Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sitting in the Sun

For the past few months, I have had the pleasure of spending time with a wonderful woman in Hospice care.  I got to have conversations with her, learn about her life, her husband, her children and her grandchildren.  In the end I simply got to sit with her, while she rested.  The day before she died, I even got the pleasure of meeting her daughter in-law and her grandson.

When I got the phone call from my supervisor, I simply felt blessed that I had gotten to know her.  That I had taken the chance to serve this woman at the end of her life, and hear her stories about when she was stronger and thriving.

I get a lot of different reactions when I mention I am volunteering for Hospice, and honestly I didn't know how this was going to play out.  This woman was the first woman I got to spend a significant amount of time visiting, my other assignments have been filling in for others. So I didn't know, couldn't predict how I might react.

That is the beauty of life, is making the choice to find out.  To dive in, to walk into a situation without telling the story about how it will end.  As I continue to explore the idea of being a healer, I am excited to continue my Hospice involvement.

This quote is from a book that I was reading to myself during our last few visits, and I finished the book, sitting in the sun the afternoon that she passed away.

Monday, August 25, 2014

20 minutes at a time

I have been working on this painting for a while, I drew sketches of what I wanted, how I was going to turn this blank canvas into an inspiration.  The day I started the painting I spilled a glass of water all over the sketches,  I watched the ink run and blur all my ideas.   So I let the ideas go, the quote was the same, how the painting emerged was going to be without a plan.

So I simply started painting 20 minutes at a time, the moments when I had just enough time to paint, clean the brush and run to my next task.  I found there were a lot of twenty minute chunks in a week, I snapped this photo one early morning before I headed to class.   Amazed at how much the canvas came to life in that short amount of time, it was simply white and black before I started adding the purple.   

At the end I cheated a little bit, the letters wouldn't let me sleep.  So I finished the lettering in a large chunk of time while Adam was in class for the weekend.   Looking at this painting, I don't remember the original idea, because this painting is what actually exist.   The other ideas simply faded away, and I fell in love with the process of painting 20 minutes at time.

Question to consider: What could you create with just twenty minutes at time?  Too often I think I don't have time to do something, because I think it has to be done in one chunk.  I am slowly learning how to make little bits of time to do exactly what I want.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Adam demonstrating sincere gratitude for a loaf of green chile bread from New Mexico.  When I have the pleasure of going to New Mexico without Adam, I bring him back something with green chile.  It is very difficult to explain the New Mexican's obsession with green chile to people that didn't grow up there.  I have found some ways though, smells transport us back in time.  I can smell roasting green chile and I am a little girl again, with a bowl cut watching and waiting while the chile is roasted, the breeze, the warmth of the roasters, the crisp fall weather, with my Dad's hand holding me.   I can be a little older sitting on the back porch with my family, my hands tingling as we peeled the green chile, and my dad used the grill to roast the chile.   I am seventeen and on a date with Adam, sitting at Monroe's enjoying the salsa and discussing what we will split for dinner.  I am with my mom stopping to get a breakfast burrito before school, because she understood that breakfast was the one meal of the day I loved to eat during that time in my life.  I can go on and on.    Green chile is magical and takes me back in time.

So what does any of that have to do with gratitude?  Gratitude is a choice, it is a practice.  Being grateful for the simple things, a smell that can make you 5 years old again, a hug from your parents that can remind you of when they were your entire world, a sip of wine that can transport you back to a boat in France, holding a tea cup and remembering when time simply stopped.  

Question to consider: What little thing are you grateful for today?  Will you slow down enough to notice the little pocket in time?

Monday, August 18, 2014


I was at work the other day and I was given the task of writing these various roles on notecards so that the support group could pick a random role from the box, for a role-playing activity.

It got me thinking, about roles in society.  How much certainty it could provide me if prior to entering a situation I was given a card that told me the context and the role that I was to play.   I find myself in a lot of situations, where I have no prior experience, and I feel uncertain and cautious.   (Said every human, ever)  I look at those situations as a learning experience now, and realize it is not too big of a deal if I make a mistake.  In fact probably no one else is thinking about the little awkward thing you did that you are using to beat yourself up.

