Category Archives: Reverb14

Reverb 14: Day 31

nourish2015Project Reverb prompt: “What’s on tap for next year? Share your big (or small) goals with us. Why did you pick those goals? Are these things you’ve always wanted to do? How are you going to get them done?”

My guiding word for next year is “nourish.” This means to feed and to cherish, my primary goals for the coming year. This will require making some very clear, careful choices. I need to consider exactly what I want to feed, what I cherish. Earlier in this year’s reverbing, I mentioned the story Pema Chödrön tells about feeding the right wolf. It’s from the first chapter of her book Taking the Leap.

There was a story that was widely circulated a few days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, that illustrates our dilemma. A Native American grandfather was speaking to his grandson about violence and cruelty in the world and how it comes about. He said it was as if two wolves were fighting in his heart. One wolf was vengeful and angry, and the other wolf was understanding and kind. The young man asked his grandfather which wolf would win the fight in his heart. And the grandfather answered, “The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed.”

I want to feed and cherish my relationships. My marriage, my friendships, my family, my dogs, my self.

I want to feed and cherish my work. I’m not sure of the specifics, but it will certainly involve writing and teaching.

I want to feed and cherish my practice — writing, meditation, yoga, and dog.

I want to feed and cherish my body. To continue to find all the ways it wants to be healthy, how I can support its wellness, how I can be embodied sanity.

I want to feed and cherish my creativity. Reading, making art, taking long walks with a camera in my pocket, enjoying what other artists offer.

Reverb14: Day 20 and 21

retreat

Yes, I brought twinkle lights with me on retreat. Somehow I needed them.

This is my last morning on retreat with Susan Piver at Shambhala Mountain Center. It is also the shortest day and longest night of the year. It’s super windy outside this morning and I still need to shower and pack before heading to breakfast. We’ll walk up together to meditate and write in the stupa this morning, and later I’ll drive home and see my tiny family and most likely crap out for the rest of the day. A lot has happened in the past few weeks and I am really tired right now, but also feeling so content and strong. I’ve had a better internet connection here than the last time I stayed, so I can share this with you now, kind and gentle reader.

Reverb14: Day 20

Project Reverb prompt: “What products have you discovered this year that you love?  Tell us all about them, and why you love them.”

This isn’t a product so much as a person, although she does produce a sort of product – music: Daniella Andrade. I am especially in love with her Christmas EP right now. She has such a beautiful voice.

Reverb14 prompt: “How could you make space for joy in the year to come? How could you protect it?”

It seems like the key to making space for joy is making space for me to relax. I don’t mean the sloppy or asleep kind of relaxing, but rather what happens when I stop pushing, rushing, smashing and grabbing.

Reverb14: Day 21

Project Reverb prompt: “What did you get rid of this year?  Physical things you tossed out or donated?  Or did you purge a bad relationship, job, etc…?”

We let go of our land line. I cleaned out my linen closet. I got rid of clothes that were uncomfortable, worn, or things I just didn’t like or wear. I stopped dieting and weighing myself. I’m slowly allowing my hair to revert to its natural coloring without highlights and I’m not getting it cut so much. The thing I still haven’t been able to do, even though he’s been gone for almost a year and a half, is to change the lock screen image on my phone from the picture of my sweet Dexter.

Reverb14 prompt: “Today, I’d like you to revisit what you wrote on 1 December on the first day of Reverb14. How does that compare to where you are now i.e. what can you say today with certainty? Then, without thinking too hard about it, grab a pen and some paper and finish the following sentences:

In 2015, I am open to…
In 2015, I want to feel…
In 2015, I will say no to…
In 2015, I will know I am on the right track when… But when I find myself veering off course, I will gently but firmly…
In December 2015, I want to look back and say…”

I would say the same things I did on December 1st, and the only thing I might add is that even though I might understand bad things happen, can happen at any time, I am still surprised and upset when they do, and knowing what can happen doesn’t make it any easier when it does.

In 2015, I am open to new opportunities, whatever might arise and surprise me, take me in a direction I wasn’t necessarily expecting.

In 2015, I want to feel nourished, fed and cherished. I want to feel joy. I want to feel love. I want to feel ease and comfort.

