Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mystic Biology

I was journaling this morning in front of my picture window, lounging in my hammock chair. It was just after the sun rose, the sky was a light shade of pink and the air was misty. There is always a chorus of birds that sings in the morning, a different symphony every day, but always the music. Looking at my oak tree that sits across the brook and fills my view, I felt amazed at how beautiful everything is in the morning. The tree itself is home to many of the songbird soloists, squirrels, and woodpeckers that are my neighbors. The bark is filled with insect life, thousands of individuals, and the leaves house caterpillars. Each leaf contains hundreds of chloroplasts which take the carbon dioxide we breathe out and turn it into the oxygen we breathe in. Each chloroplast is made up of all sorts of atoms and proteins, a little factory in each tiny spec of green. And I feel that I am alone sometimes! I could really open my eyes this morning, take in my surroundings, and be amazed at what I am a part of. It would be nice if I could take that wonder and amazement into my day, to experience everything as fresh and new and teeming with life and energy. Because I am that as well, I just forget.

Monday, June 29, 2009

"Seeing" things

There are moments when I realize just how out of touch I am with my surroundings. This morning I had one of those moments. I was in the home stretch of a run, and plodded by a house I had passed by every time I have driven down my street and run that route. It is a great house sitting next to a huge field with a barn in the back. The barn sits in the field, and the scene is one from a National Geographic photograph. Today I realized that there was not only one barn and one house on the property, but three additional buildings that looked like smaller barns. I have lived in this location for almost two years now, admiring this house yet never really "seeing it." I didn't just miss the color of the trim, or slant of the chimney, I missed three buildings on the property. Just how much of my world do I miss while I stay busy chattering in my head, making grocery lists or listening to the radio? How many opportunities do I actually miss on a day to day basis? I have been thinking about incorporating a meditation practice into my daily prayer ritual, and today's magically appearing buildings serve as a gentle prodding to actually do it, instead of thinking about it. It would take me five minutes to sit and focus on my breath, and hopefully calm the incessant chatter going on in my head. Summer resolution, exercise serenity muscles.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shower from Heaven

I put on a bridal shower (along with many others) for my sister yesterday, and it went extremely well. The decorations were great, everyone had a fun time with the games, and the food was fabulous. I am the black sheep of our small family, and was the one to act out as a teenager. I made a lot of mistakes, and that girl I was 15 years ago, in only very small ways resembles the woman I am today. I still went into the planning with a desire to shatter the rebellious teenager image that hangs around my neck and screams, "I was a rebel and I am still the same screw up today." I went into the event hoping for reinforcement of my maturity, and acknowledgement of the changes I have made to my personality. What I realised as I was writing today, was that I am the biggest contributor to the image. I am the one who is frequently trying to overcompensate for past behavior. I am the one that needs to accept who I was then as well as believe in who I am today. It is not up to other people to help me with this with reinforcement. It is up to me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Postcards on the Edge

I had an extreme moment of crankiness yesterday at the post office. I had received postcards from family and friends, sent from various world locations. Why do we send postcards anyway? Do we just wish to share a moment of our lives with loved ones (likely)? Or do we wish to rub their noses in the fact that we are in an exotic location and they are stuck at home or at work, bored to tears? Now I know that is not the purpose of a postcard. But it is a great way for me to gage my attitude and make a minor or major adjustment. Yesterday's adjustment was major. Jealousy is a great way to uncover what you actually wish to accomplish in your life. A postcard comes from the streets of Lyon and your ears become green and ooze with slime? Put that on your own personal "Things to do before I die" list. Tear up the postcard from Lake George? Don't waste your money. Stay home and sit in your backyard with an inflatable boat. So the postcards I received from everyone traveling the world yesterday saved me a hefty sum at the travel agency. I know where I want to go, thank you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Holding out for a Hero

Bonnie Taylor sings, "I need a hero/ I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night/ He's gotta be strong and he's gotta be fast/ And he's gotta be fresh from the fight." What I wonder is why we as women need heroes? I love this song, it seems to speak to something in me that needs that knight in shining armor atop a black steed that will sweep me off my feet, and take out my garbage. Is it just an ingrained idea, 1 damsel in distress, and a knight or Hercules, the male hero that comes to save her? Where are the female heroes? Why aren't they sweeping the knight off his feet? Because the female heroes are women we do not want to become. They are the spinsters and crones. They are made into the bad guy, or gal, like Cinderella's sisters. They are outspoken about what they want (Prince) and will do anything to get it (make Cinderella stay home from the ball.) Meanwhile Cinderella just stands there and the man sweeps her off her feet. So women stand around waiting for the knight to come and lift our laundry out of the car, when we should be demanding that the knight help us. That would make us more like the wicked step sisters, but it would also help us to become more self sufficient. I want to be a hero, I just do not know how. All I know is that if I am pretty enough and stand back and wait quietly, my knight will come, and then he will mow my lawn.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why should I be scared? Everything is perfect.

