Daring Greatly Challenge, food, free, gratitude, just for fun, sobriety, TBTH

TBTH

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#8….Time connecting with a friend

Tonite is strategic in my TBTH plans. Actually inviting people over and feeding them. And letting them bring offerings; a salad, pies, bread, booze…

I am disappointed that 2 of my friends can’t make it at the last minute, but the reason is good (and not so good, but they are fine). Besides my disappointment the only issue will be that I have MORE too much food, because…not an entertainer. It always seems better to have more rather than less, no?

I am calm and looking forward to the evening though. The house is clean, the soup is on and I basically just have to get dressed. I admit I hear Tom’s voice from the past “jesus! pour yourself a glass of (insert whatever I was drinking that evening) and relax”! That is how we rolled. He LOVED entertaining; I did too but was so anxious about it.  Letting go of my anxiety  without alcoholic support is a wonderful feeling .

So I will come back here after the party is over and say what I know: it was fun and wonderful and the best part was connecting with my old friends. Because that is the greatest joy, right? All that matters anymore.

 

And I am back, midnight. Kitchen cleaned, face washed, sipping my tea.

Truly? For me it was a PERFECT evening! I hope my friends felt the same. I am feeling really grateful right about now…..

 

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gratitude, life, meditation, open, practice, quotes, stories, yoga

Another YES

“There are times when I have no idea
what comes next & it’s the thing I’ve
come to love most about being alive:
leaning in to hear the invitation
of each day & feeling my whole
body melt when I say
yes, yes, yes.”

Brian Andreas

 

I LOVE that!

Of course I would, I am all about the yes ( and  the bass, no treble).

This was there in my inbox, ready to pounce on me this morning as I drank my tea and readied for the day.

It’s interesting to me that I have been working on a post about Yin Yoga, which is a style of yoga I am completely enamored with. And the basic tenants of the style are to first, find your edge in a pose; that point where there is no pain but there IS sensation. Then, as you breathe, you lean into the pose, waiting for an invitation to go deeper, which almost always comes for me. And, finally, you hold for time.

This story of Brian’s reminded me so much of that. The whole idea of not knowing what the pose will bring, yet being willing to lean in and say yes to a deeper experience, no matter if it’s wonderful or uncomfortable. Just like life.

We get out of bed and it’s a crap-shoot, am I right?  What happens next, and next? Sure we have plans and ideas, but if we really let go, lean in, life can and will, surprise the hell out of us on a regular basis.

I never used to like that about life. My life was so small and contained and I needed to know what was going to happen next or I would be filled with  fear. I see that I was like that my whole life, using isolation, eating, drinking…..whatever I could to escape the notion that I couldn’t control anything. YEARS of that! At this point I am so grateful to finally have found a better way.

I was talking to a friend and mentioned how surprised I am  that at this late stage in my life I have found something new to be in love with.  I was referring to yoga in the particular, but in the bigger sense I am referring to life itself. I have not been in love with life for a  very long time, and , don’t get me wrong, I still can argue with it with the best of them. But this idea of acceptance, of leaning in and allowing life to happen, saying yes, is a new and welcome idea.

I intend to keep playing the edge and letting myself soften into the deeper experiences of life. As far as holding for time? Well, I have some left  and plan on leaning in, both literally and metaphorically, to the yes.

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gratitude, life, person, sobriety, stories

A Gift

http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/2013/04/18/100-questions-to-inspire-rapid-self-discovery/

 

100 questions?!

I love it, especially tonite.

I have been cleaning and making a playlist for my party on Saturday night and I am getting tired. I suddenly remembered  I hadn’t written a post for today yet (I am, obviously, writing this Thursday night).

But this is a good one, no? LOTS of idea for writing when  you are stuck and have made a ridiculous commitment to a post a day (who, me?) . I actually have a few started, however they need more work than I am willing to give them right now.

So here’s my post, with and GIFT to you attached….you didn’t know there’d be prized did you?

100 ideas for blogs. TADA!!!

I will quickly answer the question about meeting one of my heroes.

I call Anne Lamott one of my gurus and that is absolutely true. I quoted her in yesterday’s post, and have certainly done so before. I have read every book she has ever written and will admit that, while I slavishly adore every piece of non-fiction she has written, I’m a  little “not so much” about her fiction. Whatever. She is amazing to me on so many levels. I have read her books for years,  but had to re-read them all (for the whatever-eth time) after I got sober and there was so much help for me there.

