Friday, December 14, 2007
Winter is here. It was kinda amusing the first few little snows, but this snow is neither little nor amusing. Everything is basically functional and all (no snow days!) but just slower than usual. The snow is up to about my midcalf. Driving in it is not as scary as I thought it would be, if you just go really slow. I have snow tires and things like that too. There's plows all around, at all hours. It's an irritating sound when they go by because of the metal-on-pavement scrape and the loud engines, but its kind of a comforting sound too, knowing that things are being taken care of and I could probably get out if I needed to. The scenery is monochromatic, and not in a calming way; in a boring, craving color kind of way. So, while first kinda fun, winter is no longer amusing. And I still have about 4 months of it left. Why isn't the Option Institute in Hawaii?
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I'm a pretty busy person these days. I work 8:30 to 5:30 doing training and administrative services stuff (the latter being how I pay off my tuition for the former, in a kind of work/study arrangement), then each week that we have a program at the Institute I work on Sunday from 5 to 9 in the parking lot greeting participants as they arrive and telling them where their rooms are. Every week night that we have a program I close the kitchen too, which is from 7 to about 9 or 10 depending on the size of the program. My class is done with the official class-wide pre-assigned homework papers and essays, but we still get individual homework from class and teachers and have two sheets to fill out every week asking questions about things we've observed. Then I get acupuncture pretty much every Saturday afternoon, and my acupuncturist is also the person I'm closest to here so we then hang out til the wee hours of Sunday morning generally. Actually, Fritz and I hang out so much that if one of us says "we did such and such" everyone just assumes the "we" bit is me and him (no, matchmakers, there is no romance there: he has a girlfriend in England and we are simply close and loving friends). I generally spend some time every weekend with another friend Shaun. He's teaching me guitar and I give him reiki and we have the most bizarre intellectual/philosophical talks about things like how the concept of a concept is impossible to define because you have to use concepts to do so. Somewhat pointless but entertaining, and once in a while we come with something actually useful. I do things with Susan and Paula and Holly too. Fritz and Shaun work in the kitchen and Holly, Susan, and Paula are in my training program. Actually, Susan recently graduated it, Paula is about to, and Holly is in my class. Then there's going to the laundromat, shopping, all the driving you have to do around here to get anywhere, trying to get decent amounts of sleep, making sure I have time to just sit around and read or whatever, getting my personal homework done.... So yeah. Business. To all of you I don't keep in great contact with, it's not because I don't love you! It's just that I'm busy making myself the best me I can be, as a tribute and a help to you and all that you mean to me, because I do love you.
Monday, October 29, 2007
I loved getting my message the other day, with you singing. I can't believe you know the whole alphabet, and a brand new prayer I've never heard you say! I have pictures of you and mommy and daddy and Aliana at my desk at work, and I think of you all every day. In a couple of months I will be coming to visit your family and Oma. I hope we will get to play lots, and I can't wait to see what new things you will have learned by then!
I love you very much.
Friday, October 19, 2007
And here's an exciting second part. Suppose I do say "I'd love a hug, please" and my friend says "no." So what! They say this all the time at Option but I never got it: that means everything about him and nothing about me. He could still think I'm the greatest person ever, he just doesn't want a hug right then. He has a sore arm, he's afraid to catch my cold (I really do have a nasty cold, by the way), or he just isn't in the mood. Or maybe my friend really does decide he thinks I'm not a great person and doesn't want to maintain the friendship. So what again! Just because he isn't seeing it in the moment doesn't mean I'm *not* a great person, it just means he's not seeing it because of his own filters and stuff. Or he does see it but its not the kind of greatness he needs in his life right now. Or he's more comfortable interacting in unhappiness. There's a million things it could mean, but it does NOT mean anything about me.
What a freeing couple of realizations to have had!
Friday, October 12, 2007
In the past week I have:
- gone to dinner and a movie with a friend from work
- gone on a hike with a friend from work
- gone to open mic night at a club with about 8 people from work and their various spouses, friends, etc.
