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Showing posts from 2010

Conditioning.

If you want to figure out who you are, move home. Live with your family- watch and listen. You might find, as I have been, that you are, to perhaps a frightening degree, deeply a product of your environment. I'm sure that Nature plays an important role in our formation, but anyone who denies the impact of Nurture clearly isn't paying attention. Begin to examine your values, your morals, your stories about the world and "how things are" and I guarantee you will begin to see your family reflected back somewhere in there. This isn't always a bad thing. I am appreciative of many of the excellent habits, ideas and values that my family helped to instill in me. For instance, how would I have learned to be an excellent hostess if it were not for watching my family warmly greet and over feed strangers? "Joe just met you at the bus stop and now you're here to have Thanksgiving dinner with us? Great! Welcome! What can I get you to drink?" That kind of graciou…

2011: Conscious Relating and Communicating

The time has come! With 8 days left in the year, I'm beginning to craft and refine my learning goals and intentions for the new year. My 2010 list served as a helpful touchstone throughout the year and I am pleased to find that while some of my goals and intentions were not mastered (not reasonably master-able in a year...), I made many important steps forward. This year I have been challenged, taught and grown by surrender, communicating my truth, living my reality and committing to my spiritual practice. I found God vibrating in every atom of my being and this revelation spurred a whole series of events involving growing/glowing self-respect, steadiness and faith. I have let go of a lot of nonsense that stood between myself and my Self. This has been a year of softening and blossoming.

2011 represents a time for coming into full alignment with our highest Self. Thus far I am interested in bringing consciousness to communication in all its forms and to my relationships, particula…

Word (On The Naad).

My alma mater, San Francisco State, has a fun, upper division unit area called Segment 3 that requires students to take classes from a subject area outside of their major. When most people chose Human Sexuality, I decided that what I wanted more than anything was to learn about Judaism. I grew up Catholic and realized that I knew very little about what it is to be Jewish, but I wanted to find out. This curiosity led me to read some incredibly beautiful literature, to cry every week with Laurel in Holocaust and Genocide class, to spend a summer attempting to learn Hebrew, and to fall head over heels with The Word. I've been writing for fun since I learned how to form letters, but I never realized how magic words are until I was reading the Torah in my Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism class. God spoke and the words formed existence! That is some serious stuff.

That same semester I started performing the poetry I had been writing. I was in theatre for a dozen or so years routinely perfo…

Settling. Or not.

After writing about the mancation I'm indefinitely taking, I got to thinking about settling. Why is it that I've been so unwilling to accept the reality of everyone I've ever been romantically interested in and instead crafted fantasies about these people? Is it desperation that leads people to need to see everyone that strikes their fancy as their romantic salvation? Or maybe its strong social programming that causes me to always be in search of someone to "complete me" and build a nuclear family with. That's it, I'll blame society and the media, and while we're at it, my parents.

The silly thing is, I'm not even that hot to get married and procreate. Someday, sure, but not immediately. It totally gets in the way of my current plan, which involves no responsibility or ties and no planning. More than anything else, I think the idea of marriage and babies is comfortable- something I could do to slip back on to some kind of a normal, grandma-approve…

I quit.

Yesterday, in typical fashion, my friend Laurel called and inspired a new perspective on life. She ran the numbers on how many hours she spent thinking about, pursuing and dating men and came to the conclusion that for the usual outcome, her investment was not worthwhile. She then brought up the important point: imagine what we could accomplish if we just stopped. She has decided that for the next two years and three months (the length of her previous Peace Corps service) she will refrain from any type of romantic involvement with anyone. She is allowed to hang out with and get to know people she could potentially date, but will be keeping things on a strictly platonic level with the hope that if anything romantic should grow, it will do so from a strong foundation of friendship.

After having mulled over Laurel's fresh outlook all day, I shared it in a late night conversation with my friend Kaitlin. Today she sent me the link for a This American Life broadcast from 1995 about Quit…

Looking back to move forward.

Thomas Wolfe thought you couldn't go home again. I have gratefully been able to. I was nervous to move back in after living on my own- and alone- for so long. Communal, family living seemed to me to be something I could never return to- I've been (not really) joking for a long time that my husband and kids were going to have to get their own apartment. However, I've been pleasantly surprised by how nice it is to be "home." And thanks to my family's generous offer to urinate in the hall outside my room and jump out from behind doors to keep me on my toes, it's just like I'm back in my old neighborhood. It's an immense blessing to be welcomed back by people so warm and funny. Even the suburbs, rich with red yellow orange leaf rain and epic hillside sunsets, are prettier than I remember and invite runs through the park and smiling at strangers. My brother and I cooked dinner for the family tonight, producing a gourmet meal from our little kitchen lik…

Lovingkindness

When the WWJD? craze struck the nation several years ago, I was too young to appreciate what a good question that is to ask, if one considers what the answer will always be. The New Testament has Jesus out and about doing all kinds of sweet and/or mystical things for people, helping them to know a living, breathing God. Regardless of the story (tax collectors and prostitutes, fish and loaves, etc) the main point is always that Jesus is compassion embodied. What would Jesus do? Love, baby, without limit.
Lately, I've become preoccupied with the term "Christ Consciousness." For those unfamiliar, it is one of many ways people talk about achieving the ultimate level of spiritual development, said to have been reached by people like Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the living, Hugging Saint, Amma. They are proof that it is possible to reach this state of totally boundless, pure love. Take Amma, for instance. A few years ago, a man attempted to assassinate her and was i…

Gratitude Like Breathing

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. First of all, I love food, and any holiday that centers itself around eating is golden in my book. More importantly, most people take the day to reverently consider what they are grateful for, and that's super yummy to me...even more so than my auntie's apple pie. A few years ago I was teaching a community service learning process seminar, and my students and I spent the week before Thanksgiving cultivating an "attitude of gratitude" by recording our thanks every day in a journal. We all found that we were happier with our lives after having considered how good we had it. I don't journal like this anymore, but I do take time before I fall asleep every night to give thanks for the day and revel in how cool it is to be alive.

It's pretty easy to do this when things are good, but when life gets gnarly it can be harder to be happy. Lately, though, my most important meditation has been to reframe my thinking to allow everything…

Empty walls, full heart.

Last Saturday, all these good men in my life (and my lovely Brooke) showed up at my tender little home of four and a half years and helped empty it. My material life went into a small cube that now allegedly lives on Treasure Island, and almost as many things went into paper bags and were released back into the wild.

The reoccurring theme lately has been Let Go. Let go of your dream workplace, let go of your dream apartment, let go of all that stuff you thought was important, let go of all those plans and expectations. Give up, release, let go. This is not an easy process for someone like me, who enjoys the steady and known. My housing situation had become borderline ridiculous, and it still felt like such a loss to leave this place where I had done so much formative living. It would seem I've given up so much and made a lot of space. What am I supposed to fill it all with now? What will take the place of my sweet home, my old microwave and everything else that met a curbside fate…