About The Girl

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California, United States
Not-so-silent observations that splinter my conversations. Harnessing the steady flow of random thoughts and musings that continuously interrupt my daily conversations. Paired here with my artwork and photographs from recent adventures. Non sequitur (pronounced \ˈnän-ˈse-kwə-tər\)- a response which, due to its apparent lack of meaning relative to its context, seems absurd to the point of being humorous or confusing.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

GIGGLES




"Little Miss Giggles has lost her giggle..."

I have a soft spot for children's literature. It's concise, filled with whimsical illustrations and often ends with a delightful message.
Why is it that as adults we tend to drag everything out?
Unlike most writing for adults, juvenile literature has been carefully boiled down to only the necessary essence. Anticipation is a powerful device when used sparingly. As adults we are tempted to over-complicate everything.

Keep it simple!

I wish there was a children's book editor who would glance at the story of my life. I could use a bit of rewriting. There are too many confusing plot twists and right about now we're sorely lacking in happy endings. Our audience is becoming restless.
Can I demand a rewrite?

So many examples of satisfying characters and playful story lines exist. The Mr. Putter and Tabby series or anything written by Cynthia Rylant offers amiable characters, playful spins on ordinary situations and little life lessons. Or take the Little Miss series...always ready with a happy ending of some sort. Babar and Madeline offer extraordinarily detailed artwork combined with imaginative stories. Our well-worn editions of Babar and Zephir and Madeline and the Gypsies continue to be read and reread again and again.

Miserable Miss Giggles still hasn't found her giggle.

In the end, dear Mr. Happy cleverly presents Miss Giggles with an empty box, containing one medium-sized giggle. When her beloved friend claims that giggles are invisible, Miss Giggles replies that that's a preposterous idea! And then Miss Giggles proceeds to GIGGLE.

Anyone have an empty box handy?
The life of a bedtime story character is so simply satisfying!

What are a few of your favorite bedtime stories? Do they mirror your life?
May all beings be allowed to find great happiness, peace and sweet dreams.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

JAY WALKING

I use the cross walk. I always diligently press the button. I patiently await the changing of the signal.

Have you ever wondered if the walk button actually does anything or is simply there for placebo effect, to persuade us that we have some level of control over the situation?

When the signal tells me it's time, I move purposefully on my path. I obey. No time to stroll.
Paying close attention to what I'm being told, as the signal shifts to the red hand, I begin to hustle hurriedly across. Red hand. White person. Why is the person green?
"The captain has turned off the fasten seat belts sign. You are now free to move about the cabin." Is it truly freedom if someone else is in charge of determining when you receive it?

Am I the only one who feels they often simply forget to turn the darn thing off?!

I live my life in a similar fashion. I wait for opportunities to present themselves. Then I respond. Methodical. Orderly. Planned. I am patient.

What happens when I desperately want to get somewhere and the universe hasn't yet changed the signal?

I feel an urgency to move away from where I am right now. Anywhere but stay here. This is no longer a delightful discomfort. This is an excruciating urge.


There are others I know who confidently chart a course across streets, between cars, darting through the gaps in traffic. Moving is a chronic state for them.

Are they choosing to deliberately cut corners and to break the rules or simply to follow an inner voice?


Rather than wait for the signal these brave (or foolish) pedestrians take control of their fate and charge forth. Convinced they are able to determine when the timing is right for them. Signals are meant for other people. The ones incapable of determining when it's appropriate on their own.

Is there fearlessness or courage in jay walking?

The signals, rules and cross walks were designed to keep us safe, to keep things orderly, to allow traffic to continue to flow. This system serves the community. What happens to the individuals' rights?

Does this habit reflect the way in which we live our lives? I stand still, quietly waiting for life to tell me when the time is right. Waiting. Deliberately. Emblematic of my path to date. Others spring forth and seize the moments and opportunities as they observe them. Pouncing with a ferocity for life. A zeal. A hoot-spa!

Would it serve me to become comfortable with jay walking? Or is there value in staying put where I am with my discomfort? Who will send the signal to let me know which is the appropriate choice?

What about you? Do you jay walk through life? Or are you practiced at staying put?