I ran away this weekened. Or maybe I ran to. I escaped to the coast, drove my two Siberian huskies out to this fabulous bed and breakfast in Hyannis Port, Ma. It was the perfect setting to forget all of the stuff going on around me and hang out with God, one on one. I did not access my email, rarely answered my cell phone, and drove up and down the coast, stopping to hike a section of the rail trail, then find a cute town to shop in. This was my very first big girl vacation, I was on my own, without a man or family. Emotions surfaced, loneliness surfaced, self pity surfaced, and then after everything was out in the open, I was able to sit in the sand at the National Seashore and ask God for help. It was foggy, and I could only see a little way out into the Atlantic. I sat with my dogs, wind whipping my hair, and the fog lifted, the blue sky emerged and the head of a harbor seal popped out of the water, bobbed there for a minute, then vanished. Everything I ever need has always been there for me, all the time. I just can't see it through my fear. The next step is always in front of me, I just forget to take it. Everything was perfect this weekend, despite the rain and wind and doggie accidents. Grace, my white husky, chased waves, tried to eat seaweed and was happy to see every single biker on the path. I was the one forgetting the magnificence of the outside world. Now I have sand in my car to remind me that the fog does always clear, and I will never stumble if I just keep moving straight ahead and watching where my feet land.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ritual Hairy Encounter

I reside with four felines, three of which sleep with me, curled up between legs, balanced on hip and flopped over forehead. We have a morning ritual, I set the clock for 5:14, and hit the snooze button three times before finally waking at 5:38. Somehow my companions know what time I really get up, as they never wake me before the correct moment. At 5:38 however, they are competing for attention and I have to make sure to pet all of them. Three cats weaving in and out of arm's reach keeps me busy for a few moments before I hit my knees and ask God for help throughout my day. The cats are my primer, they instantly connect me to spirit, little deities in feline bodies. They tell me that I am the most wonderful, loved, person on the planet, and help me to connect and get in "touch" with my day. My first waking moments are chock full of unconditional love, first from my cats, then from my prayers, which just might be one and the same.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anything Can Be Done in 4 Miles

That was my mantra today as my feet hit the pavement and my shin splints decided to say hello. I have rambled on about running before, but today I was able to stay in the mile and the minute. It is June in the lovely Berkshire Hills and June means horseflies. These pesky little creatures love carbon dioxide, movement and heat, the three things that are abundant while running. They are also a lot faster than I am. I have tried to runaway from them, and they still fly ahead, waiting for me down the path, as I sprint in an effort to escape. Standing in the middle of the road flailing does not work as well. The only thing that worked was to focus on my breath, come back into my body and focus on my run. Only then was I able to slap my hand down on my arm at the correct moment and make contact. Normally a peaceful person, I have come to terms with the fact that I will kill these pests. Give me spiders, snakes, moles and mice, and I will cohabitate. I will eat tofu and drink soy milk, but I draw the line here. They did however, help me to stay mindful today, to feel my muscles instead of zoning out, and to stay present to the nature that surrounds me when I run outside. If I can stay present for four miles, anything can be done.

Notes from the Universe

This is a site I highly recommend. You can sign up for free, and receive a note from the Universe every day. They are a huge source of inspiration.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I am looking out my picture window right now, it is a beautiful day, birds singing, a gentle breeze and tufts floating around from Cottonwood trees. The stream is flowing after last nights heavy rain and everything is green, an early summer's green. But as I sit here I am stuck in my head, thoughts whirling around, as if they were shoved into the washing machine and set to spin. The spin cycle doesn't work if the clothes are already dry. So why are they spinning? I had a run in with someone the other day. She yelled at me and now refuses to look at me. What I have learned is that I do not need friendships that end in anger. What I have yet to learn is that not everyone has to like me. I still find my sense of self from the faces looking at me, the words said about me, the grades given my essays. Am I a straight A student or a friend who listens, or am I a child of God, lovable in every way. It seems like the leap is hard for me to make, but maybe I do not have to leap. Maybe just a step will do. Maybe I can let go of this budding friendship and look at all of the beautiful people I have in my life already who love me to pieces. Maybe one day I can get to the place where a B just means I need more practice instead of that I am not worth an A. Maybe, just maybe.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tag Saleing my way to God

What is it about Saturday morning tag sales in June? I start off, my list in hand and make my way to the first destination. It is a multi family sale, with many houses participating in the small New England town. The first stop I see nothing. I continue and find a corner shelf that may do the trick, but I am unsure. The third stop is the treasure trove, packaged greeting cards and magnets. I love cards, the artwork, the paper. I have an addiction to paper products, note cards, knowledge cards, post its, you name it. I make my purchase and the hunt is on. I am seeking another treasure, and I know it is just at that next destination. Can we get to the sale across town? But we need to have lunch. But what if the perfect item is there and we miss it? Bargain hunting kind of reminds me of my spiritual path, as twisted as it is, I am always looking for something better, something that will finally complete me. Is it the book on meditation or the new yoga prop? Could it be the tarot card set or the crystal? These are all quick fixes and what I have been realising lately is that although God can be a quick fix, I must first have a relationship with her. A simple prayer does so much more that a get spiritual quick program. But just as a marriage takes time and energy to make work, I need to take the time and energy to have a relationship with my higher power. It is always there, I do not have to go down the street for the next treasure, I just need to sit, take a deep breath, close my eyes and say hi.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Running as Prayer

