6/3/2012

Lost control of breath and heart Travel Balance

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I find myself on the matt, rushed from traffic, breathless from worry. The room dims, the instructor’s voice soothes the atoms in the air. We breathe.

The class begins and we stretch, bending over yesterday’s beers and middle-age. We look up, grasping at the sky energy. We stand tall, then lean low, we breathe heavily.

I stoop in to child’s pose, catching my breath and my resting my body. The instructor, calm energy, strong voice, tells the class to rest. “If you’ve lost control of your breathing or your heart, take a minute…”

I’m fading in to my own thoughts at these words. “Lost control of your heart…” The words bounce around the vastness of my mind: a void of sorrow and contemplation. A light, dim at first, starts to shine the very edges of my thoughts. It is not just light, it is the sun. Hope washes over the cobwebs of winter, of poor choices, of indecision. Memories of a being a child, hopeful and independent, of a girl in Germany, of a strong spirit rush back in the void’s space. Suddenly I am strong for the first time in months.

I sit now in a hippie coffee shop. It’s the kind of coffee shop you’d go to after having an epiphany at yoga. I sit across a college girl with her hair in a woolen cap. A grandmother sits near us sipping her latte and writing on twitter. The walls are adorned with swirls of abstract art, most likely a result of a night of cocaine and vodka. I’m high just staring at them.

10/10/2011

On living other’s dogma Stories

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The alarm went off at 7AM for the first day of fifth grade. My dad was in his suit walking out the door as he heard me grumble and get up. “Life sucks and then you die,” he greeted me.

This is the first of a thousand similar morning greetings he would say as he suited up and walked out the door to work.

Me 10 years old

I always thought this was just my Dad’s “thang.” Like he loved the Aggie’s football or playing war games on the computer. I thought it was sort of just something he muttered like when he sneezed “Jesus Christ on a commode.” It was one of his quirks, those parts of Dad that made him… well, Dad.

Years and years later, at thirty-five, I sit talking across an impossible valley. As it turns out, my dad is not the only one to say this as he went to work each morning. In fact, it’s something many dads said as they embarked on their early morning trek. It was not just dads in suits, or dads at mills, or dads with fancy cars or frequent flyer miles. It’s an attitude of a generation. The norm for our children’s grandparents is a rut-filled expectation of misery and eventually death. Our children’s parents, now in their mid-thirties or early forties, are just now rebelling against mid-life. We are just coming in to our own careers and now, as we walk out the door in the early morning dawn, we are asking why. WHY do we have to live our father’s mantra “life sucks and then you die.”

9/8/2011

At twitlight Balance Parenting

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I hear my family upstairs. There are squeals, laughter, delight. The radio is blaring through the built-in speakers of our bedroom window, opened even though this last August air is chilly. There is chasing above. I sit on the patio as Ben Folds plays via iPhone. I work a bit. I delight in my job. I ponder the day. I drink a good beer.

I once read, “To be in harmony with the universe is to be like floating: Doors open, opportunities arise and you take them without thought.” That is happening to me as of late. Doors seem to bust open. Life seems to beacon me. COME! COME LIVE!

“When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.” -Anne Lamott

I am exceedingly happy at my upcoming opportunities. I am living a day job of merriment. I am watching my children ride their bikes without training wheels and smiling at their accomplishments. I am aging in my own body and appreciating it more daily. I am realizing the future may not be as I always expected but that the universe offers more than I can ever hope or dream. Without being cosmically ridiculous, I can say without a doubt that those who dream big live big.

I want to dream big.

3/9/2011

Like a bird Travel

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“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

prayers

There is so much for me to tell you. There’s the conference I spoke at in Manchester with some pretty fantastic people last week. There is the amazing opportunity for work that I have right now pushing my own boundaries to places a sherpa is necessary. There are the stories from Japan, where I am now, working with a team of people who are brilliant and outspoken, winning clients and conducting business in which I am proud to be part of.

I’ve been on 8 planes in less than two weeks. I’ve touched three continents, four time zones. If I was to write down my perfect life, it would include these two weeks of chaos, exhaustion, work, people, sleeplessness. I am happier than I have been in a long time, finally actualizing dreams.

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)

3/2/2011

It’s like starting all over again. You can be whomever you want to be. And other lies. Stories

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It’s funny the things people will say when you enter a difficult situation. My family was uprooted from the upper-middle-class subburbs of a major metropolitan city with 300 days of sun at the end of Jr. High.  We settled in a mill town in a small rural area of a state that sees 30 days of sun a year. The entire time my parents sang chorusses of “But you can remake yourself! You can be anything you want! You get to start fresh!”