DUTY, COURAGE AND POSSIBILITY


I have a guilty pleasure. I treasure the time when I curl up under the covers with my daughter and we read bedtime stories together.
Storybooks filled with elaborate, colorful pictures illustrating a black-and-white world; good and evil, handsome and ugly, young and old, rich and poor...and always HAPPY ENDINGS.


Last night, this quote spoke to me:


"Duty means doing the things your heart may well regret." The Princess and the Pauper


Is this true? When we have an obligation do we necessarily pay dowry with regrets? I consider my duties as a parent, teacher, friend. These roles come loaded with responsibilities and sometimes tether my expectations. When I am honest I hold no regrets. At times, I do, however, forget to properly align my expectations with my current reality.


"Courage is the key that opens every door." The Princess and the Pauper


I absolutely believe that this is true. Wisdom and bravery combine to make courage. Courage breeds possibility. Creates openings. Clears the space for all good things happen. What would you do if you were fearless?


May our courage open the door to possibilities far beyond what we ever could have hoped.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

HOPE REMAINS













"Hope" is the thing with feathers-/that perches in the soul-/And sings the tune without the words-/And never stops at all." Emily Dickinson

It won't go away. My natural instinct appears to be to hope. It stubbornly tags alongside me.

Decades ago I received a copy of Dickinson's collected poems. My heart aches with the truth of her words.


Hope obstinately sits beneath my window. I've shut it tightly. Drawn the blinds. Nonetheless I can hear its faint but continuous song. My sycophant embellishing each irrelevant detail to hope's advantage.

Hope lingers. Loitering within my dreams. Slow to leave but ever-so-quick to return. Softly nurtured in my sleep.

Hope's delicate whisper of wing to wind never ceases. Would it be wiser to hope for nothing?

I am not yet brave enough to let hope leave me completely. In silence. Alone.
Perhaps the wisdom truly comes with hoping for everything, yet admitting that we know not when it will arrive.

CHANGING MY TUNE

Organ music tends to drag me down. On a glorious morning in Balboa Park I welcome the din of leaf blowers over that of the organ.


Organs make grave companions.

I have always fervently believed that organs are best left to accompany church choirs, dastardly villains, wax museum monsters and Vincent Price. Not necessarily in that order.

Organs lack versatility.

The deep, resonant tones of the organ tug me into a somber state. Its heavy, melancholy notes sap the very life and vital energy from around me creating a funereal mood.

Changing my tune.

This evening I witnessed a joyous, "thrashing" of the Spreckels Organ. Our musician played with an enthusiasm he credited to his fourteen-year-old self. Dennis James has played the organ alongside silent films at Spreckels for over 2 decades. This man is unquestionably, contagiously passionate about what he does. So much so that his zeal sustained him during 77 continuous minutes of pairing his delightful music to Buster Keaton's silent film, The Cameraman.

Uncontrollable laughter.


I cannot remember the last time I laughed so continuously, so raucously. I felt compelled to stop laughing myself only so that I could enjoy the guffaws and fabulous belly laughter that surrounded me. Here is a hero I truly want to rally behind - a clumsy-yet-amiable human, imperfect and yet perfectly loveable. It almost feels like voyeurism, watching Buster become instantly enamored with Sally, his open admiration and their awkward first date on a Sunday stroll.

Elicits delightful emotions.

I credit Mr. James' sheer delight for warming my heart to the organ's tunes. This man is obviously living his dharma. Together with an audience of several thousand, my emotions rose and fell on cue with Mr. James' precise coaxing.

Resonant Laughter

There is something extraordinarily therapeutic about laughing out loud, uncontrollably at times, in a large crowd. The vibrations of unrestrained laughter resonated within us, surrounding us with positive energy, similar to the chanting of om as the sounds harmonize and become one with everything. I have a colleague, Santosh, who guides a Laughter Yoga workshop (http://www.yogasantosh.com/). Unexpectedly, I believe that I experienced a sampling of the transformational power of this form of yoga tonight.

What is it about the silent film that awakens our inner emotional dialogue?

