Thursday, April 23, 2015

just keep breathing

when my heart is breaking, i keep breathing.

when i stop breathing, i remind myself to take another breath.

i have asked for prayer and it was given.

i was wanting some advice and the perfect person walked by my desk and had five minutes to talk to me.

when i cried it was comfortable and safe.

the voices in my head are all over the place, with a myriad of opinions about putting our beautiful and sparkling warrior of a son on meds today.

i have asked that we do bloodwork to check his vitamin and hormone levels.

his diet needs more variety and healthy items.  and he needs to take more of a part in preparing it.

should he be avoiding gluten like his mama does?

and God is in everything, including the meds, right?

"We are all given the choice of reacting negatively to the demands made on us or choosing to live abundantly.  attitude is all.  If you do not endow your life and your work with meaning, no one will ever be able to do it for you."  -april 4 simple abundance calendar

Theophanies are visible manifestations of Spirit.  We find them by looking for mystery in the mundane, seeing the Sacred in the ordinary. "  -april 9

"Try to glimpse everything you do, no matter how insignificant it may seem, as part of your authentic path to Wholeness and it shall become so."  -april 10

"Perfection leaves so little room for improvement; so little space for acceptance-or joy.  On the path we have chosen, progress is the simple pleasure to be savored."  -april 13

"Spirituality, simplicity, and serenity seem to be a sacred trinity; three divine qualities of the contented soul" -april 16

"Seeking order within means coming to grips with the craziness you've been too distracted to do anything about.  When we establish order within, external order will become a visible reality in our daily round." -april 18

"The search for authenticity is like living on a fault line; you never know when the earth is going to move beneath your feet." -april 22

Since coming back to work this week, I hadn't read through the daily calendar of wisdom penned by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  I perused them, typed in the ones that spoke to me, altering them slightly, as the theme was on making one's home a haven and I felt the meaning could be widened to help my soul in this moment.

Some might feel I shouldn't be sharing my private life and the details concerning our son online.  I get it.  But since I am willing to speak to any of you face-to-face about what I have shared so far, I'm going to take a chance and invite my loves to breathe with me and feel peace with me and know that when help is asked for and then proffered, it should not be turned away without further examination.

i have asked for someone to give me a hug and they are on their way.

i pulled some cards from the abundance pack and got flexibility, worthiness,
patience, practice and receptivity.

and i keep breathing.  and keep breathing.

thanks for listening.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day of Silence Musings

Last Friday was A Day of Silence, sponsored by GLSEN.

According to the site, "Thousands of students across the country will participate in the Day of Silence, an annual international event that brings attention to the anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment that is common in schools."  (LGBT=Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, for those of you not familiar with the term.)

Last year, the day before the event, a transgender student here at the high school brought in flyers and asked if we could post them in the Library.  I said it was no problem and did a little research on the subject.  After reading up on it, I decided to participate as well.

I started the challenging silent day with a note to myself, reminding me to not talk.  It's interesting how we communicate when we aren't using our voices, especially when it comes to waking teenagers for school.  I spent the day at school, with slips of paper explaining why I wasn't talking.  I went out of my way to track down a teacher who had given me a strange look when I didn't respond appropriately to her greeting.  I didn't want her to think I was stranger than she already did.

I blogged throughout the day but I don't think I ever posted it, for some reason.  What I remember the most was the feeling of disconnection I felt with those around me.  It started seeping into me a few hours into my workday and it just felt so damn lonely.  Perhaps that's the point of this day, to give folks an insider's point of view in the lives of people who feel silenced, unable to be their true selves.

How many of us, however, live our lives feeling like we can't really share our true thoughts, feelings and parts of our personality for fear of rejection or judgement?

On Good Friday of this year, one of our students took their own life via hanging.  Taylor (born Joshua), had been at this school since early Fall and I had watched her move from a solitary figure into one who was a part of a nice group of friends.  I talked her into trying a few library books, even though she was a very reluctant reader.  I felt she was very brave to be an openly transgender student on campus.  I knew it couldn't be easy.

When I heard that she had killed herself, my heart broke for her, her family, her friends, and the amazing staff here on campus that had supported her.  I became more distressed as I read posts on the local newspaper site and heard stories about the school being bashed by the local Gay/Lesbian/Transgender support groups.  Because of confidentiality, the staff here has not been able to share any information.  For those of you with any doubts, however, take my word when I say that the reasons Taylor decided to leave this life were not solely due to bullying here on campus.  She was very protected here.