Dude, I was 13. I was fresh. I had no idea who I was in the first place. Also, these people don’t peg their pants like we do and why aren’t they wearing neon?

Did I mention it was 1989?

Similar in a way only I could make the metaphorical leap, learning Java in grad school brought me to tears. I remember telling people I’d rather have sharp pins stuck under the bed of my toe nail for fun. “But you’ll refresh yourself! You’ll learn something so useful! You’ll be renewed!”

Did I mention it was 2004 and Java was the de facto language for All Things Ever? And oh, memorize this chart and create a program like pong. Thank you.

11/7/2010

It’s funny, the things you regret Stories

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We got married on the top of a small mountain on a tiny island off the north-western corner of the “lower forty-eight” states. My dress was twenty dollars from Ross and I wore my favorite combat boots I purchased at a consignment store for six dollars. It was November and a tiny group of our closest friends stood outside in the freezing cold with us.

I have never, once, ever regretted not having a big fancy white-dress wedding.

Ever.

With increasing frequency, however, the subject of my Dissertation has entered casual conversation. I submitted a proposal I still have a passion for, so much so that when a poor soul asks me about it I launch in to an entire discussion until their eyes glaze over and they begin to drool. It’s a great topic, honestly. I deferred after getting pregnant with my first and again when we moved from Oregon to Seattle. It was at this point I had our second child and safely placed that dream on a high shelf in the nursery.

I keep going back to that shelf, however.

8/6/2010

Having a mid-life-crisis at thirty-three thousand feet Travel

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I tell people I’m going through a small mid-life crisis. They look at me, judging. “HmmMMmm,” they start, “I bet you’re not nearly mid-life. What are you? Thirty? You really expect to only live until sixty?”

To these people I put a pox on their eyebrows and ear hair.

Funny thing: Mid-Life can mean any time in which you wake up and look in the mirror and immediately proclaim “HOLYSHIT! WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED WHILE I WAS SLEEPING.”

This is exactly how I feel right now.

Last Thursday I travelled to Utah on SouthWest Airlines. This means I was part of the cattle call to find my own seat on a plane with a bunch of other livestock. I sat in row seven on the isle next to two people who, by the end of a two hour flight, would be my partners in crisis.

5/7/2010

In Flight: A tale of a mid-life crisis at thirty-four Stories

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A truth I’ve known about myself for years: I have a very strong flight instinct. Some people stay and fight, some people flee. I am of the latter.

I’d make a fantastic bird.

“We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!” - Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

There is a culmination of events recently taken place that leads me back to this instinct. When trying to remember exactly what happened, or when perhaps, I can only begin a long list of items bringing me to this truth: I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.

In searching for my most beloved books, as I always do when complex thoughts dominate my mind-space, I realize I’ve read no less than dozens and dozens of traveling books. Essays of people who experience a world, write about it, and sell it to housewives and mothers of small children grounded in their piles of laundry and diapers and weeding. This single fact never yelled at me louder than it does at this time. I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.

4/8/2010

My Epic Love Story Parenting

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He wraps his arms around my neck, his cheek pressed against mine. I hear his soft breathing get longer, deeper, slower. I look at him, he is already asleep. Peaceful. Happy. Warm.

When I try to pull away, he wraps his arms tighter. He pulls me closer. “I just wuff you,” he whispers as I finally leave his tiny bed.

My son.

He is both child and baby, already independent and willful. He leaves my side to play and discover and checks in, on his own, periodically. He helps me cook dinner, he is by my side when I do the laundry, always wanting to push the machine so I don’t have to.

He is not perfect but he is perfectly three. And he is perfectly mine.

12/7/2009

A tale of a mid-life crisis at thirty-four part 2 Travel Stories

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Part One Here

“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”—The Princess Bride

I am an obvious romantic. Spontaneous to a flaw at times. These are not new traits, but rather old traits finally given the freedom to come bubbling back to the surface.

This morning it hits me: I am nearly three months from turning thirty-five. Three months and nine days, actually. I believe it is this deadline, this unspoken milestone, that I can either harness or buckle under. I’m choosing to harness it.

A very dear friend of mine, also undergoing a mid-life crisis, spoke to someone about it. “Ahhhh,” the therapist said, “A mid-life crisis. Yes. Those are great. They move you forward.”