Category Archives: Colorado

Gratitude Friday

cityparksunrise031. The sky in Colorado. It does stuff like the above, all the time and for no special reason, sunrise and sunset and everything in between. This happened the other morning while we were walking Sam at City Park. Luckily Eric had his phone so we could get a picture of it. This is one of the reasons I get up early, leave for a walk while it’s still dark. This.

2. Red Table, my favorite cafe that was scheduled to close for good on December 22nd is not disappearing, just moving. Once a new lease is signed, they’ll announce where to, and there will be dancing in the streets, even if it’s just me, a flash mob of one.

redtableburrito3. Yoga Teacher Training at Om Ananda Yoga, (I’m official, all signed up and ready to go, we start in January) and a new yoga mat from Eric for my birthday. I am so excited to see how this is going to shift my practice, my relationship to my body, my life.

newyearseveyoga4. Birthday wishes. Lots of love there.

5. Guest post request from Rachel. She’s taking a blogging break, so “lined up a few great ‘substitute teachers’,” and asked me to be one of them. I am still working out what I’ll write about, but am so excited for the opportunity, so touched and grateful that she asked.

Bonus Joy: Sam. We have (mostly) decided that rather than get a new dog over Winter Break, we are waiting until Spring Break. *sigh* There are lots of really good reasons, but the most relevant is that Eric and I are still feeling the trauma of losing two dogs in a row to fatal cancers and need a bit more time to work with that before being responsible for another life, before inviting another beast in who will eventually break our hearts. The only issue I have with this decision is it isn’t necessarily the best one for Sam, because he needs another dog. He’s developing fears he never had before (the washing machine, which means the dryer too by default, the vegetable steamer, even the toaster because it sometimes sets off the smoke alarm) and will be much happier, calmer once he has another dude.

Mr. Sam, hiding in his bed because I was doing laundry

Mr. Sam, hiding in his bed because I was doing laundry

Gratitude Friday

sanfranbridge051. Spit & Polish. I am only beginning to process the wonder of this workshop, this retreat. I was writing this morning in my journal, listing all the specific things I was grateful for about this past weekend, and I filled two pages. The short version is two supremely wise and kind teachers, a magic location, a group of willing and creative participants, and amazing support staff which included a sweet dog with tiger stripes, a gray muzzle, and ears that stood up only sometimes.

2. 27 Powers Court. As I said, this location is magic. It reminded me of when I finally took my meditation practice seriously enough to create a shrine. I knew that it would enhance my practice, but what surprised me is how that sacred space came with me when I left my meditation cushion, that I carried it with me, took it out into the world, a warm glow in the center of my chest that hummed with energy. 27 Powers Court is like that.

3. Eric, a partner who supports me going even though he hates me being gone, takes care of things at home and where I am, supporting me the whole time I’m away by doing things like telling me not to worry about the parking ticket I got or being fully present and comforting while I tell the story, through tears, of the shame and fear I felt when I thought I’d gotten on the wrong ferry and the workers treated me like I was drunk and the people in the cabin laughed at me, how he made me feel like it was okay in a moment when I just wanted to come home, how he encourages me to go after my dreams.

4. Fall, soup and biscuits for dinner, socks, being cold.

fallfood5. Milder weather in Colorado, less rain, flood waters starting to recede. It’s going to be a long recovery and there’s so much damage, to landscape and roads, to homes and hearts, but the rain has stopped, this storm has passed.

Bonus Joy: Getting to spend time with friends in California, some that I’d never met in person before, even though I already loved them.

Gratitude Friday

1. Colorado peaches, finally in season and so tasty.

2. Seeing Sam with a puppy. We met her on our walk yesterday morning, I knew her mom so we stopped and talked. The play bow Sam did to her made me think about how great it’s going to be when we have another dog again.

3. Clarity. No one can tell me what my path is, only I can know, and I am so grateful to see mine clearly, to know when to say “no.”

4. The surprise of a rabbit on our walk one morning. Sam is convinced they are some kind of squirrel (which triggers his prey drive, his need to herd, makes him crazy), and when he sees one, he starts checking the nearby trees. The idea of a rabbit climbing a tree makes me laugh every time.

5. The magic of a heron flying over our house. We’d seen one earlier at the river, but the sight of one flying down the street we live on felt like a blessing.

Bonus Joy: Looking at pictures of Dexter we’d forgot on Eric’s ipod. In this one, he’d been playing in the hose and he’s got on his “quit taking pictures of me” grumpy face. I miss him so much, but am so grateful that I still can see his sweet face.

dexsprinklerface

#augustbreak2013 Day 13

Home

This concept is always a bit tricky for me, as there are two places I consider home: Colorado and Oregon.

homeI love our little house, our little life in Fort Collins, with the gardens in front and back, the lilacs along the fence and by the mailbox, the trees we’ve planted and the ones now gone that we still remember, the Rocky Mountain Bee Plants that surprised us one year and return each spring to feed the riot of bees, the hardwood floors and the patterned plaster ceilings, the elementary school around the corner and our favorite park so close. The layout of the house is almost exactly like the one I grew up in, and I love that, loved that house, that home too. One reason it will be difficult to let this one go now, if we ever do, is that two of my dogs died here, and as weird as it might sound, that is a precious thing.

oceanviewAnd yet, half my heart still lives in Oregon, splitting its time between the Willamette Valley and the Central Oregon Coast.

samonthecouchBut the truest home I have is this: home is where my dog is (dogs are), and wherever that is, he’s (they’re) probably with Eric, so even better.

