Monthly Archives: January 2009

“What did you do today?”

Ahh… the eternal question, especially since I’ve been off of work. It’s actually a two-part query… “Have you looked for work?” and “Did you work on the taxes?” But the “What did you do today?” is understood to comprise both of those nuances. Being equally obtuse in my reply, I’ll outline key points of my day, but never being specific. Then the conversation will either continue on to my getting berated for my lackadaisical attitude toward the all important chore of getting the tax papers compiled so that we can give them to the tax guy to prepare the filings, or I’ll just get “the look” which will tell me the same thing without any words, and if I squint through the process, I can sometimes pretend that it wasn’t cast my way.

In the meantime, I look at the passing of time and am both aghast at how quickly it passes, and how difficult it is for me to get much of anything done. I am managing to do things… little things… small steps toward the completion of things. I’m cooking meals almost every night. That takes time and focus… and it ties my attention for long enough to keep from having to think about other things. Cutting, slicing and dicing vegetables becomes a sort of meditation, and gives me moments of zen-like respite from the rest of the chatter that is going on inside my head. For all of the berating I get from external sources, I get an equal if not greater amount from myself. 

–stopping to transfer a load of clean clothes from the washer into the dryer–

My son is a boy of absolutes… he speaks in terms of “always” or “never” … there doesn’t seem to be a sense of greyness in his perceptions… it’s either black or white, but never a mixture of both. I wonder if I was that way, and if that develops later on, when we have had some time to experience our own sense of greyness of the Self. For a good stretch, when I was working and spent at the end of the day, and we’d go to eat at restaurants a lot it was “We always eat out…” or “You never cook at home.” And there’s still the “You never do laundry.”

Obviously, that is largely exaggerated… otherwise we’d be running around nekkid, or our clothes would take on lives of their own and walk themselves into the washing machine. I wonder, sometimes, whether he’ll remember how fiercely I love and cherish him, or whether his recollections of his childhood will mostly be focused on my inadequacies as a caretaker, and the fact that he’d have to hoard his (dirty) jeans, weeks at a time, because I didn’t launder them often enough?

Will he remember that I took the time and money to create special excursions for us… to play tourists in the environs… stays at The Roosevelt and The Chateau Marmont in Hollywood… tidepool and shell gathering trips to the beaches… on sketch crawls through the L.A. Zoo and Union Station and Olvera Street… and multitudes of wondrous meals in equally wondrous restaurants, where his fabulously refined palate that I spoke of several weeks ago was honed? 

Well… I’ll tell you what I’ve done so far… I’ve laundered several loads of clothes… I’ve sent emails to the school regarding the upcoming Western Canada visit (and Gabriel missing school during that time), and an email to one of his teachers in whose classes (he has two subjects with her) Gabriel got F’s in, asking for some input on current progress and how to remedy the situation. I’ve emptied out the trash bin on the balcony and refurbished it with a new bag. I’ve had breakfast (a shake) and prepared a pot of coffee and drank a cup. I’ve put some sweats on. I’ve sprayed carpet cleaner on the rug where it got stained (so, in regard to my “experiment” from my last post… didn’t stain the mattress, but didn’t quite make it to the bathroom in time, either). I read an article in Cookie Magazine entitled Louder Than Bombs by Susan Gregory Thomas, and cried. I’ve pulled the bag containing the jumble of receipts that need sorting through for tax preparation purposes and have put it on the dining room table. 

Well… that’s about it for now. I have other things on my to-do list today. Sign up for the EDD website thingie… drive with Gabriel over to meet Bonnie at the theatre to go see a movie… coordinate some bill payments. Work some more on my chapbook (collaborative project) pages. Meditate for a little bit, if I can manage to shut out the brain chatter for long enough to calm down and find my center… if I can get to my center, which is soft and molten and hurting, and is surrounded by a prickly shell, just before you get to the middle of me.

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Going green: gardens and divas…

Many of us try to do our part environmentally. Several years ago I heard of the plight of the South Central Farmers, struggling to maintain their hold on the 14-acre plot of land in the most concrete of jungles, South Central L.A. The 14-acre South Central Farm once was the heart of a poor, mainly Latino community and fed 350+ families, until a developer was allowed to bulldoze it to erect a bunch of storage warehouses.

