Friday, October 20, 2017

Three things that make living spaciously easier for me

This year, my major intention has been to live my life more spaciously and use peace of mind as a filter for my decisions. When I do this, my life is so much better and when I don't, it isn't so great so I know that I'm on to something Here are three things that help me do that.

Do one thing at a time. When I write blog posts, that's what I do. When I do paid work, I do paid work. When I read for fun, I just read. No email, no Facebook. I might get up to stretch and get some water, but I take an intentional break and say no to the interruption of distractions and the myth of multi-tasking. 

Don't do any one thing for too long a time.  While it's great when I get absorbed in my work, it's not so great when I finally get up from the desk. So I set my phone alarm for 20 minutes whatever activity I'm involved in and do something quite different. In fact, I keep a list of computer-related tasks and a list of more physical activities so that I can balance screen time with doing the dishes or unclogging the bathroom sink.

Don't substitute just anything when what we want is something specific. I've put myself in some stressful situations lately because I've accepted invitations that I felt lukewarm about. I knew what I wanted--some time with a couple of close friends--but they weren't available and so I said yes to some other possibilities. However, they weren't what I wanted and while, like most of us, I know how to make the best of a situation, I don't want to do that if I can avoid it. It reminds me a lot of my active food addition days when I'd eat something sweet I didn't like (dark chocolate or raisins, for example) when what I really wanted was caramels or ice cream. Life's too short to settle.

When I practice these ideas, my life is more spacious. What makes your life more spacious?



Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Movie Review as Poem

I'd been told to go
Do it big screen
--You won't be sorry
And I wasn't
Two hours
emotional roller coaster
intimate
global
realistic
pictorial
I was drowning
in a sinking ship
being strafed and bombed
on the open stretches
of beach
outswimming an oil fire
on the waves
Flying on the shoulder
of the Spitfire pilot
As he used up his fuel
to protect and serve
I lived the terror
desperation
sacrifice
heroism

viscerally
for two hours
Dunkirk
What a movie should be

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Challenge of Staying Awake to the World

The news gets worse and worse. Natural disasters exacerbated by our choices and those thrust upon us by the greedy and powerful. A rampant culture of violence against others by those in despair and rage. Polluted water and air. The stupidity of teenagers with fireworks who set off a widespread chain reaction of destruction and death in a nearby forest. If I let myself get overwhelmed by all this, a few dozen drinks or a few gallons of ice cream seem pretty tempting.

It didn't take me long in sobriety and abstinence to figure out that the challenge wasn't in giving up the drink or the food, it was being willing to stay awake and to do it all the time. To be present to what is going on in my life and in my world. To keep my eyes open and my heart open too. If I did that, I would see the astounding beauty of the world and the equally enormous suffering. And I would need to learn to do what I could and sit with the rest.

These days I'm finding this challenging. I want to numb myself into a sugar-induced nap for the afternoon. I want to watch mindless TV on an overly full stomach. I want a drink. I won't do that. I know only too well where it leads, but I want it to all go away for a while. Las Vegas. Houston. Florida. Puerto Rico. Eagle Creek and the Gorge. Feeling a lot of sadness today. 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Poem for my friend Brian



Sitting in the dark with strangers
the bright glow
of a hundred candles
warming the space
that separates us
in a circle
that binds us

Words, tears, revelations
as the high holy days begin
in a religion not my own

We asked for what we needed
forgave each other
for what we could
no longer carry
alone
Accepted our truth,
our responsibility
for this life
for this world
Invoked the names
and the nameless
of those gone before us

I opened myself up
to belonging
Ritual helps me do so
and I forget that I need that
in this life
in this world

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Love this quote

"Progress on a project changes everything. It changes the work--it exists!--but it also changes you. It gives you power over your life and choice that so few people have."

Jessica Abel, Growing Gills

Monday, September 25, 2017

The weight of the world

Humans aren't built
to carry the weight
of the world
We can manage
the cares of

our tribe
our community
but the larger scale
the global view
won't fit on our narrow shoulders
We can care for family
neighbors
and some of those we don't know
but the plastic-filled oceans
with dying sea lions
and nuclear fish
the melting poles
and starving white bears
the hurricanes and forest fears
the greed and corruption
that cares for no one but self
is beyond our ken
beyond our kin
Many of us try
We pick up a few hundred pounds
of what's wrong
work to solve
dog fighting
sex trafficking
racist hate
child neglect
but we weary quickly
the impotence to change anything
too discouraging
and we go back
to our own life
already fraught with
its own sadness
from accident, cancer
factory closures
old mistakes  
our own or someone else's

Humans aren't built
to carry the weight
of the world

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.