Soul Massage

Saturday, November 26, 2011

National Novel Writing Month - update

Balance for my rainy day - memories

There's nothing like a grand plan. I love them and I make them. Now here I am with five days and 25,000 words to go. There were several days I didn't write. I can see the error of my way, now. It's not that I think I should have been writing as much as maybe if I kept pushing I wouldn't feel so strapped today. The problem is my premise changed.

I have three women who had a secret I designed. The problem is that they want to be friends, but fear that exposing this aspect of themselves will interfere or perhaps destroy their budding relationship. I could have started them out as friends, but didn't. They had to meet. Since I knew the secret, I could have offered it early. I thought I had, but it turns out they had different secrets to deal with other than the ones I designed.

Today we have a bit of a mess. One is really deluded. The other on the verge of being isolated. And the third, well she is either just way shut down, dishonest, or scared. In the end, they must face their hopes and fears, individually and with each other.

So, that's where I'm heading with this. I have five days and those words to wrap it up.

I quit my job to travel, write and drink beer. One and three are going great. Time to step up the writing for this novel.

How are you coming on your promises for 2011? 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Traveling, Writing, and Drinking Beer

The walk that waits for me.
I've arrived at a new beginning - the start of a whole new era. I've left my jobs before, for varying reasons, and in the past have said that I intended to travel. Those were usually short physical trips, though the internal journeys were far reaching and sometimes filled with angst and challenge. The first time, as I sat contemplating the decision, I met a women who advised that I would not find the answer until I walked through the door. Sitting staring would leave me blank. I've been walking through doors ever since.

I forget how incredibly long the trip from the midwest to the west coast can be. Flying is much faster than driving, but still all those hours on the road and in airports can wear away at one's enthusiasm. I am thankful for traveling graces and a safe and uneventful arrival. Z! collected me at SFO and we returned to the Tenderloin by BART. I do love riding the rail system.

I love the city - the lights, the sights, the sounds. I have been returning here every six months, walking these same streets and still I find something new each visit. Last night exiting the BART at Powell I noticed a mall. Really? A mall entrance from the BART station. How had I missed that before? Z! commented that she didn't think I was a mall person, and I'm not, but malls have chocolate cake and that was my arrival priority.

Let me say we passed on the dessert offerings and selected pretzels and snacks instead. Poor choice. I felt especially disappointed as convenience foods in the city are VERY expensive. The food bar was $9.99 per pound. That does limit what one might pile on one's plate. Thankfully, we already had dinner plans and continued our way home. Next stop, Pakwan's. This is our favorite Indian restaurant. We had our usual meal of saag paneer, garlic naan, and vegetable samosa. (Pictures are missing this visit. Next time.)

Because we were sated from the mall stop or exhausted from our day we packed up the leftovers and headed home. Beer waited there. Yay! New to me, but enjoyment for Z! was Stocktop Belgium Spice. I introduced her to the Raspberry Wheat. Both excellent choices which I highly recommend.

I was so ready to collapse into oblivion and had to convince Z! not to watch the scary movie she had cued to play. Thankfully she chose Kevin Hart who was incredibly funny as I drifted from exhaustion to sleep. And there I stayed until her alarm sounded at 0400.

I am further thankful to have lazed delightfully in the hazy morning embraced by a cool breeze hunkered under warm bedcovers. I haven't written about the girls (in my novel) since I left St. Louis. I will take a rest and open to their world that I might be a more accurate witness and share their stories more fully.

I've reached 100 days. There was great surprise even as I walked out the door. This biggest came as they proclaimed how very much I would be missed, that they loved me, and that I was great. This was news to me. Well, not the "missing me" part. I have shown up as the person I am. I gave what I had to offer fully and easily. My word was to be trusted and I was dependable, reliable, and responsible. While I want way more than that on my tombstone, I know those characteristics make a good and memorable employee.

The rest of the story is that I am opinionated and likely to share. I believe in radical honesty and while I didn't practice it consistently I had a low tolerance for any forms of bullshit (including placating, brown nosing, acquiescing, or accommodating). To me that meant my word could be trusted. To others, well, lets just say they preferred a smile even as your teeth were brown. Being polite doesn't have to turn one into a liar, but the lines were blurred entirely too often for me.

It was hard to figure out what to say. There were a few people I will continue to share parts of my life with and the rest I will just let go. I have several stories left to tell that I have waited for my departure to even write. For that I am excited.

Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time. ~Miguel Angel Ruiz

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Four Days Til Morning

When we make a commitment, all the forces of the universe gather to support our choice. I once believed that meant that everything would come along to remove the obstacles and smooth the path. I believed that landmarks and buoys would light the way and signal the next best move. That does happen, sometimes. However, what we really get is a constant check-in to see if this is really our deepest desire.

Are we prepared to stand in the resolution, or will we crumble with the first challenge? Is this our deepest desire or are we pandering to the ideas of another? Are we willing to commit to the process it takes to get where we say we want to go or will we grow weary and return to comfort?