I recently started running again after a 5 month hiatus. In the first few weeks I questioned whether or not I belonged locked up someplace. Who would do that to themselves? After the initial training period in which I thought I just might die in the middle of the road, I caught my stride. Running for me has always been relaxing. I hit the road cranky and full of anger and I come back too tired to be irritable anymore. Could be that I am just too tired to be angry, or it could be the fact that my daily runs are a spiritual practice. Every footfall creates a beat, I connect with the earth, I connect with my breath and body and ultimately, I connect with God. My mind is still going around in circles, gripes come up, but I am forced to pay attention to my relationship with the surrounding landscape as well as the interior landscape (aka my screaming lungs). I accomplish something and I take care of my body, which is the first to be neglected throughout the day. Years of abuse, alcohol, food, cigarettes and caffeine did not signal to God that I was worthy of love, or that I took care of what I had been given. When I run, I kind of let God know that I am taking care of her creation, that I am willing to be open to change and to learn and grow (and hopefully fit into my skinny jeans at the same time). My running mantra, Thank (footfall) You (footfall) Gasp.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Or, the easiest way to save my butt when it is on fire.
Recipe for Gratitude
1. Grab a couple of friends to play along.
2. Create an email with these friends in the CC line
3. Title it Monday's Grats, or Tuesday's Gratitudeliciousness.
4. Write what you are grateful for.
5. Send
6. Your friends will hit, Reply all and write what they are grateful for.
7. This will not only help to get your head out of your ass, but will keep you in close touch with friends.
This list might grow, so beware. There are 30 something ladies on mine. I save them in a folder so that when I am feeling particularly cranky and unreasonable I can just reread just how fabulous my life really is.
8. Serve with love and compassion.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Self Righteousness is not a bowl of cherries

Yesterday I expounded on the audacity of a newspaper thief. Self righteousness run rampant. Watch out world. They stole from ME? When my teenage son handed me the paper yesterday after getting home from school I had to laugh. The universe has such a sense of humor, and enjoyed a great big laugh at my expense. But the question is, can I laugh at myself? What is the big deal anyway? I get wrapped up in so many of life's details I forget that I really have it good. My refrigerator is stocked with yummy tofu and veggies, I have a beautiful apartment that is quiet and serene, and many fabulous friends. But if someone runs a red light, the sky could be falling and the world coming to an end. So what to do, love rather than be loved, or just lighten up? Whatever I choose today, self righteous indignation or grateful serenity will ultimately chart the course of my day. It is really up to me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No News

Someone stole my newspaper today. I left this morning, a little lazy, driving right past it out of the driveway, to return, three hours later. I found the plastic bag it was packed in, ripped open at the knot and draped nicely over the split rail. The paper itself was only worth 60 cents, but I cannot let it go. Not only did the person steal my 60 cents (I am a student living off loans) they left their trash for me to pick up, and I cannot even reuse the bags like I usually do. Self justified anger sets in, then judgement. Obviously, I think, the thief must be a jerk, a literate jerk, but a jerk nevertheless. I could write a scathing Letter to the Editor, but jerks probably only read the horoscopes and lotto numbers, not the Letters. I spend precious time and energy thinking of ways to even the score. How dare someone steal from me? Do they know how nice I am? I stumble down the path to feeling violated, they were in my driveway, they had to stop and stoop to pick the paper out of the pile of leaves and dirt it was laying on. They had to rip open the bag, take the paper out and drape the bag over the fence railing. In my driveway.
These are the moment when the Saint Francis Prayer is hard to adhere to. Love rather than be loved, forgive rather than be forgiven. I can forgive serial murderers, but I cannot seem to find an ounce of compassion for the thief who stole my 12 pages of news, most of which I skim anyways. What is so unforgivable? The fact that they stole from, gasp, me? Or the fact that they invaded my space? This incident just points out the fact that I have long road to travel, in order to be in alignment with God. I have opportunities every day to accept people for who they are, sticky fingers and all. Tomorrow, when I leave the house, I will make sure and pick up my paper. I will save the plastic bags that it is wrapped in and I will skim the headlines before placing it in a pile to be recycled. Or maybe, just maybe I will place it by the side of my driveway for someone else to read.

Friday, June 5, 2009


What is there to fear in having a relationship with God? Peace, freedom, happiness. Real scary stuff.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Transitions

Did I forget God, walking across that bridge? Probably.
Dear God, help me to walk gracefully through the different transitions I face today. Comfort me when I get scared and be there in case I want to fall. Help me to allow new experiences and release the old. Help me to remember that I am right where I need to be today.