As I read the headlines around the world regarding another "suicide because of bullying", and compare them with experiences I've had with my own son at school, I am constantly reminded that the stories are always much bigger than the news reports and much less cut and dry than the paperwork would infer.

Despite my best intentions, I did not hold the Day of Silence this year, although I put up information in the Library and helped our ASB teacher gather information to support the students who held a silent lunch out in the main common area known as "The Bowl".  I just didn't feel that I had the tenacity to stick with it and wasn't up to feeling that pervading loneliness that I remember from last year.

We all deserve to be supported in our quest for a fulfilling life.  We are all here for a reason and if we don't know what that is, we can start by seeing how we can help another, and then getting in touch with something that stirs our inner passions.

RIP, Taylor Alesana.  I'm blessed to have known you and am sorry to say goodbye.

Thanks for listening.

There's quite a few pics of Taylor on the internet, but this is my favorite.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Feeling Grateful and Inspired

Although it's only 10:20 p.m., I'm beat.  I am resisting my delicious bed for a few, however, just to check in and let people, especially the ones I've talked to this weekend in person or on the phone, how much I feel loved, supported and honored in my life.  I feel connected to so many amazing people.  We are all on different paths and I am blessed that yours have crossed mine in this lifetime.   Even it it's a quick hug and a "how you doing?", it feeds my soul.

After a relatively mellow but productive week at the library, I had band practice with "Wildfire", a group of mostly locals who are working on a fun dance set.  Those four hours flew by.  I wasn't quite ready to go home when everyone else split, so I did a "first".  I went to the Pub and watched the band by myself.  I didn't need a beverage, in fact, wanted to stay alert and get home before I got too tired.  I sat a bit out of the way, and my ego wasn't even hurt when no-one approached me.  :)

Saturday, I got to do arts-and-crafts in the Library with some young students whose parents are taking English Language classes in the morning on the high school campus.  I am part of the "free childcare", though I am getting paid and have a partner in crime.  Neither of us consider ourselves very "crafty" but since we both hunger for efficiency and a low-drama environment, we're a pretty good team and I do have to admit that working out that creative muscle is a positive side benefit.

After the kiddies, I went to a friend's house to work on a song we're performing this Friday for an ordination.  I feel pretty special having my own piano accompanist.  Wednesday we'll dial it in as a group and my girls will harmonize with me.  Few things make me feel as good as I do when our voices intertwine and support each other.  After that I had a coffee with a friend and enjoyed delightful conversation and laughter.  It felt good.  Frankie and the Invisibles were playing at the local golf resort that evening.  I know them all personally and a fun group of us were there in support and to have a good time.  Mission accomplished.

I went a bit early to church today, as my friend Paul was playing an original piece for the 8:30 a.m. service.  It was a lovely song.  Then I got to be on stage with (almost) the whole group.  It really feels like home when I'm in that place with those people.

After services I had lunch with another friend and enjoyed being mentored and doing a friendship catch-up, I was inspired to consider the next steps in my endeavor to offer Organizing and Personal Assisting services to the local clientele.  I just finished my first Craig's List Ad, sent it off to be analyzed, and will work on flyers soon.  My areas of interest are with personal and professional spaces, helping the client move through piles, ideas, drawers, systems to "dial it in" and make it work for them.  My secret obsession is in kitchens, professional as well as private.  I think it would be awesome to work in a restaurant for a short-time and get paid to suggest streamline ideas, focusing on interpersonal and hospitality satisfaction.  

I walked around the Spring Art Show in downtown Fallbrook's Art Center, and enjoyed time in front of each piece.  It was quiet and I was in no rush.  Some of the colors simply overwhelmed me, they were so gorgeous.  There was one piece, of amazing birds on a great background that  I went back to admire several times.  I fantasized about how it would look over my fantasy fireplace in my fantasy house.

I guess I was inspired because as I chatted with my mom later on the phone, I pulled out a collage I had made a few years ago and used a bingo marker to paint red circles around the pictures, erasing the empty spaces and adding a more yummy and finished feel.  After it dried I put it on my wall.  The theme of this Vision Board is self-love and acceptance; continuing on this healthier relationship with myself and others.  Sometimes I feel wise and sometimes I need reminders.  These boards bring the unseen into the seen, I believe, and I really love working on them, for myself as well as for others.  Perhaps I could somehow invorporate the Vision Boards into my summer work with clients.  What better way to visualize what is wanted than ripping and tearing.  Creative mess is so invigorating.

Then I watched Sherlock Holmes (the Robert Downey Jr. version, part 1) with my roomie, pausing it to walk/sprint before the sun went down and the woods became a creepy backdrop for my childish and fearful imagination.  Then we finished the movie, along with more great conversation.