Book Writing Saturday

Sanctuary: a place of refuge or safety, a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept.

Yesterday in my writing group, we did a guided meditation in which we constructed a creative sanctuary. Somewhere we could go whenever we needed it, imagined yes, but tangible and whole nonetheless. I went into this the same way I do everything else: having already made up my mind. If I were to have such a place, of course it would be a cabin in the mountains.

The first part of the meditation was to imagine a path leading to our sanctuary. What manifested for me was a path of sand. I have a friend who just got back from Hawaii, so I assumed this was placing my sanctuary in a tropical location, and I resisted. This was not right, the path should be stone or dirt. I tried to force it, to see that instead, but every time I tried to place that image over what was already in my mind, it immediately dissolved and the sand path asserted itself again.

When we reached the part of the meditation where we were to go inside and look around, it all made sense. There were two full walls of windows and as soon as I saw the view, I new it was right: the beach at Waldport. Not a tropical location at all, but rather the place where half my heart lives.

I love Colorado. My job is here, I own a home here, my tiny little family lives here, and I am in love with the beauty of this land, specifically northwestern Colorado–the mountains, the Poudre River, the animals, the rocks, the sky and the trees. I love living in Fort Collins, having the university campus and Old Town both so close, but also living far enough north that it’s not unusual to see a fox running down the road in the middle of the afternoon, or to have neighbors that have horses and chickens. I love having so many parks and wild places in town to walk the dogs, and so many close places to hike.

And yet, half of my heart lives in Waldport, Oregon. Every other year, we try to plan a month long vacation there, and the rest of the time, I dream about it, miss it. I’m not sure I could ever again live year round with the gray sky and rain of the Pacific Northwest, but it still is home to me. It made total sense that if I would imagine a sanctuary, this is the place my heart would wish for, the location my mind would imagine.

Even though the location made total sense, I was surprised by what I found inside. My creative process usually seems so focused on a goal, on a product, I expected that to be the case in my sanctuary. We were guided to see the things we were working on, to imagine them, but what I saw was more about process and practice: a yoga mat, a comfortable and cozy place to read and dream (a huge white heavy cotton sectional couch facing the windows), a meditation shrine and cushion, art supplies and a computer, stacks of journals and books, a large kitchen with a long farm table that could seat at least 10, either for dinner or making art or simply “shooting the shit.” Rather than a private art studio with evidence of many completed projects, it was a retreat space that could be used by just me or welcome a larger group.

The NaBloPoMo prompt for yesterday was “If you could live anywhere, where would it be?” The clear answer is I would live most of the year in Fort Collins, Colorado, and spend summers in Waldport, Oregon. I dream of a day when I have a real sanctuary on the beach there, one that I can use but also share with others who need a retreat space, a safe place to rest and dream and play, a place of comfort, a space to practice, a sanctuary.

Leaving Home, Going Home

They say that home is where the heart is. I would agree with this, but the problem for me is half my heart lives in Oregon and the other in Colorado, with my body shuttling between the two. And yet, I don’t ever feel like I am living with half a heart, or carrying the ghost of another half, more like I have two full hearts residing in two different locations, but somehow still connected, like twins who can feel each others pain, sense what the other is experiencing.

This morning I discovered that other than the first day of July, when I correctly wrote “7-1-12” in my journal, I’ve been dating every entry with a “6” and thus giving myself a whole extra month of June. With the weather here at the coast never getting much warmer than mid-60s, you could almost believe in two Junes.

Cape Foulweather

But now it’s time to go back, to temperatures in the high 90s, to a place that was on fire when we left and is now in the thick of sadness, confusion, and anger brought on by another kind of tragedy. Yesterday, all I wanted to do was watch HGTV and sleep, which is rare. I hardly ever watch that much TV anymore–when I am “sick” maybe (too depressed and tired to get dressed and leave the house, barely able to get out of bed), but I haven’t been that for a long time now. This post from Jennifer Louden helped yesterday, “Ways to Channel Fear and Sadness,” reminded me of what I already know to be true. She ends the post with this: “We are human and fragile and afraid – together.  Never alone, my friend, never alone.”

Later in the day, I even found myself smiling a little.

There are a lot of lasts today: last full day at the beach, last sleep in this house, last farmer’s market, last serving of marionberry cobbler (*sob*). Walking on the beach this morning, talking about how this last month went by so fast (the kind of talk that always reminds me of this post on A Design So Vast, where Lindsey’s daughter says to her “When you’re in them, days take a long time.  But then when you look back they went really fast”–brilliant, and exactly…), I asked Eric “how do you get your life to slow down?”

Farmer’s Market this morning in Newport, our last one

Eric answered: less internet, less tv, less feeling like you have to be “on,” checking in and connected. I know from practice that slowing down is about relaxing into the moment, remaining present, surrendering, no judgement or rejection, no plans or control or even hope. Let go. Give up your agenda. Pay attention. Breathe. It’s simple, but we make it so hard.

South Beach, south of Newport, where we walked/ran this morning while being chased by 100 mosquitoes trying to eat us

Much love to you, kind and gentle reader. I have a post for tomorrow, but won’t be doing a Something Good list this week, as we’ll be on the road to Colorado, moving from this home to that one.