Silent films embrace simplicity, minimalism. The message is pure and uncomplicated. Transparent. Genuine. It's true that at times the scenes are slightly exaggerated to illustrate the story in the absence of dialogue. But I felt no lack, no shortage, nothing missing from this evening's performance. Only abundant humor and high spirits. Instead it was absolutely perfect. Timeless.

Once again, contrast.

Such stark contrast to the presently noisy, muddy and complex productions created by Hollywood. Usually I would bemoan the crowd's laughter as distracting, a hindrance to hearing all of the dense dialogue necessary to explain the subtle details of the plot.


Charmed.

Not tonight. Here the audience's reactions became the dialogue, a supporting role to the events unfolding on-screen. The laughter mingled with the live organ music to create a spontaneous symphony chronicling our response to the plights and pleasures of our hero and his quest to woo and win the girl. Relying on the audience to truly, openly feel. I left charmed by the experience. I find myself eager to allow the simplicity of laughter and silent movies to infiltrate the rest of my world.

May sheer, authentic joy reverberate throughout your life like an uncontrollable, belly laugh.

In order to illustrate the evening's tone I feel it necessary to share a sample of laughter and organ music mingling. ENJOY!

video

video

To learn more about the Spreckels Organ, upcoming events and how to support silent movie night, please visit, http://www.sosorgan.com/.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

DETAILS








I am a recovering runner.
I would rush and hustle and hurry with a fierce pace, everywhere. Miles would pass in a sort of hazy blur. My sole concern was to push farther, go faster.
In my haste I missed all of these lovely details. The subtleties, like the first signs of the changing seasons, would go unnoticed.

I am grateful for the power of slowness. Now I appreciate meandering. I savour soaking up the details. Noticing. Listening.
What do you notice when you slow down?

UGLINESS


The rain fell gently.
Enormous drops, timed as though the sky were opening. Shedding heavy tears. Pregnant with the weight of accumulated emotion.
On a balmy, summer night, accompanied by intermittent showers, I watched eagerly as the tale of Shakespeare's Cyrano de Bergerac unfolded before me at The Old Globe's outdoor theatre.
There is something truly magical about entertainment of any form outdoors, under the stars. Perfect timing! Could it be the stray moth fluttering across the stage lights or the unexpected tickle of a raindrop?

While most of us lack Cyrano's blaring protuberance, we each travel with what we believe to be our own unlovable aspects of ourselves. These facets may be less immediately visible than Cyrano's extraordinary nose, but they present equally treacherous obstacles between us and the achievement of our authentic happiness.

I watched as Cyrano confidently conquered his adversaries with his delightful combination of wit and words. All the while, he hid his talents behind the mask of what he believed to be the idyllic, handsome figure. Cyrano repackaged himself.

I was reminded that each of us feels a secret longing for acceptance and love. Someone who will love even those parts of ourselves that we view to be glaring imperfections, unlovable features that we struggle to live and accept ourselves. We ache for the day when someone is willing to love us because of our humanness and beyond even our own expectations.

Granting Wishes

For a time we find ourselves frivolously tossing coins and wishes into fountains - reckless of what we ask for and how it might be granted. If we're fortunate, there will come a time when we find a genuine wish, our heart's true desire that requires a patient, thoughtful, focused gesture. Let us honor the intrinsic beauty cradled precariously within this hope.

"...have you ever noticed that there are people who do things which are most indelicate, and yet at the same time--beautiful?"E. M. Forster, A Room With A View

Tact and fear have a habit of tightening the reins on the natural strength and beauty of our emotions.

"Through the whirlwind which your eyes stir up inside me. But now, in this blessed darkness, I feel I am speaking to you for the first time."- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 3

Blessed darkness may take the form of lengthy emails. A format in which a trusting heart blossoms with the latent force of conversations yet unopened. Oh, the possibilities that lie restless and awake as darkness descends upon the park! In the silent stillness I feel a rising tide, filled with all the words left unspoken, now gushing forth, aching to flow freely upon your eager ears.

"You're a genuinely good man. There aren't many of you left."- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 2
May we each find peace, happiness and love - abundant and true. I have faith that this too will all work out even better than we ever could have imagined.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

TRADITIONS




"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire."