Here's part of the collage that I bingo-markered the heck out of.  
Ready for bed now.  Feeling happy and tired.
Thanks for listening.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

APA=Always Pleasant Amenity

Buddha Japan
Although I didn't take this photo, we visited here and climbed into the statue.  

I'm back and ready to check back in on my blog.  It was a whirlwind of a trip--10 days in Japan,   (8 really, with 2 days travel), plus 2 days of catching back up to PST.  The first night back I went to bed around 11 p.m., after traveling for 20 hours and being awake about 35.  I slept until 3:45 the next afternoon.  The next night I didn't go to sleep until after 2 a.m., woke to the alarm at 9:30, twelve hours later, I was wired.  It was 9:11 p.m. and my first alarm would wake me for work at 4:45 a.m. Good thing it was a light day scheduled for the Library.

I originally wrote that first paragraph a few days ago, but after getting frustrated with not being able to upload pics shot on my phone, then sent by an app to email, and then having little luck getting those photos to download so I could share them here, I gave up.  Time has passed, but tonight when I attempted the photo thing, I ran around in circles again.  I'll post some more . . . sometime . . . somehow.  :)

Japan was amazing, as I knew it would be.  Some things have changed in the 20 years since we visited last, like the amount of dogs on the street in parks, quite often in sweaters and some with accessories on their heads like barettes, etc. There were many more non-Japanese people out and about (way more).  But some things haven't changed, foremost the Japanese attention to detail and courtesy.

Businesses in Japan really focus on customer service and the appeal of the packaging.  It was rare that we didn't feel comfortable, unless we think back on some of the crowded subway or busses.  Personal space becomes a luxury.  My dad was also very focused on us having a great tourist experience.  We ate (a lot!) and saw the sights (many!) and the whole time he was our very gracious host.  This trip wouldn't have been possible without him and my step-mom, Miwako.  We will forever be indebted.  (They were quite the troopers, having visited Italy themselves right before our arrival!)

We stayed in a couple of hotels on our journey to Kyoto and Hiroshima, and one of them was the APA.  It's a chain.  I didn't know what the letters stood for until one evening when I was compulsively reading the wrapping on the toilet paper roll.  There I found out that APA stood for Always Pleasant Amenity.  To me, that summed up Japan.  Doing their best to be honorable to their guests and offer pleasant amenities.

The room was cozy tiny and, my dad said, not as fancy as the price would suggest, but I found it fantastic.  There were all sorts of freebies in the bathroom, including hair bands and brushes.  I think the price reflected the fact that it happened to be Cherry Blossom week and Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, was full of folks who had come for the viewing.  Cherry Blossom week is a huge deal and now that I've experienced it, I can understand why.  The trees are gorgeous with white or pink blossoms, which show themselves at their best for only a few days, before they fall off like raindrops.  It is customary in Japan for families and friends to meet under the blossoming trees and eat and drink and be merry.  We saw a lot of examples of this.  Cute to see men in business suits spreading out blue tarps and waiting for their guests. 

Since I can't currently post one of my MANY cherry blossom shots. I will borrow from google images, just so that you can enjoy the beauty.  

We visited temples and shrines, had coffee in a surfer coffeehouse, rode the bullet train (twice) and had fun with the amusingly translated English.  ("Dog Whiz" was a four-story dog supply store, with the name in huge yellow letters.  There was also a "Womb" store.  I think it sold fancy clothing.)

We ate Mochi (a Japanese sweet) until we felt ourselves turning into rice, although Erik never got sick of it.  Jakob obsessed over his favorite dish, cold Soba noodles.  He could eat them a few times a day if given the chance.  I gave him my portion on the plane ride home.  I was ready for some chicken with sauce.  He just wanted more buckwheat noodles in sauce.  

The 10-hour flights should have been for sleeping, but with so many movies to choose from, I admit I did barely more than doze.  (I need to rent and re-watch "Men, Women and Children".  A very trippy movie about family life in these days of virtual connections.  The airline staff collected the earphones ten minutes before the movie was over.  I was bummed.  I watched "Wild", by Sheryl Strayed, and found it very good.  I had loved the book.  I also watched "Girl Gone".  Yikes.  "If I Stay" got some tears out of me.  Oh, and I watched a Johnny Depp documentary.  Couldn't resist.  Yum.

I missed blogging, missed the connection I feel when I'm sharing my thoughts and the feedback I get from my community.  I'll post more soon.  I promise.   

Thanks for listening.  Missed you.