I continue to be floored by the notion that the United States is looked upon by the world as a leading force in assisting third world countries to develop their own sustainable food sources, while a perfect and operating example of this model within the country is razed in favor of big business. The Garden, a documentary movie chronicling the journey to save the farm, has been nominated for an Academy Award, and the trailer can be viewed here.

Now… on being a Diva… if you are squeamish about “woman’s issues” (and I don’t mean the bra burning kind and groaning about glass ceilings and such), stop reading here, because I’m about to go into some detail about “feminine” products. Earlier this month I decided to see if I could stop supporting the disposable feminine product market, into which (pardon the pun) I flush hundreds of dollars annually… and am still struggling to keep from staining my mattress rather regularly.

SO… with that in mind, I picked up a product that has been around for a while but which I looked at rather skeptically, wondering how its usage could be practically applied to my life. It’s called The Diva Cup… it comes in two sizes… pre- and post-pregnancy.  I can tell you that it was a smidgen pricey… about four 20-pack boxes of tampons’ worth pricey… but if it will allow me to sleep through the night without having to worry about accidents, it will, to my mind, be worth the investment.  The experiment has begun… I’ll keep you posted…

Taking down the tree…

It’s odd how even though you know that a relationship is over, being in the throes of the last dying vestiges of it are still difficult.  There is this immense sense of failure and along with it an equally intense sadness… not for what is ending but for what it could have been… its lost potential.  So it is firmly rooted in this emotion that I took down the Christmas tree this morning.  

I’d been putting off… not that I don’t normally take forever to do it anyway, but it was a thing that I was ruing even as it was being put up.  That moment was poignant in itself, each of the three of us knowing that it was the last time that we would be sharing this type of moment together.  In years past, especially the last several, only Gabriel and I participated in decking out the tree with ornaments, so I was somewhat surprised (though pleased) that Steve decided to join in.  

It’s been many months of “lasts” since we’d had our discussion about finally and irrevocably ending our relationship. I’m not yet sure whether this whole drawn out process is good or not. As with the deaths of my parents, my mother’s was sudden and my father’s was not (though it was not horribly drawn out, either), in both cases there was still an incredible sense of loss at the end, and a time of mourning, and though the process differed somewhat in both, the end was the same and equally painful and left me bereft. Perhaps this longer mourning period is good. Perhaps the opportunity to say goodbye to each familial habit… to notice it and remember it, in all of its facets, and then let it go… is a good thing.

I haven’t really spoken to Gabriel about this whole digestion process. I don’t know if he’s doing it as well, or whether we will get to the end of our time together and he will find it difficult to cope with the sudden change. Again the sense of failure engulfs me… and an accompanying guilt.  I’ve done the best I could to sort out this mess, with little help and support. I often wonder whether Steve’s inaction was something I should have paid attention to a long time ago… whether that was my cue to stop trying too, because no matter what I did after that point, it wouldn’t make a difference in the end result.  

I am grateful, though, for the learning process it provided. I’ve learned that I am a lot more tenacious than I thought I was… that I can think on my feet and find solutions to things that seem imponderable… that I really do love myself, even though I’ve spent so many years denying myself my own affections, simply because I thought others deserved them more.

There was a knock on my door a few moments ago, and a package dropped on my doormat. I opened it just now and see that it is a holiday gift from my friend Rita, who I’d not been able to connect with over the holidays but to whom I’d sent by way of Bonnie her gift from me. Again… I am overcome with emotion. Just last night, as I lay in bed contemplating the ache in my neck and shoulders, and feeling needy for a kind and gentle rub on the back (you know… the kind your mom used to give you to comfort you… slow, circular, right over the heart chakra area on your back, and just firm enough to soothe away the aches of the body and the soul), I thought it would be wonderful to get a massage (that I can’t afford right now, and haven’t had in ages). And… as I opened my gift, I saw that it contained a little sachet-ful of body care goodies, and a gift card to a women’s dayspa (where, incidentally, I used to work as a massage therapist before I went back to full-timing it behind a computer screen). I am so very lucky, because even though I can’t seem to maintain a relationship with a man, my friendships are golden.

Shifts… (can you feel it?)

I know, I know… it sounds nutty as a fruitcake (that’s what I get for living here in California for over a decade and a half)… but I really can feel something… shifting.  

It’s not a bad thing… shifts… changes… they are inevitable and essentially good things, if taken in stride.  They say that the best way to keep from drowning is to not fight the current but to surrender to its flow.  