Gustav Mahler

Our family history is filled with quirky superstitions and time honored traditions.
Sometimes it feels like ashes are all that's left. And here I sit, foolishly pumping the bellows trying to restart a pile of cold, dead ash.
One person doesn't make a tradition. These are the makings of communities and families. Nostalgia infuses our memories with warm thoughts of traditions long lost.
What Makes Tradition?

What qualifies something as a tradition? Is it years, generations or multiple family members recollecting and reproducing the same event over time with a story? What makes a tradition distinct from other regular occurrences or routine habits? There is something unusual and playful about our family traditions. Typically, these traditions have been passed down among several generations and their origins are no longer traceable. A verbal retelling of the explanation is all that remains. Holidays especially tend to have family traditions intertwined among the festivities.

Highway Pieway:

The act of stirring one's ice cream together to create a malleable soft-serve-like consistency. Then patiently smoothing, digging and texturing to create roads and geographies. We would draw out the experience of dessert, carefully molding a unique frozen landscape.
Two Sides
Strangely, many of them were passed down by my father's side...Do the Irish tend to have more prevalent traditions than the Germans? Might some traditions verge on behaving like genetically recessive traits? Some families simply nurture more traditions, passing them along, over time helping them to grow and thrive.
Harmless Tradition or Superstition?

Bayberry Candle:
A bayberry candle burned to the socket means health in the family and wealth in the pocket. In our daily lives tradition verged on superstition. When does tradition become obligation? I would fear to forget to light a bayberry candle on Christmas Eve. I would be too concerned that the result might be a year of poor health, little wealth and general bad luck.

Please Pass the Salt:

A salt shaker must be set down on the table, rather than passed hand-to-hand. Am I willing to pass the salt shaker directly, hand-to-hand? I'd rather go through a lengthy explanation of this unusual family tradition of unknown origin. Otherwise, who knows what misfortunes might ensue?

Shedding Tradition

At what point does tradition no longer serve us? How do we determine this? Is a tradition something of value to preserve or simply a means of spreading ashes across the generations? When does the tradition enrich the experience? When we lost my father I found myself clinging to memories and traditions. As time passes, some of this naturally falls away. Hopefully we willingly shed that which is unnecessary and no longer authentic for our family.

Kindling Traditions

My daughter and I have begun a few of our own traditions. Thanks to a lovely dinner a few years back at a dear friend's home (The Boyle's), we now include Family Peace at the end of our pre-meal grace.

On lazy mornings we always enjoy playing the Under-the-Covers game.

We still enjoy Highway Pieway. Only our variation is with non-dairy ice cream and frozen yogurt. Yogurt Escape is our recent favorite!

Natural Selection

Some traditions fade over time. Others we adapt and redefine to fit our changing lives. I only sincerely hope that I am present enough to judge when it is time to let go and shed the traditions and routines that no longer serve us.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Einstein

This is a wonderful quote as it has many facets to it. Here, I am introducing it to elaborate that I truly believe that we are all a bit insane, especially families. We create roles for one another. Ultimately we often practice the same scenes over and over again, all the while expecting a different outcome. These are the traditions it would best serve us to leave behind and shed.

There is a fine balance between diligent practice and foolish perseverance. If we are willing to listen and to learn, evolution will help us to identify the flame worth preserving.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

HAPPY ENDINGS







I'm absolutely positive that I'm not the first one to note the contradiction inherent in happy ending. It's an oxymoron, of the truest kind. And if we examine the phrase, we find that it’s false advertising. After all, most happy endings are in fact, bright, new beginnings.

We're all familiar with the way it plays out. Just as the gorgeous bouquet of cut flowers he hands you will eventually wilt. It predictably begins...

Once upon a time...

After much fuss, somewhere near the end, a tragic, rather gruesome finish deservedly comes for the wicked stepmother, evil queen or terrifying, dog-killing lunatic.

What is Cruella Da Ville? A cougar of the fiercest kind?!

I rather doubt if any of them were still alive to comment, that they would describe their endings as happy. No, somehow that doesn't seem to be a line these villains would easily deliver.

Instead, the happy refers to the bright, new beginnings and unlimited possibilities that the future holds in store for our heroes and heroines. Now that the other ending has conveniently disposed of their adversaries, our champions can happily move on.

