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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How To Be Flexible For Life

Tis' the Season to question everything about life.  Or maybe that's just me.  I was listening to the Director of the film Anna Karenina on NPR and it set my mind in wonder.  I know it is the time of year where traditions are celebrated and the news has various segments of the population arguing about whose celebrations are valid and true and which ones are sacrilegious but no one seems to question where their particular belief systems come from?   I never did either until I attended Marylhurst College in the Pastoral Ministries Degree program.  When I would take part in class discussions the instructor would say to me, "Thank you for your opinion".  I was taken aback.  I thought hey it is not my opinion it is in the Bible.

By the time I graduated with a Social Science degree with an emphasis in Physical Education my eyes were much wider and my mind much more open and flexible.  I learned to appreciate the philosophy  to "question everything".  So what does this have to do with Anna Karenina?  I remember reading the book a couple times and related to her character.
The director Joe Wright said in Russia in the 17th century their culture did not know if they wanted to be East or West and decided they would take on he French language and became very flamboyant and showy.  Their ballrooms had floor to ceiling mirrors on all four walls.  Ha...I just have one wall in my apartment all mirror.   It came to mind in the performance world especially in dance the Russians are known for being the most dramatic and expressive in the roles they take on.   If you ever watch the Olympics ice skating it is the Russians that shine in their characterization.  Then came to me the expression "All the world's a stage" when I heard the director give reference that maybe some times we stay too long in a role.

That led me to think about General Petraeus and his role.  Did he screw up royally or is he an example of one staying too long in a role when maybe his married role was over?  Then of course I thought of my own two divorces and many other relationships and roles and did it have anything to do with too long or not long enough?  And what signs do we get when we have stayed too long in a role.?   Are  some of us assigned many different roles when we enter this world?  Do we have free will to change them?   Or is it all fate?

Penelope Trunk a blogger writes about instead of going for a "happy life" how about choosing to go for an "interesting life"?  This time of year effects my sensibilities and makes me melancholy when I least expect it.  It is usually a  Christmas song heard in the background while shopping that  can set me off with emotions I thought were behind me.   I call myself the "lone ranger" but that is only one role I play.  I am a mother, co-worker, friend, dancer, student, blogger, and more.  I find my task is not to get stuck in one way of living.  That I need to let my emotions flow in their own way in their own time and just be aware and not be afraid to feel the feelings that arise.  Then I heard, "The body is not stiff the mind is."  Tis the season to be flexible.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A New Way To Live

It looks like from my window the whole world is walking their dogs today.  A few runners and walkers like me without a dog because it is a storybook Thanksgiving day here in our city of Portland.  Sunshine, no wind, and the tress are striking in all their finest colors of every shade of reds and golds imaginable.  What a treat for my eyes.  I heard last night that eighty percent of the information we receive comes through our eyes.  My eyes are having a feast today instead of my stomach.
 My sons and daughters do not live here so my preference is to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with myself..   I went for a long long walk along the mighty Willamette River with nature surrounding me nourishing my soul and I do not concern myself with food.  I like to feed my other senses on this day.

I also love to learn new things luckily because my cell phone was stolen yesterday from my car.  Yes in broad daylight at three in the afternoon in a packed parking lot at a huge chain grocery store.  Yes I know better than to leave anything that looks of value where it can be seen.  I forgot.  My seven year old discontinued style cell phone and my paper address book was in the bag.   No use to anyone but they took it anyway because the bag looked like a purse.  Also an old headset I use at work, a lipstick, and a pair of fingerless gloves.  I am sure they just threw it away when they discovered it was a purse with no goodies but where would they throw it? 

Recently I shopped for phones to have a back up in case anything happened to mine.  They all looked wrong and the clerks were busy so decided it was not the right time.  Okay two weeks later and I have no choice I have to go through the process of finding a phone at AT & T no excuses and hope for the best.  I told myself I was not going to make it an ordeal I was going to go with no expectations just an open mind and see what happens.

When I entered the store a fun looking clerk who looked exactly like my youngest son smiled and said, "How can I help you today?"  I knew I was in good hands.  I now own a Motorola Atrix 4GLTE that I have no idea how to use.  It has $500. 00 worth of features on it and all I know at this point is how to make and answer a call and send a text.  I no longer have to type the text because I just speak what I want to say and it does the texting for me.  It is also supposed to have one of the best cameras ever.  We shall see.