There were some huge issues which drew my attention away from my presumed security and left me feeling as though I was dangling over a precipice. I am holding to the belief and understanding that each challenge is another opportunity for re-commitment not just to leaving my job, but maintaining my budget and learning to live with less.  

This morning investigating a stream of water rolling along the counter, I found the leak from my hot pot. Who knew that was even possible? It boils water. My first thought was to replace it, immediately. I use it every day- several times a day. Yes, I can make do without, but I really like the speed and efficiency for all hot water needs. (And that means less waste waiting for water to travel from the water heater to the sink.) On the other hand, do I really need tea in a hurry?

I had two hot pots. I gave the other one away. It was also brand new, but was the older version that was completely metal with the heating element sealed into its case. The one I kept, now defunct, is a modern version – plastic with a hot plate element in the bottom. As the water was leaking from beneath the pot I can only guess that the seal has eroded. Another modern upgrade turned to trash. (That’s why I have so much stuff. And why it gets hard to part with the extra. It might come in handy and some day is here.)

My draw is to replace the pot today, but I will take a while to feel its absence. Before I make the purchase, I will ask my neighbor if she has one to spare. I live without a sauce pan or stove. I can return to boiling water in the microwave while I consider my options. Is this something I am willing to live without?

Fall back!
This morning we rolled our clocks back. I am thankful for a wonderful night’s sleep and rest. My day ahead is full and after a day off from writing yesterday, I have several thousand words to find for today. The grrls (actually 50+ women) have met, enjoyed an evening together and just returned home from the Wymin’s Music Festival. Will they debrief in isolation or return to a waiting community?

Life is a daring adventure!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oh, Me! Oh, my! Adventures anyone?

On an adventure
I told you a while back that I was having a gentle freak out. It got a little bigger so that I thought I might have a meltdown. Well, actually, I had a meltdown. But that’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Remember that? The Process. You see, that’s what I signed up for when I said I was open and receptive to all the good coming my way. I am open and receptive. That means without judgment of the packaging or delivery methods and personnel. Looking at adventure that way is a hold new ball of wax – hence, the meltdown.

I’m writing a novel. Every day I spend time with my girls (the characters in the book). Their lives are full, active, and they have issues like the rest of us. They long to be loved and accepted as they are, but find themselves slated into the boxes of should, would, could and ought. Any bold stance seems to push them farther from the very things they long to claim – belonging and acceptance. However, they are committed – committed to the process of finding each other and wading through the issues that arise and challenge their resolve.

So, here stand I. Committed and resolved to honor the process. I relinquish my illusion of control and open to the loving understanding of a universe that supports my happiness and well being. I will settle for nothing less than absolutely everything. (And so it is. Ashé

In the last week, I have faced some health issues, home repair problems, unexpected financial obligations, overwhelming exhaustion (due to sleep deprivation) and anxiety. All these matters, arising in succession seemed (in the fear mind) to suggest that this was not the best time to be leaving my job. They seemed to pound one after the other hoping to occupy my heart and mind. And they did, for a moment. However, I have a plan.

When I decided to leave my job I changed my flight arrangements to extend my travel beyond my paid leave allotment. Next, I used up all my paid leave. Of course, I turned in my notice. Now I talk up the process of living my dreams, even in the face of pessimism. I face the fear in the eyes of others and encourage them to dream beyond the paycheck. I keep showing up.

When the meltdown came, I reached out. I called someone who I knew could hear my struggle and pain yet not buy in for even one single second. She reminded me, “Trust the process.” I laughed through the tears pouring and slobbers dripping. I was an absolute mess. This too was part of the process. The fear, the challenges, the meltdown and the call – learning to reach out.

Reaching out is a new place for me which is why I signed up for classes, online dating, and language partners. I know that to live well means to find strong, meaningful connections with other people. I continue my hiatus from the virtual friend world except when I am actually sending a message of personal content to a specific person. I use pen, paper, email and the minutes I pay for each month to seek out and touch the lives of others.

Here toward the end of my day I know I am blessed. While the issues are still present, the feelings have passed. I remember the freak out only as a dot on the timeline. Like each moment, it’s here, and then it’s gone.

As I prepare to rest before work, I will hold my mala (prayer beads) and chant NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO - the greatest teaching of the first historically recorded Buddha, known as Siddhartha Gautama or Shakyamuni Buddha. This teaching, called the Lotus Sutra, declares that all living beings, regardless of gender or intelligence have the potential to attain Buddhahood. In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha teaches that inside each one of us a universal truth known as the Buddha nature. Basing our lives on this Buddha nature enables us to enjoy absolute happiness and to act with boundless compassion. Such a state of happiness is called enlightenment. It's simply waking up to the true nature of life, realizing that all things are connected, and that there is such a close relationship between each of us and our surroundings that when we change ourselves, we change the world.