What happens when there is no evil antihero?

These days the story lines have slowly blurred, disintegrated. Our protagonist lacks her rapscallion counterpart. Without the contrast of her evildoer's dire fate, our heroine's happy ending appears woefully bleak.

Contrast

Our courageous woman must single-handedly survive both fates. Alone she must create the desired contrast that enables us as an audience and her as our central character, to truly appreciate the happy ending. She must weather the expected demise of something or someone she desires. This sense of loss then creates the opening for what is to come. On cue, just when we fear that all is lost, a happy new beginning occurs.

Yin yang.

In order for the happy to exist, the end must also simultaneously exist. Therefore, it would be redundant to quip happy beginnings.

Timing

If we could only depend upon a timely happy ending. The arrival of a convenient solution within the hour, just as our patience was lapsing and our faith seemed challenged. Next Stop Wonderland.

Like karma we know only that the opposite of our condition exists, somewhere, possibly just beyond the horizon, or possibly as far off as in a whole other lifetime.

Hopeless Romantic

My favorite cinematic happy endings tend to offer contrast paired with a solidly happy ending. While a favorite, The English Patient is a bit too tragic for words. Disney movies almost always offer a clearly happy beginning to the end. There is no remaining doubt or uncertainty. From Snow White to The Parent Trap to Enchanted the unhappy endings lead to joyous beginnings. One of my all-time favorites, A Room with a View, offers slightly less clear-cut distinctions between good and evil, but a nonetheless tragic-turned-delightful ending. While Shakespeare focused on the endings all around for Romeo and Juliet, Cyrano and Much Ado About Nothing provide a slightly more cheerful outlook at the finale.

Wishing you all sweet dreams and happy endings that lead quickly to even happier beginnings.

Monday, August 17, 2009

THRIVING








Light. Pure and magical. Captures the intrinsic transparency and radiant energy in all things.
May the dark, heavy veil that weighs upon you be lifted. May you feel a joyous lightness surge throughout you, transforming endings to beginnings.
What once appeared lifeless and hollow now resurrected, thriving.












Friday, August 14, 2009

SWIMMING LESSONS


Summertime encourages most of us to the water's edge. Even those of us who are not skilled swimmers or who chill at the very thought of entering the water past our knees.


Whether we choose to merely sit on the edge within splashing distance, dangle our legs into the water or dive in completely, the cooling, tranquil liquid lures us like a siren's call. On balmy, late summer afternoons there is almost nothing more satisfying or summer-like, except perhaps hailing the ice cream truck down along the way.


Feigning Grace


Ever noticed how water simulates grace? Beneath its surface even the massive hippos and bumbling manitees appear as elegant as debuttantes and as refined as ballerinas.


Universal Movement


Water in motion captivates and charms. Observing the waves quickly lulls my raucous mind. The gentle ebb of surf across sand or tide lapping rocky shore soothes my wounded soul. Cradled in the current of ocean or stream I can relax and allow my body to flow with the natural rhythms of the universe. Effortless.


Motion Simulator


Pools are a brilliant creation, especially for those weathering the heat in a land-locked state like that of my childhood home. However without the purposeful rhythm of laps or a rousing game of marco polo, one is simply left to simulating movement in still water. The work is fruitless, disconnected, ineffective. Work = Force x Distance (or Displacement). If I'm not making any progress or moving D, Distance, on any particular path, then I am simply treading water, buying time. In a contained pool, I find I am constantly having to paddle or tread to create my own movement, my own sense of some elusive forward progress. While in fact I'm simply keeping busy.


Accompaniment


Once upon a time, I spent several days at the Loews Santa Monica hotel. In the evenings I would shed the day by submersing myself in the outdoor pool overlooking the beach. On these warm spring evenings, the piano bar, which bordered one full length of the pool, stripped open its dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Each night I eagerly returned to the dark stillness of what seemed my own private pool. I swam endless laps accompanied by silky renditions of Someone to Watch Over Me and old jazz standards.


Twinkle Twinkle...


As of late I've rediscovered the joy of floating. In my daughter's swimming lessons this was known as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Spread your arms and legs wide apart, like the points of a star. Inhale a generous belly breath. Lean back. Release your chin away from your chest. Close your eyes. Allow the water to support you. Hum the tune to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, optional.


