Friday, June 25, 2010

Hiatus

My life has gotten really complicated and my time short.  I'm going to put this blog on pause for a time.

I'm sorry.

love,
Barb

Friday, June 18, 2010

Humbled


 I spent yesterday scrubbing my house and getting ready for my neighborhood's Civic Association meeting, which I was hosting.  I was expecting between 10-15 people--and who better to talk up my house to everyone they know who is looking than people who already live in the neighborhood?  I prepared as if it was an Open House but with food.  I went grocery shopping and made my own gorgeous antipasti plates, heaped with cheeses and fruits and painstakingly rolled cold cuts and cheeses... I farmed Jane out to a play date (She was blissfully happy but I, naturally, felt very guilty because that's just what I do) and made Ana help me. I cleaned the whole house, did all of the laundry, windexed all surfaces, stashed clutter, etc. When I tell you my Obsessive Compulsiveness was in full bloom, I am, for once, not exaggerating.

My foot was really hurting but I felt like I had to treat this like a marketing event.  We've had no traffic at all since the Open House this past weekend.

Two people showed up. TWO.  One of whom is a neighbor.  The other is the editor of the neighborhood newsletter for which I do the design and layout each month.

We had a good time and I held it together but afterward, when they'd left, I got teary.  All that work, all that expense, all this pain --for nothing. I was embarrassed to have made such a big deal out of something that really wasn't. My husband was so kind to me.  He gave me a big hug and resorted to the Ultimate Measure of Manly Comfort: the fishing metaphor.  "Sometimes you fish all day and never catch anything.  I hope you had at least a little fun fishing."

I went upstairs to bed about 10:00 and could see Ana (12) still awake in her bed.  I went in to kiss her goodnight, still with tears in my eyes. I explained that I was disappointed and embarrassed and felt sort of silly and sad.

She got out of bed and hugged me and looked at me with great concern as she walked me to my bedroom.

"Wait," she said.  "Don't go anywhere."

She disappeared into her room and came running back with a fresh, unused notebook and a blue Flair pen (my favorite writing pen at the moment).

"Here, Mom," she said. "Write about it.  That's what I do to feel better when I'm sad."

And the best part?

She said, "I learned that from you."

Sometimes the gentle butterfly wings of grace and generosity in my life beat such a rush of gratitude and love that it literally topples me over.

I'm living in that today--in the gentle grace of the amazing person I am lucky enough to call my daughter.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Impatience


I have been scarce.

My husband and I have been wrestling with big decisions lately and after much deliberation and back and forth, we've decided to put our house on the market. We have been really busy spiffing and shining and running amok and, while it is certainly impossible to live anywhere but in the present when resembling a headless chicken, it is very hard to live MINDFULLY.

So, the glory of a new day and a new beginning. Today, I am going to listen to the third session of my on-line course with Geneen Roth (since I was so tired during the live session that I couldn't stay awake until the end) and I'm going to focus on slowing down and being in the moment.

Just now, I took the dogs outside to throw the ball for them and tire them out and I stood among my garden beds and felt this unbelievable impatience as I looked at all of the green tomatoes and the tiny ears of corn. I want home grown garden produce NOW!!

It's a good metaphor for life in the modern world that I want everything fast and on demand. I'd love to be whole and healthy and thin and at peace and I want it all NOW. But Nature knows better, see. Nature knows that everything happens in season and when we mess with growing times and fake additives, you get tasteless tomatoes and genetically modified corn that may or may not kill you sooner.

Everything in its own time. That's my focus today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Perennials

I have such a good metaphor for today!  I love it when my garden gives me visual aids.

See this?

Those were a total surprise to me this year.

Last year, I planted some lilies after buying one of those foil wrapped little containers of them for my kitchen table.  Once the blooms were spent, I planted them into a pot that was full of annuals and promptly forgot about them.

Until they started poking their little heads out of the dirt in early April this year.

I've been watching them ever since. I've tended them and weeded them and given them a bit of plant food.

Today, they look like this:


It seems to me that Nature herself is reminding me of resilience and renewal. And also? Reminding me that I, too, am a perennial.

Today, I'm going to focus on remembering that I am worth a little care and tending in order to continue to bloom year after year.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Promises Kept

I think my heart may have grown two sizes today.

Somehow-- amidst all that is broken in me, and a world with oil spills, and the inhumanity of people who are often armed with guns-- the fact that my garden is giving me the promise of this tiny green tomato has filled me with hope.

Today, I am going to live inside that hope. I'm going to return to it whenever I feel knocked back. 

Today, I choose hope.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Playing Ball

So, last night was the second session of the online conference with Geneen Roth, author of "Women Food and God."

Yesterday, on this blog and also my main blog (So, The Thing Is...) I tried to make an oh-so-clever parallel between the behavior of my (completely neurotic) Border Collie Mix and my own behavior.