- gone to a karaoke night at a restaurant /bar
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Last night someone I care about kinda inexplicably disappeared. The details turned out to be very convoluted, and a message from him was relayed incorrectly to me, and all in all it wasn't that big a deal once I figured out what had actually happened. But the point in this: when I thought he was gone for a long time with no explanation and no direct goodbye, I freaked out. "He's decided I'm disgusting, just like I always knew I was, every time I care about someone they disappear, its not worth caring about people 'cause you just get left, the happiness isn't worth the pain" and all that. It was less than it has been in the past, so maybe I'm getting better with it. But it was still there and it still sucked a lot, causing vomiting and a sleepless night.
Any ideas, friends?
Thursday, September 20, 2007
So I got a new tattoo while I was in Austin. Its actually centered on my forearm, its just then when you hold your arm up the muscles and skin twist around. While it does happen to be a single star design, it is not a Lone Star/ Texas thing. That's a coincidence I didn't notice 'til the next day. Here's what it is though. The friend I went to visit has a tat of Orion (like, the constellation) across his back. Almost every star in it is different: different colors, numbers of points, interior designs, exterior designs, sizes... just all different kinds of stars. My newest tattoo is one of those stars. Orion's left foot, actually, but not because that's significant, its just the star I like the best. Orion has always meant protection to me (turns out it does to this friend too) so my star is symbolic of being always protected. It also has a nebula around it, which is where stars are born. This Orion-inked friend has been a huge resource for me during my move to Massachusetts and just in life in general the past several months, and I've grown in ways I thought were impossible for me; so its also a reminder that I can do and be anything, and that support and friends are a hugely important aspect of change. And that change is good and fun and even easy!
Yes, I also got a haircut. It was time. I tend to cut my hair during times of change and transition and growth, or to commemorate some event. The past 2 months have had lots of all of those things, so I decided it was time. I like it. Its shaved underneath to about the temple, and makes a rather jaunty little ponytail.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I went on a trip to Austin, Texas this past weekend to see a friend of mine. It was spectacular. Austin is a really neat city with bats and turtles and pralines and fried pickles and lakes and toys and queso and tostadas and fun and friendliness. And its really pretty too. It was glorious to see my friend and have hugs. I got a new tattoo and a hair cut, too. It was a rockin' awesome birthday weekend, nearly perfect. I'm so so so glad I went. I was already really close to this friend I went to see, and now I feel even closer, which is a really nice feeling. I met another friend there for a few hours, and that was also really really nice.
Had a phone call with Julie Walker this morning. I still get to eat chocolate! Just not refined sugars, lol. More details on that too.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
So. I now believe that happy people get amazing, sweet, loving attention and there is no reason to be unhappy. Yay! It feels a lot better this way.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
So anyway. Patience. I have this idea that if I'm given an idea once, I should automatically be able to do that thing forever more. I'm not being patient with myself at all, not really understanding this is a process, there's a reason its a three year program. Apparently theres this whole do-learn-integrate-practice-master model of learning and I'm trying to jump from learn to master. (By the way, model-giver or anyone else who knows, how come you do first, then learn? Why isn't it learn then do?) I'm ok with not knowing something if I haven't been expressly told (eh... ok well I generally am, but that another whole post) but once I'm told, I feel like I should be integrating it right away, one hundred per cent. And then I get really judgmental if I'm not. And then I get judgmental that I'm being judgmental. And then I just get trapped in this morass of judging.
I need help with this.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Work. Today I was in the playroom with a child for the first time, and got feedback for the first time. This kid is the cutest boy ever, or at least he is when I'm with him (don't worry, Jordon, you're still the cutest when I'm not under this kid's direct influence!). I had a really good time in the room; he even held my hand and gave me a little hug! And the feedback was great. I had been dreading it, afraid I would be defensive or take it personally or find some other all-about-me way to not take in the feedback I got. But, yay me! I was really present and open and answered all the teacher's questions honestly and thoughtfully and authentically. It helped to think of the feedback in terms of ways I was effective and ways I was ineffective; not good and bad, or even good and needs improvement or some other euphemism for bad. Mostly my feedback boils down to this: I need to be in the moment, love the moment I'm in, and not be worrying about the possibilities of the future; to trust that I will know what to do when the next moment arrives, and the next and the next. When I'm worried about whatever, I miss the beauty of the moment I'm in, and the chance to show the person I'm with how much I appreciate the moment. So, loving the moment fully and genuinely. Which is obviously a spectacular idea for all of life, not just in a Son-Rise playroom. God I'm gonna learn a lot, this was only my first day of real training!