In 2015, I will say no to taking on more than I can handle, things that feel like a “should,” anything motivated by aggression, smashing myself to bits or beating myself up, restriction and control, moving or eating in a way that isn’t about being hungry for it.

In 2015, I will know I am on the right track when I feel at ease and clear. But when I find myself veering off course, I will gently but firmly redirect, let go and come back.

In December 2015, I want to look back and say I’m healthy and well, made choices guided by wisdom and compassion.

 

Reverb14: Day 19

reverb14withtext

Project Reverb prompt: “What did you wrestle with in 2014?  What did you learn?  What challenges do you foresee in 2015?”

I wrestled with conflicting desires. On the one hand, I want to do a good job at CSU, earn my benefits and pay, but on the other hand I’m yearning to do more of my own thing, teaching and writing outside that context. On the one hand, I want to be in relationship and of service, but on the other hand I want to be utterly alone and selfish. On the one hand I want to be a part of the digital world, but on the other hand I want to be disconnected. On the one hand I want to have all the things, but on the other hand I want nothing more than a simple, minimal life.

I wrestled with time. There’s so much I want to do on any given day, and then there are the necessities of things like sleeping and taking a shower and feeding myself, and I try to fit it all in but there just isn’t enough time.

I wrestled with grief and impermanence. I still miss Dexter so much, Obi too. I have two dogs and love them, but they’ll die too, as will everyone I love. As will I.

I wrestled with myself. With my own suffering and confusion, with my ego, with my impatience and discomfort and irritation, with the ways of being and habits that no longer serve me, with the short sighted ways I try to soothe and comfort myself.


Reverb14 Prompt: “What sorts of signs and symbols have recurred for you in 2014? Think: repeating colours, shapes, people, sayings, music, images, ideas. Where could they possibly be leading you?”

Repeating numbers. Time (11:11 am) and word counts for something I’m writing (1111). The colors turquoise and purple. All things related to practice, specifically writing and yoga and meditation, showing up in places you wouldn’t expect them.

But I don’t know if these are signs meant to lead me somewhere so much as things I’m noticing because I’m looking for them, because I’m paying attention and already know where I’m going – like when you are looking for a particular street, knowing once you find it that’s where you’ll turn.

Reverb14: Day 18

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “Did you have an “ah ha” moment this year? Was it a big one? Or just a small enlightenment?”

My life is one “ah ha” moment after another, sometimes with moments of stillness between but other times rapid fire, one after the other in quick succession with barely any time to process one before another comes. That has a lot to do with me, with my perspective. I am open to it, waiting for it, expecting it. I am constantly looking for meaning, studying, watching and listening, wanting to figure things out. This year I realized I can’t do all the things, that my current approach is unsustainable. I became a beginner again and found that there’s so much to learn from that position, so much I can offer by being there. I was reminded that my focus, my foundation has to be self-compassion in order to do what I came here to do. Practice is essential, the only dependable constant. And all that matters or means anything is love, love, love.


Reverb14 prompt: “In the busyness of the everyday, taking time to nourish the soul doesn’t reach the top of the ‘to do’ list as often as it should. What nourishes your soul? How would you like to incorporate more of this into your life in 2015?”

The origin of the word nourish is a Latin word that means both to feed and to cherish. Spoiler alert: nourish is my word for 2015. I’m going to seek out nourishment in every aspect of my life. As for my soul, there is a lot of reading, studying, writing to do in order to foster a connection to my inherent wisdom, compassion, and power, seated in my soul. Kindness and gentleness in the form of forgiveness, self-compassion, quiet and stillness and rest are also a way to incorporate more nourishment into my life in the next year. And practice, as always, is at the center of it all.


Programming note: I am leaving late this afternoon for Shambhala Mountain Center to do a writing and meditation retreat with my dear friend and meditation instructor Susan Piver. The internet connection on “the land” is pretty sketchy, so I’ll be taking the next few days off, back to blogging either late Sunday or Monday, catching up then with the Reverb days I missed. Have a wonderful weekend, kind and gentle reader. I adore you. ❤

Reverb 14: Day 17

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “What sort of work did you do in 2014? Was it new to you? Did you take on new responsibilities? Change jobs? Or take on a new task at home?”

