destruction
The land will heal
but not in the years
I have left
So glad I looked
on each drive up and back
worshipped the green cathedrals
as my friend Mary called them
Now grieving the forest homeless
the countless beings lost
to human foolishness
Aching for the beauty
gone up in smoke

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

From a Stressed Life to Your Best Life

Join me at Portland’s New Renaissance Bookstore for a hands-on workshop on innovative ways to use our time, money, and energy in creating spaciousness and peace of mind. Bring a journal, scissors, and a friend!

Sunday October 1, 2017
2-5 pm

Registration: 503-224-4929

Friday, September 1, 2017

Living from our values

In July I posted a list of the many things I'd like to do and be in my next decade. Of course, that's a list of possibilities, not necessarily commitments. And when I talked to my life coach about it, she reminded me about the filters I want to live by: peace of mind, spaciousness, and contribution. As I prioritze the use of my time, energy, and money, which activities will support those values?

I'm conscious that the three values--peace of mind, spaciousness, and contribution--are actually states of being rather than activities, that they are how I can do things rather than things I can do. And we talked about the fact that how we BE is perhaps much more of a contribution than any single thing we can DO.

What if living in peace of mind and spaciousness is the biggest contribution I or any of us can make to our world right now? Food for thought.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Town crier

His voice rang out
in the dawn stillness
echoing off the roadway
that would hum with commuters
within the hour

Shouts, a jarring laugh
curses, stage whispers
he was young and looked strong
and when I saw
he wasn't on the phone
I didn't linger
to sort out his words

I could only bless him
this member in good standing
of the lost and lonely
who wander untethered
in our city
A town crier
whose news is not so good
a canary in the coal mine
of our failure
towards the least of us

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Being more generous and less accommodating

I have wonderful access in my life to wise and thoughtful teachers and coaches. And one of them recently said this in a workshop on relationships: Be more generous and less accommodating.  At first, this sounds like a contradiction. Isn't accommodating being generous?, someone in the group asked. The teacher said no. There's a whole different kind of energy that comes from generous than comes from accommodating.

Generous is something we generate, we create from inside ourselves. We give from some inner impulse, often one of love and caring. Accommodation, on the other hand, comes in response to something, usually something we don't really want but are willing to accept though not always from love and caring.

Here's an example from my life: A couple of Sundays ago, I spent time across the river in Vancouver painting with my friend Eileen and then visiting with my 96-year-old stepmom for a couple of hours. I got home late in the afternoon and it was hot and I was ready for a shower and my pjs. But I got a call from my friend Pam. She had car trouble and was waiting for a tow truck. Could I meet her at her mechanic's and drive her home?

There wasn't any question in my mind that I'd say yes. She needed help and I could give it. But as I got ready to respond, I realized I could respond from generosity or from accomodation. The difference would be not only in my words and my tone, but also in my body, in my energy. I chose generosity and said, "Sure, how can I best help?" It turned out to be a long wait for her and I picked her a couple of hours later and drove home. It took me an hour. But I could do it with a lightness of being rather than the weight of inconvenience and that was a great learning for me.