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
So every day, except the first day which was kinda scary and stressful, I've woken up looking forward to going to work; even if I was tired or something I still wanted to be there. Except today. Today I'd kinda just like to stay in bed and avoid all the people at work and the hiking and the food and everything. Then I'm a little freaked out because I was thinking and hoping I would always like work, and expecting that of myself. I feel like people at work are expecting it of me too, although I'm pretty sure that mostly not true.
Things I'm not looking forward to today: being around highly energetic people, being asked more about my scars, being asked more about sensory dysfunction, and being slower at walking up that stupid hill than the spritely skinnyass people (gee, no bitterness there, huh). Also I'm now putting an expectation on myself to always be happy. People are saying its more fun and more cheerful and a more positive influence, they are proud of me and all. So I put pressure on myself to be cheerful and feel good. I feel like its not ok to feel off. And if I do, I should hide it.
I guess those are the things I should consider ways to be happier about then. But. Uhm. Sometime when I'm not about to be late for said work.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I know the best hugger.
I know the most loving toddler.
I know the most grounded woman.
I know the funniest man.
I knew the guy with the best beard ever.
I know the best sorting out pysch stuff guy.
I know the coolest pop-and-lock dancer, who also has the best singing voice.
I know the silliest lady.
I know the most nurturing woman.
I know the bravest lady.
I know the sweetest girl.
I know the boy-o with the best accent, who says "mmhmm" in the best way.
I know the most realistic woman.
I know the best cook. No wait, I know the two best cooks! One specializes in breakfast and one in spicy stuff, but both rock.
I know the guy who drinks the most green tea.
I know the smartest man.
I know the most dedicated chick.
I know the guy who says "sweetie" in the best way.
I know the most giving lady.
I know the most curious little girl baby, with the best expressions.
I know the best mommy and daddy.
I know the most open woman.
I know the most accepting woman.
I know the most caring and devoted and wanting-to-grow people.
I am the luckiest me!
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The Option Institute itself is a really different kind of place to work. Here's the "Standards for Option Institute Staff" they give everyone at their orientations:
- Support the Option Institute- in words and actions.
- Respect and lovingly serve our guests and staff.
- Deliver excellence... with accountability.
- Be honest.
- Receive feedback openly and act on it.
- Demonstrate energy and enthusiasm.
- Bring comments, questions, and concerns directly to your supervisor first.
- When in public or around program participants on campus, don't say things that can be construed as negative about the Institute.
- Seriously, lovingly. Like, with hugs and greetings all the time and always smiling and saying hello when you pass people or they pass you. Because you mean it, not because you have been told you should.
- There are no excuses at Option. You did it right, or you did it wrong, or you didn't do it. Whatever the reason is, it's still your responsibility, and you will be asked how you plan to not mess up in the future. Sometimes your reply has to be in written form.
- They don't mean "don't be dishonest," they really do mean "be honest." Like, say what you are thinking and feeling at the time that you are thinking and feeling it. And act on that.
- People will critique you. In training, its their job. In work, its their responsibility. People have been fired for being defensive about being critiqued. And these people tell you what they think too. And some of them are not very gentle. Not that anyone would ever say "you are a bad person," 'cause no one there believes that. But they have no problem saying "you did a really bad job."
- Energy. Enthusiasm. No matter how late your night was or how bad your headache is or how much work you have to do. And no fake enthusiasm either, they want the real thing. And they ask you why you aren't enthusiastic if you aren't. And make you answer. And then talk about it.
- Yeah, taking concerns to your supervisor makes sense. But the hidden part is, if you have a concern you don't take to your supervisor, and someone finds out its a concern that your supervisor doesn't know about, you get asked why. And made to answer. And then talk about. They are big on that.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers.
I feel like I'm gonna need a lot of help with the new work/apprenticeship/training thing. I need to be refreshed and illumined so I can be as clear and ready and energetic as I can be.
I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge.
In the end, I'm here by myself. No matter who I email or who reads this blog or how many times I talk to folk on the phone, its just me in the end. Who else but the Universe/God/Higher Power am I gonna rely on ultimately?