Judging by the fact that many people sent me dog training advice, apparently I wasn't very clear. What I was TRYING to say is that my dog (Scout) wants to play fetch more than anything else in the world and something keeps stopping him from bringing the ball back to me. Eventually, he remembers that's what he's supposed to do if he wants to play and he starts bringing it back and we lavish him with praise and he is happyhappyhappy until the next time we start to play Fetch when he cannot seem to bring himself to bring the ball back again.


I want to live healthily and mindfully and wow, I want to be kinder to myself. I want to reap the benefits of a life lived fully and not numbly.  I want to once again feel at home in my own body--happy and strong and living every day in that state of grace that comes when you live in harmony with yourself and your body and the world.  I want to do all the right things and lavish praise on myself. I want to freaking play Fetch all day long. But something keeps stopping me from bringing the damn ball back.

Last night, as I got ready to sit down to listen, I wish you could have seen how many ways I didn't bring the ball back.  I poured a big old glass of wine, I ate a handful of marshmallows.  When the call started and Geneen was leading us through a centering exercise, I cleaned my kitchen sink.  I did everything I possibly could not to show up with the damn ball and play.

And then I spoke to myself sharply (because that's all I know to do) and I sat down and Geneen Roth blew my world wide open.

Geneen talks about The Voice (which I call, "The Editor") and she gave such a spot-on impersonation of the voice in my head and the way I talk to myself that I just put my head down on my desk and started to cry. It was so vicious and horrible and she said all the things I say to myself every day.  Things you wouldn't say to a dog --that *I* wouldn't say to SCOUT. About what a failure I am and how dare I think that I can change myself or my life? Who do I think I am, wanting more?  Everyone knows I'm too lazy and stupid to achieve anything.

Under the weight of those words--MY WORDS--I couldn't even lift my head.

And then she gave us some tools for shutting up The Voice.

Can you imagine how freeing it is to be able to tell your inner Editor to shut the heck up?  It's AWESOME.

Today, I am going to concentrate on that.  Every time I start to talk to myself without respect or in some sort of demeaning fashion, I'm going to do something kind for myself.

After 45 years, it stops today.

Anyone else here feel like jumping up and down?

(I just have to say that if you have any extra money and you deal with some of the same issues I deal with --especially a disconnect between your body, your brain, and food-- this conference is worthy of your consideration.  It's not too late to join.  You get the replays of the sessions for download (for me this is vital because I don't take everything in the first time).  You can easily listen to the first two session before the third and if you can't commit to sitting down every Tuesday night for six week, you can listen to the replays at your leisure.  Here's the link. I am not affiliated with Geneen in any way, nor this conference. But it has been so worth it for me to put aside all of my preconceived notions of what I understood about my relationship with food and try to embrace an entirely different approach.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fetch

We have two dogs.

Our older dog, Scout, is a Border Collie mix.
Scout is an interesting animal because, although for a long time I complained that he was dumber than dirt, he's really not.  Actually, he's probably too smart.  He's just so fearful and nuerotic that he is his own worst enemy.

Take, for example, the game of Fetch.

Scout really loves the game of Fetch.  I mean, REALLY, REALLY loves it. I used to say he was the best dog I'd ever seen at bringing the ball back.

Then we got the puppy.  (Who, I guess, we will still call "The Puppy" after he is toothless and on a walker.  Really, he's no longer a puppy.  He is 18 months old.  His actual name is Austin.)

Austin just loves to play.  Anything.  Playing = GOOD in Austin's world.  Austin is smart but he is NOT neurotic.  He's a very simple creature and let me just say, the dog is Big "H" Happy.

He LOVES to play fetch.  When my husband is traveling for business and unable to take the dogs running, the way I  exercise the dogs is to use this thing called a "chuk it" to throw the ball to the far ends of our acre lot.  We do this a LOT.  I've gotten really good at throwing the ball.

Which is a good thing because I have to throw it now so that Scout doesn't get it.

I know, it's just...

If the puppy gets the ball he comes running right back to me and drops it at my feet so that I can throw it again.

If SCOUT gets the ball, he brings it back half way.
And then he just stands there, waiting for his engraved invitation to bring the ball all the way back.

No amount of cajoling will make him bring it back.  In fact, what I have to do is get all threatening and call him names.

Sometimes we just give up and go inside until he brings the darn ball back.
The thing that's so frustrating is that Scout really WANTS TO PLAY FETCH.  But he's so afraid that someone else (Austin) will grab the ball OR that maybe Austin will get credit for returning the ball, that his fear, confusion, neuroses stops him from doing the very thing he loves the most.

I feel like I am doing exactly the same thing with living mindfully. I want to be in the present and listen to my body and live healthily and fully. And yet, again and again, I find myself bringing the ball only half way back out of fear and uncertainty and habitual blindness.


(I'm posting this on my regular blog, too, because it was a lot of work to add text to the pictures and now I feel the need to show it to everyone!)