I got a request the other day from someone I used to work with for a psychic reading, and the query had to do with finding a new job.  Funny how that works, seeing that I, too, am currently unemployed, and doing much flailing around in the sense of trying to figure out, once again, what direction to go in, career-wise.  

I suggested the following things to her…

The Law of Attraction pulls toward you more of the stuff that you are ‘pinging’ strongly emotionally… so if you are feeling needful/needy, anger and frustration, the universe will give you more of the same.  If your greatest emotion is “need” (as in “I need another job NOW”) the situations that will manifest around you will continue to sustain that “needful” state of being.  

So… I got this little meditation from one of my weekly “feel-good” subscriptions, and thought that it might help you in turning some of the energy around that you are carrying within you… perhaps by doing so, the universe will conspire to fulfill your heart’s desires…

Chet Day presents
EarthLeaves Meditations
More Musings on Letting Go for Peace of Mind
January 24, 2009

For this week’s meditation, as we so often do, we’ll
again work with a wonderful Zen saying…

   The water a cow laps turns into milk. The
   water a snake licks changes into poison.

Think about this one for a few seconds.

Then take three or four deep breaths, pausing for a
moment between inhalations and exhalations.

As soon as you’re centered and focused, breathe in
your innate instinct and ability to be kind to
others.

Hold that kindness for a few seconds before exhaling.
Savor it.

Oh, that’s nice. The thought of being kind is so nice.

Now exhale… and as your breath leaves, let go of any
poisonous thoughts or memories you may be holding
onto.

Letting that negativity go is nice, too, isn’t it?

And that’s how you can be like a cow who turns water
into milk instead of like a snake who turns it into
venom.

Neat, eh?

Until next week,
Chet

Chet Day
Editor, EarthLeaves Meditations

 

I can also suggest a “releasing ceremony” to release your old job and make room for something better and more suited to what you want.  In gratitude, write down in your own words the things which are good that this job has brought you and then say something like “I am now ready to release this job so it may be replaced with one that provides greater prosperity and _________________ (inserting whatever you wish this new job to bring you–be specific and clear–and be careful what you wish for… LOL!).  

Put on some nice quiet/relaxing music.  Light a small candle (can be a tealight… preferably white… always in a fire and heat resistant container), have a deep (fireproof) ceramic or cast iron container handy, light a stick of incense, and sit for a while in meditation, starting with some deep belly breaths, nice and slow and deliberate… in through the nose, out through the mouth.  

Next, visualize your tailbone extending like a root deep into the center of the earth, and wrapping around its core.  Imagine the heat from the core of the earth rising like a beam of white light, up through the roots and into your tailbone area, lovingly nurturing and energizing you as it moves upward through your central core, stopping to clear your perineal area, and moving upward into your pelvic area, then the area just above your belly button, where you would feel butterflies when you are nervous, then your heart area, then your throat, then up to your third eye area on your forehead, just above the area between your two eyes, and finally up through the top of your head… imagine the beam of light going higher and higher up into the universe, until it meets with Source.  

Feel this connection, and now imagine a flow of energy from Source, flowing back down this beam of light and bringing with it love and a great sense of peace.  Feel the Source energy expand so that it grows to cover all of your body and several feet beyond it, as if you were in a light shower that flows over you and around you and through you, and see it clearing away all of your worries… all of the dis-ease that you may have within your body/mind/spirit, cleansing and clearing as it moves through.  Keep breathing deeply, into the belly, in through the nose, out through the mouth, slowly and deliberately.  

Finally, focus back on visualizing your release from your old job and see yourself in your new one, doing what you want to be doing, even visualizing your big pay check and how good that makes you feel… safe and secure and confident.  After you’ve comfortably secured your visualization in your mind, and feel calm and peaceful, roll up your note and pass it through the candle flame and place it into the fireproof pot or dish.  Let the whole thing burn to ash, re-lighting it as necessary until it is all consumed by fire.  

Leave the candle to burn until it burns itself out (a couple of hours, probably… make sure not to leave it unattended).  Take the cooled ashes and bury them outside in the ground.  I hope this helps, in some small way.