This past year, my job at CSU shifted. I became the Communications Coordinator for the English Department. Some of what I do is the same as before, but I am also now in charge of a department blog and other various departmental communications, with two interns to help me. It’s been a nice change, a perfect blending of what I’m good at and what they need.

I also became a yoga instructor. Even though I’ve practiced for eight years now and been a teacher of other things for almost 15 years, teaching yoga was something altogether new. What makes it so fundamentally different is the way it embodies what I’m teaching. Sure I could teach just by leading with my words and walking around the room giving adjustments, but typically I’m practicing right along with my students, a living example of the poses. Considering the body issues I’ve been working with recently, this was a big challenge, a good opportunity, a chance to practice self-compassion.


Reverb14 prompt: “How can you stop being an a**hole, get out of your own way and make room for more of your magic to happen in 2015?”

I can stop pushing myself. It’s ironic to give that answer since in giving it, in this very moment I’m pushing myself. I’ve had a really rough week (my father-in-law almost died and my husband flew to Oregon to be with him and his mom, who after 21 years of marriage are my parents too), and with an unexpected shift to being responsible for everything at home and the stress of not knowing what was going to happen in a week when I already had way too much to do has worn me down. I’m so tired today and have been hungry for lunch for at least an hour, but I keep pushing myself to get just a few more things done. It’s a way of living that just isn’t sustainable and I need to stop before I crash — check myself before I wreck myself. It’s essential that I slow down to get more done, which is a complete paradigm shift from my current “go faster, do more, keep going” model.

Reverb14: Day 16

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “There’s the old saying that a photo is worth 1,000 words.  Give us a photo with that impact that sums up some significant event of your 2014, or give us 1,000 words about a pivotal moment in 2014.”

Reverb14 prompt: “Like many folks, I picture myself as a modern day Wonder Woman, trying to use my superpowers, to do lists and pure force to get what I want. In 2014, I found that my effort wasn’t often tied to my desired outcomes — except when it was. In 2015, is there something you’d like to try harder at because you believe it would make all the difference? Conversely, what is something you could stop trying so hard at that might actually help you manifest what you’d like?”

I’m going to try harder to be well, to be a better friend to myself. This involves so many things. It means taking care of my physical health. It means eating well. It means moving my body. It means resting and getting enough sleep. It means practicing. It means prioritizing myself in a way I just haven’t. It means trusting myself. It means listening, fully and deeply. it means slowing down and being still. Being well, healthy and strong and sane, will directly impact what I have to offer. What I have to give will be better, more helpful if it has a strong foundation of self-compassion.

What I’m going to stop trying so hard to do is push, perform, please. No more poverty mentality, no more idiot compassion. I just can’t anymore. It’s not sustainable, and it doesn’t feel good. There isn’t anyone who wants me to wreck myself in order to give something away.

Reverb14: Day 15

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “What food did you discover this year? Or maybe you discovered a new way to prepare your favorite food. Or a new cookbook. Or a new restaurant. Tell us about your culinary adventures.”

This year, I discovered two recipes that continue to delight me: Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad and Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread. More generally, I rediscovered cooking, and the joy of having something that I like when I’m eating out then later finding a recipe and making it for myself.


Reverb14 prompt: “What are you really proud that you made happen in 2014, despite the gremlins? And what will you do anyway in 2015?”

I became certified as a yoga instructor, and went on to teach even though my gremlins said I wasn’t thin enough, strong enough, flexible enough, or experienced enough. Even though sometimes I’m so uncomfortable in my body.

I stopped dieting and weighing myself even though the voices of criticism and judgment that were ingrained in me from almost the first moments of my life, starting with “it’s a girl!”, say I should do otherwise.

I kept writing and publishing even though the gremlins said “what are you even talking about? who cares?!”

I got a “born on purpose” dog even though the gremlins said I was a bad person for not rescuing, that I was also a liar because I was doing something I said I’d never do.

What I’d like to do anyway in 2015 is to continue to trust myself, go my own way, figure out what I want and live that.