Serenity


I vividly recall a scene in film The Immortal Beloved in which the young Beethoven floats effortlessly on a serene lake with the starlit sky reflected upon it's surface. Ansel Adams captured a photograph of Mount McKinley with a lake in the foreground whose surface appears such a flawless, eager canvas for the sky. Floating renders the mind such a canvas.


Effortless


Now I savour the pleasures and grace that accompany stillness. My limbs are powerful but remain motionless. My only effort comes in softening, surrendering to the delicate buoyancy of lungs and belly. The gentle rush of water against ear drums drowns out all external distractions, encouraging my inward retreat. Sanctuary.


In gratitude for my shepherd pianist and the memories of his tender accompaniment. I am no longer "lost in the woods..."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

ANTS COME MARCHING ONE BY ONE



I have an admission to make. I am unable to squash things.


I carry spiders out of my house on little squares of toilet paper.


This distresses my daughter to no end. The capture and transport of tiny, helpless creatures takes much longer than the squashing. Fearlessness of creepy crawlies is apparently not genetically transferred. Or perhaps if it is, it skips a generation.

Living things are free to roam in my house.


I'm not completely certain about cockroaches, but we've fortunately never had one. The very thought makes me nauseous. Mind you, not the thought of the roach itself, rather the thought of the loud crunching sound I imagine a roach being squashed would make. Or those bugs are large enough it might even hiss or shriek. Excruciating torture to my ears!


Judging from our experience with ants, crickets, spiders, lizards...I remember the Christmas when an entire colony of hibernating ladybugs hatched as soon we brought our freshly cut tree inside the loft. I am guessing I would attempt to capture a cockroah and set it free outside. I always remind the creatures on the way out the door, to "just please stay outside of the house from now on."


Wow! I talk to bugs. This just keeps getting better!


I have no idea when these symptoms began. I have no clear memory of the first time I saved a bug, carried it lovingly out the door and safely set it free in the garden. In college, I came home one night and found an enormous trail of ants marching across my bed. I was horrified!
I do remember feeling a sense of relief (I wasn't completely crazy, yet) and connection to all life when I began to study the Yoga Sutras. In the sutras, Patanjali elaborates on the practice of Ahimsa, or non-harming: "the practitioner will cease to encounter hostility from others."


Is that transferable?


If I'm kind to enough tiny creatures does that cancel out being rude and hostile to the customer service agent who kept me on hold for 20 minutes? Or wanting to throttle the driver who nearly t-boned me running a traffic light?


You better not…


As kids we would taunt each other over this idea. You hesitated to squash something because you might one day be resurrected as that creature.


Fascinating! Even at a young age we began conjuring theories that there was no actual, concrete and final end to life. The first law of thermodynamics, conservation of energy, states: Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. The energy of life is converted, simply given a different shape. What peace this brings. Each time I glimpse a squirrel scurrying up a tree trunk at Balboa Park I imagine my beloved cat Linus has been reincarnated!


Sometimes I even encounter resistance from the bugs!


Case in point, this morning during breakfast I noticed several straggling ants wandering through the kitchen. I reached for a nearby seed packet, stiff paper is better for carrying ants, and began coaxing the ants onto it. What did they do? Panicked and ran the other direction! Not helpful. After all, I was trying to save them and NOT to squash them. Of course, I began to calmly explain this to the ants. My daughter arrived just in time to ask who I was talking to. I repeated this exercise many more times throughout the course of the morning. Ants, it seems, seldom travel alone. They send out scouts. There are always more on the way.


At what point is enough, enough?


Valid question. I evaluate case by case, day by day. I wrangled about a dozen ants before I left the house this morning. If there was a full-scale ant invasion, hundreds across the countertop, for instance, I would have to take more drastic action. I wish I could negotiate with them, convince them to turn around and go back outside peacefully! In this case, I would resort to a non-toxic citrus oil spray that I keep on hand...


Yes, it still kills them, just not us. Toxic to ants, not humans.