To let you know… I did this ceremony months ago, and steady movement has been occurring since… the tipping point was getting let go from my job at the beginning of the month.  This has created a space of sorts, and if well orchestrated, will manifest into something that Paolo Coelho calls my Personal Legend.  Time to sit down and listen to what the heart says, as we all know that nature abhors a vacuum, and when there is an empty space, it will get filled with something… preferably with something of my own making, as opposed to something random.

In gratitude… of friends and celebrations…

My friend Bonnie picked Gabriel and me up today and treated us to a wonderful excursion to a local phenomenon called The Anti-Mall, which is actually a two-part (The Camp and The Lab) outdoor shopping experience separated by a boulevard.

We ate at a restaurant called the Old Vine Café (click on photo above to visit their website), which has a very good lunch menu (and they serve breakfast ’til 3PM!), though we did have to wait for quite a while for a table for three inside.  It was worth the wait, though, as the food was delicious.  We shared the Baby Spinach Salad (Fresh Spinach, Fresh Berries, Pine nuts, Goat Cheese & Honey  Balsamic Vinaigrette), Caprese of Mozarella Buratta (Buratta, Flash Fried Arugula, Grape Tomatoes & Citrus Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and a ‘Just Cheese’ Panini (Brie and Cheddar Cheeses served with Tomato Sauce for Dipping).



Everything was delightful… flavorful and interestingly nuanced with herbs, spices and oils.  They obtain their produce from an organic farm in Rainbow (San Diego County) which has a produce drop subscription service that you can sign up for if you are interested.  “The Camp” itself is a place to behold, with very “green” architecture and building materials, and it was a delight to walk through it and discover its gems.

 

After sharing a couple of fabulous desserts, a lovely creamy creme brulé (which isn’t listed on their online menu) and the Cheese Mousse Crepe (Stuffed with a Sweet Artisan Ricotta Cheese Mousse, garnished with Mandarin Orange Coulis), we walked around a bit more and then headed to The Lab across the street for further investigation.  

We discovered a cache of shops on the other side, and I found a pair of convertible fingerless-gloves-come-mittens at Urban Outfitters perfect for my upcoming trip to Western Canada.  The eco-theme was prevalent here too, making use of the “recycle-reuse” genre, with many found-object amalgamations, including a really cool mosaic divider wall.

After a leisurely walking tour of the place, we left for our final destination, the Mitsuwa Market Place, which is a few blocks away.  I was surprised to see such a huge array of Japanese shops inside the  nondescript building, which housed everything from a grocery store to stationery and book shops to toy vendors.  I marvel, always, at the Japanese esthetic, and their ability to marry form and function with such poetic sensibility.

My artsy fartsy side was quite thrilled as well as I scored a European style clip dispenser and a box of clip refills, which I’d almost ordered ages ago from an overseas source in Germany, but balked when the shipping cost was going to cost more than the actual items I wanted to purchase.  I was thrilled that I could now use those funky little clips pulled off of documents received from some of the foreign associates I’d dealt with over time but couldn’t make use of because I didn’t have the gizmo to attach them with.  I left with a bagful of warm, roasted chestnuts for the drive home.  Bonnie is my favorite adventuress to go exploring with… I am grateful to have met her through a previous workplace and more grateful still that we are friends.

 


On being directionally challenged and time impaired…

It’s a mystery to me, this time-space thing. While I can organize my workspace (rather compulsively, I might add) into a masterful example of feng-shui-ness, no matter how much stuff there is to organize, and I can spatially organize the flow of an art piece by tapping into some inherent sixth sense, I can’t seem to find my way around the neighborhood without getting ‘lost’ and the concept of time has never quite sunk in.

You know… like when I wake up in the morning and say that I’ll make breakfast but it’s about two hours later before everyone is munching on their eggs and potatoes, simply because it took me so long to stow the clean dishes from the dishwasher and reload the dirty ones from the sink… wash the pans I need to cook with… clean the coffee filter and rinse out the carafe, pour fresh water into the machine, grind coffee and put it into the rinsed filter and turn the coffee machine on so it can brew a new pot… take out the eggs, potatoes, onion, shallots, parsley, spices and ghee and crack, chop, slice, peel, dice, beat, stir, sauté and fold a meal into submission.

I’ve been uploading book titles onto Shelfari over the last couple of days… Steve remarked that I must really be bored to be wasting my time on such trivialities… you know, it’s just another one of those compulsive urges, see? I have lots of books. So many, in fact, that I’ve lost track of which ones I have and by virtue of this seemingly meaningless exercise have discovered that I have quite a few duplicates (and I’m not even done with the whole lot of them). So far I have 879 books on my virtual bookshelf.