Anyway…during her tour for Stitches she came to the L.A. Central Library in conversation with Father Gregory Boyle (another local hero of mine!). I went with a friend and it was pretty awesome to hear her talk about her writing and everything under the sun. Afterwards she  stayed to autograph books and my friend and I got in line. At the end. ON PURPOSE…hoping to have a word.

When we got to her we were literally the last two people, and there was relief on her face. Of course, I could not help myself and began to talk. About how much I loved her, how inspiring she was to me, how I’ve read all of her books how I am sober too and she was sweet. I was walking away when I remembered the latest and greatest lesson I had learned from her…WAIT (which stands for Why Am I Talking). I had finally shut up around my son and life was getting so much better, and I told her that.

She thanked me and commiserated for  a moment, and then handed me a red tootsie roll pop (she’s pretty famous for being helpless around them). As I wrote this I am looking at the pop. It sits in the bowl I use for pens on my desk, and reminds me every day that I can change, and do hard things, I can live through grief and I can write just as badly as I want to or need to and all will be ok in the end. Because…grace.

 

Ok, phew. Done!

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gratitude, grief, life, music, person, TBTH, tom

Amazing Grace

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott

That is one of my very favorite quotes, ever, from Anne’s book Travelling Mercies.

Today it was singing in my head, because I was confounded and amused and lifted by grace all day.

After my yoga class I headed out to Northridge, where my house had been, to the local branch of CitiBank.  The branch housed, for the last 23 years, my safe deposit box. It’s held a lot of different things over the years, pink slips and passports;  marriage,birth,and death certificates; house deeds and loan papers, re-fi and equity papers; copies of insurances, contracts and  wills….you get the idea. All the signposts of a life. Travel, home, kid, work, life and death.

It hasn’t held anything of much importance the last few years, certainly nothing that a  small fire-proof safe in my closet couldn’t handle.  I kept renewing it though; I just didn’t want to let it go.

Something that you aren’t prepared for when someone dies is how they don’t just die, BAM!, and over. There is so much work to do. Years of it. And each thing you tackle is significant because death is truly a series of little deaths, a slow disappearing.  So today when I went to close the safe deposit box  I had to pull on my big girl panties and face that music once again. Another little death, another piece of Tom disappearing from my life. This is almost 9 years in. I still have one more big thing looming…I can’t think about that right now.

Anyway, I went to yoga first, and that was helpful. It gave me a chance to breathe into whatever kind of pain I might face, not anticipating it but preparing for it, if that makes sense. A good friend of mine’s ex-husband died 3 days ago and so I offered my practice for her, for her grief as well as mine.

When I left I called my dear friend who lives in that area to see if we could have lunch. I didn’t tell her why, anytime I am unexpectedly in the area I would call her. And  I was really working to stay in the now, to not anticipate any feelings I might have, although clearly I was being led to take care of myself. By who/what?  Grace, already at work.

I spent 15 minutes at the bank, retrieving what was in the box and signing some papers. When I got in my car I felt it though, that familiar tickle in the throat, tightening of the chest, and tears welled up. Another little loss. As I headed to my friends  I put on some music, but instead of the channel I meant to turn on  I heard…..Showtunes! I suddenly  remembered that Sirius was giving me 2 free weeks for Thanksgiving, and the button I had mistakenly hit was for the “all show tunes all the time (I-am -a- big- nerd)” channel. And it was playing a song from a musical that Tom always wanted , but never was able to, produce. Grace. *Wink*

When I arrived at my friends I didn’t mention anything. I felt ok, a little shaky but ok. And not only did she feed me fabulous home-made soup but she gave me an out of the blue gift, some beautiful earrings.  A present! More grace! Instead of a feeling of loss, a reminder of how much I have.

I had some essential oils for another friend, so I suggested tea and we met at a sweet little place called Rumi Cafe (yes, named after that Rumi). We talked, and again I didn’t mention the box. I felt ok. I was happy to be there with her and have a chai latte and feel the grace that comes in just being with someone you care about.

Then it was the grocery stores I needed to hit for my get-together on Saturday (it’s all done except for the cleaning, I even polished silver! TBTH!) and headed home.

I had been enjoying the show tunes all day and just as I pulled into my garage a new song started, a lovely and sad song written by Stephen Sondheim. I only heard the first few lines before the garage, which is underground, cut my radio off. It’s from A Little Night Music and begins “Every day a little death….”

I started laughing, because what else?