Seriously I do not need this souped up phone for the simple way I want to use it but the new way to live is on the low end, or high end.  No longer a middle choice.   Just like the middle class?  Maybe but so what?  Roll with it.  Today walking the river with a feeling of gratitude I was thankful for the love that surrounds me.  And I discovered a new way to live.  In  ballet class a few nights ago my teacher Eric gave a visual of the acorn.
He said to feel as though you have an acorn in your center that bursts in all four directions and dance from that place.  Today walking the river I could feel the acorn image as a real sensation in my center that created an energy that gave me a feeling of new life.  I can feel this sensation standing in line at the grocery store, walking from here to there, shopping at the mall, whenever I say "acorn".  A new way to live, how fun is that?
Will Brenner Photo

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Are You Running On Social Media

What have you been up to?  If the answer is, "nothing" the next question is, "Are you okay?"  We are a culture of "doers" and if you are not on that merry-go-round with hundreds or thousands of "followers"  then you may be a monk,  a zen Buddhist, one who has been diagnosed as psychologically ill, or a lone ranger like myself. 
Personality Tests
The Myers Briggs Personality Tests I studied in college placed me as an INFP.  Only one percent of the population preference type.  It was one of the most freeing experiences of my life to discover that I was not a loser I was just different.  These tests are quite fascinating and have taught me many lessons over the years.  The premise is as I understand it we cannot understand each other but we can learn to appreciate each other.
Can one be actively participating in this world and not be a runner?  Watching marathons one would wonder but even though it seems like everyone is doing it there are many who don't.  What about "social media"?  Why is everyone so addicted to their I-phones?  Instead of trying to figure out why the world operates as it does, or my country, or my workplace, or my family, or my friends, I have learned it is my task to understand myself.  It seems I am always on a mission.  I place all kinds of rules and idealistic expectations on myself and keep on myself until I get an epiphany and hear,  "Hey you...give yourself some slack".  That voice came to me this weekend and I just smiled with an "AHA".

After ballet class last night I was talking to a fellow dancer and she told me because of her situation she can only take 2 ballet classes a week but needs to keep in shape so she runs but she hates it but does not hate it as much as she hates the gym.  Whoa.  Yes I can relate.  I told her I even subscribe to "Runners World" magazine not because I run because I hate to run but because the stories are so inspiring by people who do.  I am in awe of how or why they think running is a healthy adventure.   Yet my commitment to studying ballet feels healthy and wonder how I would ever stay fit without the personal challenge.

When starting this blog as a creative outlet about a year ago I have gathered mass information about "How To Be A Successful Blogger" and it continues to overwhelm me.  All of the social media that is involved with the "followers" and the "like me" buttons let alone the "tweets" just makes me dizzy.   When my "AHA" moment came last weekend it was while thinking about how I can fit in to all this social mania?   I have decided to have my own little experiment and... respond to the challenges of blogging but not be held by it. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

One Way To Be A Happy Camper

 I am a very happy camper.  And I don't even like to camp.

  It is Thursday eve 5pm post election... probably 45 degrees outside and I am inside at my computer in my neon pink robe, blue green long sleeve thermal tee, a long pink cotton tee underneath, black yoga pants, purple thermal socks and I am freezing.  What if I really was camping?  Or without heat?  My heart goes out to those in the East that need our help.   So much I have to feel thankful for.  I have a heater in every room in my apartment, a good job to go to in the morning, I am ready to cook some organic beef patties for dinner with a kale salad and hot cocoa for dessert while looking forward to watching Project Runway All Stars.  Please, can I get anymore American than that?
Downtown Portland 
 The truth is I am not patriotic. I prefer a global view.  I was born in the USA but do not pledge my allegiance to any person place or thing.  I am grateful for where I live and heard my parents and others call Oregon "Gods Country".  I think because of all our scenic variety of natural environments in every direction one may travel here.  We have the beaches, high snow capped mountain ranges, and dessert all within hours of each other.  Then I read a blogger called My Yoga Blog from Munich, Germany visited here last week and called Portland the New India.  She is a world traveler and could not get over how many homeless people we have on the streets of our downtown.  I had no idea it was that many more than other cities.   Being a happy camper is not being homeless that is for sure.  I do not know how they manage.

What I care about is what can happen now.  I am ready to be of service.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

One Step In Front Of The Other

The sun sank, the rains came it is dark and I picture myself being the one in this photo that just keeps running.  An athlete in training mentality  I go through all the motions of getting to work on time, and getting to every ballet class with no excuses yet their is a blahness to it.  I know it is easy to blame everything on the weather and I do feel I am a product of my environment and am affected by the elements.  I had a productive day at work today, lots of fun with my colleagues all my loved ones including myself happy and healthy so what is wrong?

I know daily practice is needed to grow in all areas of my life and here I am writing until inspiration comes.  What if this was my livelihood?  Now I know what writers block feels like and how scary that would be if I was an author.  There must be some way to overcome?

  So here I am Friday night 9pm.... Breathing.....breathing.....breathing.....watching  Kobe play Laker ball and how he wills himself to win a game where all his team is as sluggish as I am.  Sometimes watching others excel at what they do can be inspiring.  What is going on with me?    Just blah.  Mind feels blank for about a week now.  I will just have to roll with it.  The more I try to snap out of it or fight it or pretend it is not happening is not productive.
For now I will fix a cup of hot cocoa, set my alarm for  ballet class in the morning...just one step at a a time...