And then I feel very guilty afterwards. All of those tiny, lifeless ant corpses scattered across the counter, up the wall and back across the floor. It feels a bit like genocide to me. I am fairly certain they were here first. I am the one who built the house on top of them. And we all know bugs far outnumber even humans. Spiders are easier to handle. I lightly capture them in a piece of tissue and deposit them outside. They don't travel in large colonies.


In a blind fright, one tiny ant scampered across the seed packet this morning and right across my hand. I followed him as he marched back and forth across my open hand, tracing what I believe palm readers would call my life line.


I suppose another person might have simply squeezed…


It's unclear to me whether I save these creatures because I fear the proximity of death, the karmic ramifications of my actions or if I simply have a great respect for these tiny, complex creatures and the precious life force contained within in them. There's a complicated brew of my emotions, combined with hand-selected scientific data, at work here. For now, whatever the reason, my tiny acts of mercy will continue.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WAITING FOR PATIENCE TO ARRIVE



On the surface, most parents appear to have an endless supply of patience. Able to deflect and evade the constant barrage of questions and interruptions as skillfully as any highly trained member of military intelligence.
Unless you spend time regularly with children, this ability appears baffling, bewildering and at times borders on the metaphysical. There are of course days that push each of us to our limit. Some of these days all too vividly reminding us exactly why we waited, fearfully, to have children in the first place. Days when our attempts to remain calm and collected amidst the chaos confronted during each moment feels a Herculean task.

Why don't we have an equivalent female term meaning of extrordinary power? Xenaean and Wonderwomanean, somehow don't quite do the trick. Hmmm...

I still clearly remember an afternoon, years ago, precariously close to nap time, when my adorable, well-behaved daughter began to scream at the top of her lungs in the middle of Whole Foods demanding a Jamba Juice...needless to say the icy stares from kind grandmothers, late-lunch dinks and helpless team members made the overly airconditioned store feel like Palm Springs on a bad day.

Why am I coming up empty-handed now?

I am no longer gainfully employed.

The waiting game. Only this time on a much grander scale. Perhaps the odds combined with the uncertain timeframe are what's making these games a bit more challenging. I am struggling to retain my high levels of composure, grace and patience. Expectations can be that way.

Turns out I have always found it much simpler to do something rather than nothing. I am now learning the fine art of waiting and being. However, like a verb acting as a gerund, I feel impotent, inactive, secondary. Afterall, I don't want to wait for too long...
What are you waiting for?!
I can't say, exactly, but I'll know it when I come across it. I have fine-tuned my list. I am sending the requests out there. If I stay mindful, trust and allow things to unfold, this too will arrive. Much like waiting on the platform for the evening train returning from San Juan Capistrano to San Diego, the precise timing is irrevelant. Another train is already on its way. Rather than watch the clock and angrily attempt to outlast the holds on the customer service line, it's a better use of my precious time to enjoy the music wafting from across the tracks, to savour the warm, strong hand holding mine, to feel the air begin to turn from warm to chill and to notice the cricket chorus strike flawlessly just as the remains of the day fades from dusk to darkness. A phenomenom as gratifying as witnessing the green flash.

Waiting is doing something, right?!

Time to break-down the act of waiting. Am I actively or passively waiting? I start to get a bit unclear here. A fuzziness (that word always reminds me of Fozzy the Bear) exists somewhere right between actively waiting and distracting oneself with activity. For me this is very similar to the boundary between trying to let go and actually letting go. Once I let go there is no longer any work involved in getting to that place. It's the journey to that place that takes the strength and patience.

What happens if I'm waiting for patience and grace to help me while I wait?

Be what you hope to find. I will instead embrace the uncertainty and the feelings of groundlessness and lack of purpose that accompany it. I currently lack a title. When asked what I do I will respond, "I am waiting." No not tables, I am waiting for the appropriate opportunity to present itself.

It must feel like being on vacation!