And that was it. There was no maudlin weeping today, no angry railing at the gods, it was just one more little thing, one more little disappearance in a long course of them. And the song capped it, reminded me that it has always been so, and will continue to be and, so. The whole day was so filled with joy and grace that a few minutes of feeling not so good was fine, because “grace meets us where we are but doesn’t leave us where it found us”, right?

Today Grace met me at the bank and deposited me, at the end of the day, happy and full of love in my new normal, accepting and so very grateful for every second of it, of all my life before and my beautiful life now.

Amazing Grace.

 

 

 

 

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life, meditation, poetry, Uncategorized

Be Love

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination
will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the mornings,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.”
Pedro Arr

 

I’m not sure I have anything to add to this poem.

It’s all there, the truth of it.

I guess I could add that, of course, the first step is deciding what you are in love with. You have to be in love with something before the love can decide the rest of it, yes?

And I can also add the obvious, that we fall in and out of love all the time, so one day it might be a person, another day a political movement, another day yoga…or maybe all three, and more, yes?

Of course, I can add that we are love. That we can be and reflect love in the world ourselves, raising the vibration of all around us to be and reflect that same love.

When you fall in love one thing leads to another.

Especially when what you fall in love with is life.

 

“Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Mary Oliver

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Daring Greatly Challenge, life, meditation, open, practice, spirituality

I Dare Ya!

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#10 asks about a DARING ADVENTURE you have taken.

I’m not the daring type. I picture many people answering this about treks to Macchu Picchu, jumps out of airplanes, backpacking around Europe and all sorts of fabulous, and daring adventures. That’s what I picture and imagine that many others do too.  I’ve had a great life, been to Europe a few times, had some awesome experiences that I am glad to remember, but daring?

The thing is that my reality is very different. I believe my most valuable daring adventures have been in just living life, the everyday. That’s what I look back on and say, YES! dared greatly there!  I could have bungee-jumped off the Empire State building and it wouldn’t have held a candle to the adventure of raising my son. I could have gone on several African safari’s, toured the world, hiked Everest and nothing could have been more adventurous, or daring! than sharing my life with another human being, my Tom. The older I get, the more I understand that the more common place adventures are the things of truly Daring Greatly. Life, in  all it ‘s beauty and pain and wonder and grace and horribleness….that’s what counts, that is meaning.

Today I look at my life and see myself pulling out of depression, starting a yoga practice, attempting dating (though that adventure is definitely not panning out!), quitting drinking, selling my house, living my life…all of these things are daring adventures for me. It’s the ordinary that wins, the extraordinary ordinary that counts as an adventure worth my time.

This picture represents an adventure I’m on now, a Spiritual adventure. For an atheist that’s a big word “spiritual”, but I believe there is room for it all and room for even more than we can possibly know. I don’t think atheist really describes me anymore, but I’ve yet to figure out what does. It doesn’t matter though. What I’ve come to understand is that it’s a quest, an adventure I am on and we will see where it leads me. My suspicion is that it will lead me right back into myself; actually, I am sure of that. But in a new way,  with a different  and deeper understanding.

That’s as adventurous as I want to be today, and it feels hella daring!!

 

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Facebook, gratitude, music

Moments of grace

Lying on the couch this morning .

Slept in late. Breakfast finished. Drinking tea.

Emails read and now the dreaded FB. Why the “dreaded” FB?

I have such a love/hate relationship with it. I like how it keeps me in touch with people I want to be in touch with, however, I admit to having hidden almost all of my “friends” because I just don’t care about the minutia of their lives. I follow mostly inspirational sites, poets I like, yoga people (everyone has a FB site now). I find it to be an awful time-suck for me. I understand that that is entirely my own fault, I take complete responsibility. The constant checking, the way I use it to avoid doing other things; it sickens me. I just got a new phone and FB did not transfer over for some reason and I like it; I’m planning on keeping it off my phone. (However, I need Shazam back!)

Anyway, some days FB is not so dreaded. Sometimes I remember why I am on it. I am delivered something so wonderful that it makes up for all the noise. It can be a picture of a friend’s child, a video of something absolutely silly, a poem by a favorite author, a beautiful and inspirational post from an unexpected source, good news from afar or some information about a new film I MUST see, or new music that I MUST hear.

Today, as I lay on the couch and pushed play on a sound cloud link from “On Being” (a wonderful site BTW), I was transported.

http://www.onbeing.org/blog/the-story-behind-bachs-monumental-chaconne/7032

It’s Sunday.

Fifteen minutes of bliss with Tim Fain, violin only, Bach’s Chaconne.

It was Church.

(It will do your Monday good!)

 

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