My only wish is that I live long enough to read every single one. Soooo many books, soooo little time. More time now, that I am currently unemployed, and I have certainly been using this time to catch up on my reading. And being terrible with the space-time thing, but quite capable of reading multiple books at the same time, I am currently reading the following books:

Extreme Self-Care

The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time

Odd and the Frost Giants

Odd and the Frost Giants

Tales of a Female Nomad

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World

Essential Rumi

The Essential Rumi

Wraeththu Storm Constantine

Wraeththu

And so that leaves… over 870 (and then some) more to go… I’ve also discovered, by virtue of this uploading and cataloguing on Shelfari, that not only is my taste pretty consistent, it is so much so that I have not once but sometimes twice purchased the same books. I have a few duplicates, which I am thinking of offering up for postage costs… as you may have witnessed from my book shelf, my tastes are rather –er– eclectic. 🙂 Will post the titles later.

Surveying horizons…

Another year on the odometer of my life just clicked today. I spent the day cataloguing my books… avoidance tactics, I’m sure, but pleasing to me nonetheless. I figured I could at least gift myself with time, and to do with it what I wanted to, on this day of non-celebration. Pomodoro cooked tonight… Steve paid.

This image kept popping up on one of the web pages, and I thought it a fitting portrayal of how I feel at the moment. Looking ahead toward a horizon that stretches before me, standing somewhat uncertainly at its shores, but determined to move forward to claim the good that awaits.

Momentous moments…


There are moments in history that are looked back upon in retrospect and considered to be cornerstones in the history of humanity. Other times the significance is tacitly obvious even as the moment transpires. Today I witnessed a most amazing event. I witnessed a re-infusion of hope, resolve and courage… of pulling together in unity… of a people that had somehow lost their footing along the path of their journey, and needed to be reminded of the journey’s purpose and led back onto the path. I have a renewed hope for the United States, and by corollary, the rest of the world as a whole. Welcome, Barack Hussein Obama. Godspeed!

Tangents… and the journey to my essential self…

So much has changed in such little time, in my little insignificant life… and yet here I am, at the cresting of this new year (and also an approaching birthday) and find that the path that I’d been walking on has summarily disappeared… my marriage is dissolving… I have been fired from my (deplorably boring, yet vexing) job… and I am at a crossroads… a place where I can hopefully reinvent my life in such a way as to be pleasing to myself, but also in alignment with the larger-than-myself task I feel I’ve come here to accomplish.

Oftentimes I feel like I’ve squandered precious time, meandering through what seems like endless tangents on my way to some mysterious, inscrutable place, and yet that is the beauty of it, I think. Every moment that I have lived and experienced has only been wasted if I did not take notice of it, and revere it for what it was. Gathering up pieces of myself, and leaving some behind, as I trudge onward in my journey, I can say that each moment has brought me closer to the essence of who I am… the essential me… and whether arms opened to receive me, or by others was pushed away, each has given me a greater understanding of my Self. And for that I am grateful.

Moving along… and mishaps

Even with the new lens in my right eye, I still have trouble seeing… distance is not perfect due to astigmatism, and even though the lens is supposed to accommodate for close vision, this ability is dependent upon the muscle it is encased in, which up to now stubbornly refuses to focus up close. My other eye has not been corrected, as the cataract’s progression has slowed and my vision is largely corrected with a contact lens, so it is also “fixed” for distance, which means I need to wear readers (which are currently the cheap store-bought non-prescriptive type) in order to see up close, or leave the left contact out in a sort of mono-vision compromise. This works when I’m at home, but it compromises my vision too much when I’m out and about, especially when I’m driving (ha!).

So, it is no surprise that while I am already somewhat of a klutz, I managed to miss the eyelet I was setting (not once, but twice) and smash the tip of my index finger with my hammer. The good news is that it brought back fond memories of my father, who I’d often see with similar injuries (though he would sometimes drill a hole through his nail to ‘release the pressure’ if it was too painful–fortunately that is not my case). It already feels much better.

Well, I have finally just about finished my postcard obligations… just need to address them and mail them out. Hooray! And now to get started on my chapbook pages…