Unemployment certainly offers a tremendous amount of flexibility. Up to a point. Fiances begin to become limiting and remember, I'm one of those people who feels complete when she's doing something. I enjoy a purpose. This is clearly my lesson. Just as I felt frustrated and skeptical for the first few years that I meditated, my thoughts straying, failing to envision that clean, white sheet of paper in my mind. I am simply letting go. No more trying, forcing, making it happen now just to have something. I am letting go of the need to understand and explain and do. Once again, I have been presented with an opportunity to be.
I'm still merely human. The waiting is at times excruciating!
For now, I have shed my titles and the tasks and spreadsheets that accompany them. I am a loving, patient-at-times, single mother. It's by far the most challenging (Xenaean, it might catch on) and rewarding job I will ever have.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

WAFFLING



I ate Belgian waffles for breakfast...

Not to worry, I haven't skipped tracks completely. This is not becoming a food blog. The point is that less than 12 hours after my
inaugural post I already had doubts,
second thoughts.

I was waffling already!?

Now I understood why people choose names like "myname" for their blog name - simple, clear, all-encompassing.

My initial attempts at a name included 'soft' verbs - collecting, harnessing, gathering...soon I set these aside. I wanted to compel my audience, inspire swift, decisive action and honest, open dialogue. And so, NON SEQUITURS UNITE was born.

In the ebbing darkness of early morning I began to lose my resolve...my faith wavered and I waffled. I began to question the subtle meanings behind my choices to blog and the name for this space. What have I done?!

Belgian waffles seemed the appropriate way to begin the day. Afterwards I felt newly restored, fortified and ready to conquer my fears, along with today's post. After all, why was I concerned if I was perhaps the only member of the audience?

By mid-day my resolve had fully returned. I intend to blog. To collect my non sequiturs. To organize them here. Many great artists have gone unrecognized and under-appreciated. In my own very human and humble way I hope to someday consider myself an artist, and be held with such regard by others. What medium you ask? Must I choose?
I clearly understand that the average blog speaks to an audience of one - the ego in many cases. I hold no grandiose expectations for my ramblings. I simply hope to extract these thoughts from my head, where they orbit endlessly around my daily tasks and conversations, occasionally peppering my dialgues like the shooting stars unpredictably crossing tonight's sky.
And to my dear friend who once jested about printing a t-shirt adorned with a waffle...much appreciation for inspiring this photograph.




Monday, August 10, 2009

A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING



I have a dear friend, (I truly hope I can still call him that), who would thrill at the knowledge that I have finally, if a bit begrudgingly, created a blog. The truth is I do this out of necessity. In his absence, my stray thoughts need a home.

Somehow we began to walk and talk. How did it all begin? With each purposeful step, our dialogue seemed to flow - rich, abundant, satisfying. For a time, the flow of conversation and topics and commentary seemed vast, endless. Overflowing through rugged hikes and lazy strolls the banter continued to spill forth. Did I mention that this friend of mine is that perfect mix of patient and honest, clever yet subtle, challenging while encouraging.

It was on one of our many meandering walks that my dear, honest friend finally interrupted MY interruptions to express his frustration with my constant mental chatter. He had once again lost his brilliant train of thought due to the random thoughts and commentary that would suddenly and spontaneously erupt from me. It seems that in my genuine urge to communicate with him I had created a running narrative on our surroundings, passerby and the strange chain -reaction of thoughts these would stir in my mind. (Breath. That was almost a run-away sentence.) As he expressed his annoyance, I, of course, interrupted triumphantly with the condition for the symptoms he was describing with such distaste - "non sequiturs!"

At the time, there was some relief, accompanied by heartfelt laughter, that came with being able to call "them" something - even though a shared relevance or connection was a stretch, as each one of my stray thoughts was, by nature, completely unrelated to the next. Conveniently, non sequiturs became the topic of conversation. Therefore, in order to thoroughly illustrate their definition, these unrelated interruptions belonged as a necessary part of our dialogue, for a time...

Now there is a place to put these random thoughts, curiosities and inner musings. While each entry may defy logic or reason in its original context, here they all find a home - related to one another due to the mere fact that they are completely unrelated to each other or anything else.
Stray thoughts, kenneled here. Non sequiturs, sequestered.
Perhaps as I gather them together I will recognize some until-now unrealized pattern or connection between them all. But then they might perhaps no longer be considered true non seguiturs...

With immense gratitude to authentic friends who are not only willing to listen, but are also willing to engage in, the messy art of conversation. And in honor of my dear Father who patiently shared with me his thorough love of language and of life.