I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.
Someone's been talking to me about this lately. And I've been thinking about it on my own a lot too. And of course, the whole Option thing: Happiness Is a Choice and all that. The idea of thinking myself into a bad spot; of dwelling on the hard stuff instead of the fact that I am living in a gorgeous apartment right along a beautiful river, about to start the best job in the world. All that and still I look around and say "oh boohoo for me." I don't know if I know how to dwell on the pleasant things of life. I'm trying to figure that out though.
O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.
It doesn't take much, really, to be a better friend to me than I am to myself. Not that I'm knocking what a great guy God is, I'm just saying I'm not much of a friend to myself very often. It's another thing I'm working on.
One day I will figure out how to stop working on things and just do them. That's... something I'm working on.
Its just that I'm a little confused about where home is right now. I feel connected to both NC and MA now, which kinda leaves me not feeling connected at all even though I'm still just as connected to people. Some of the most important people in my life have never been geographically close to me: they are in Texas and Sweden and England and far off places like that but I still feel unconnected to them right now.
People have been really great about calling me and keeping in touch; it makes me feel loved but it makes me miss them more too I think. All in all though, please don't stop calling.
Tuesday night was really extra hard. I called my brother to give him my address and it was in the middle of this Tuesday dinner and Baha'i study thing. I could hear everyone together, and looked around my empty apartment and got sad, even though I got to talk with Rio and the Js, both big and lil. I wound up having a pretty short conversation with another friend, who then wasn't able to call back when he'd planned. When I called him, he still wasn't able to talk. So I went for a walk and called three other folk... who luckily didn't wake up when their phones rang at 4am but got some pretty confused and panicky messages. Eventually I got back to the first friend, who was amazing and I made it through the night mostly intact. I get really conflicted about asking people for help like that. Even though this 4am-friend said, “This is when you are supposed to call. When you need me, make sure I hear you.” I think I don't trust myself or other people to do what's best for ourselves. That bears thinking about. Again. Sigh.
Leaving North Carolina was hard. The morning was perfect though, from my brother cooking his fabulous breakfast (including of course, chocolate chip banana pancakes) to Ryan arriving late, rumpled and freshly awake. A conversation I had with my 2 year old nephew, little J, sums it up pretty well.
Lil J: (see you) next time!
Me: Yeah. But you know that next time might not be for a long time.
Lil J: Away. Moving!
Me: Yeah, I'm moving. That means I'm going to live far away. So I might not get to see you for a long time.
Lil J: Yeah
Me: But you know, no matter where I am, I love you very much.
Lil J: Yeah
Thoughts from the drive:
- There is way too much of Virginia. Virginia: DO NOT WANT!!!1!!1!
- The way I reacted to my tooth extraction is kinda how I react to life a lot of times. It hurt, so I got worried. From a position of worry I examined the situation, and worry became fear. I got it checked out and found out I was experiencing a “slow but normal healing process.” That's me all over. Something hurts, I think it can't be right, but eventually it turns out it was supposed to hurt and all that fear and worry and wheel-turning was for nothing.
Even I have to have a break from Jack White once in a while.
I can make the drive back to NC in one day with not much trouble, if I had to. That's comforting. I can be back there in one day if I need to be. Or even want to be.
Friends are good. Really really good. Hi, Chris.
If everything you own, minus six boxes of books, is in your car, it takes a lot longer to stop your car.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities fill'd with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light--of the objects mean--of the struggle ever renew'd;
Of the poor results of all--of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest--with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here--that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
So I'm thinking this whole Massachusetts thing is a chance for me to start writing my own verse as I want it to be; to start on a fresh page with a new vocabulary of mindfulness and authenticity. I'm so excited, and sad, and scared. As someone once told me, change is scary, no matter how great the change is.
I will so miss the people I have here in NC, but I'm also excited about making our relationships more mindful. Right now I kind of drift and when I see you all, it's great and I love you, but I don't have to try to see you, you're just there. I think having to be intentional about when we talk and what we say is going to be really nice, even though I will miss being able to drift in and out of my brother's family's house and surprise Rio sightings and random dinners with Ryan and errands with Mom and gatherings at Karin's and and and.
I love you all.