I remember playing role-playing games in middle school, in high school and little bit in college.  I didn't usually enjoy them, despite having the certainty of knowing my role.  So I started thinking about those experiences, and why I didn't particularly enjoy them.  Like many things I didn't used to enjoy, I ignored the "play" part.  After all they were all just games, or icebreakers.  I was so concerned about being accepted, that I didn't even consider the fact that the role was really what could be rejected.  It had nothing to do with me, I was simply putting on a mask.  Maybe the mask fit, maybe it didn't, maybe I liked the role and maybe the role was not for me, however the rejection of how I played the role had nothing to do with me, it was simply a role.  

Question to consider: How do you feel about role-playing?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Mexico

I took a quick weekend trip back to New Mexico and I asked my parents if we could walk in the foothills.  I love walking these trails, listening for the wildlife, occasionally catching a glimpse of it.  The entire weekend there was a sense of wonder, a sense of falling in love with the state.  Noticing little things I usually ignore, dreaming about one day having a little cabin in the mountains, wondering how the New Mexico architecture would look in Houston.  (That made me giggle.)

I got to watch the hummingbirds, hawks, and squirels play in my parents backyard.  I watch the sunset, complete with a lightening storm, and the smell of rain over the desert.   It was simply magical. I am looking forward to practicing that sense of wonder in Houston, to see what life I have been missing in the concrete landscape.

Question to consider: Where do you dream of moving to one day?  Is there a place, that lights up your heart and whispers to your senses?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Super moon

Last night was the Super Moon.  I watched the moon rise over the Sandias with my parents.  It was actually an emotional experience thinking about last year's super moon and how much has changed, happened, grown and fell away.   Even though the dates are not the same, it felt like some sort of anniversary, marking an event instead of a date.  

Last year the morning of the super moon, Adam met our teacher.  I had been studying with him for a little while and while we were in a private yoga session, the topic of the super moon meditaion, lead by our teacher came up.  Adam was kind of interested in going to the meditation, and I was hesitant because it would be a late night, and I had work in the morning.   However when we went to breakfast, it was a huge coicidence that we ran into my teacher.  I remember asking Adam if he wanted to meet him, and Adam saying "sure I'll meet him someday."   So I just asked "What about now?  He is right over there."

That brief introduction changed something, because Adam was suddenly excited to go to the Super Moon meditation that night.  So we went, and a couple months later Adam started studying with the same teacher.  

Honestly, it felt strange last night talking to Adam as he drove to the meditation.  I felt alone, about an hour later watching the moon rise I no longer felt alone or isolated.  

I think about that little exchange Adam and I had a lot.  The entire idea of "someday,"  someday I will do the thing I want.  How often do we put off something til "someday."   The reality is the opportunity might be right in front of me, I can chose if I want to walk through the door, I can chose if I am present enough to notice it, and I need to take all those tiny steps to seize the moment.  So what happens if I miss a cue, and don't walk on stage?   My question now, is how do I even know it was a cue?  Maybe it just wasn't the moment.

As I was falling asleep one of my friends posted on facebook, that it was the two year anniversary of her IVF transfer.  She posted photos of the cells next to her adorable toddlers.  It was a little startling to think that it was two years ago that we went through cycles at the same time, with very different results.   I didn't miss my cue, it wasn't my cue, it wasn't my moment for things to work out the way "I" wanted.  Things worked out perfectly for both of us during that time, and my faith continues that things will always work out perfectly.   I love seeing the photos of her toddlers and hearing about their growth, and I love my life of exploration. 

Question to consider: What triggers memories for you, dates, places, or events?  When is the last time you watched the moon rise?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sterling Sunday

Sterling had a rough week, he went to the vet.  He was a tiny bit drugged when I picked him up.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Every tiny step

A couple of weeks ago, Adam and I traveled to Oregon to celebrate the wedding of two of our close friends.  When they announced the location of their destination wedding, most people were puzzled.  Adam and I totally understood, because we had visited Astoria with them last year during Fourth of July weekend.  

As I watched our two friends dance their first dance I could see all the little steps that lead me to being able to be present at their wedding.  It all started last year, Daniel was going to be doing an intership in Portland for the summer.  So Adam and I were faced with a choice if we wanted to go spend a weekend with Daniel and Susan.  We began pricing flights, and they were most expensive than we had anticipated and so we both sat with the idea for a while.  

Ultimately the lessons I had been starting kicked in, and I decided that I wanted to invest in our friendship with Daniel and Susan.  It wasn't spending money it was about investing in a relationship that we all wanted to cultivate and nurture.  So we booked our tickets!

We had this amazing weekend, of unplanned events we just spent time exploring Portland and driving around surrounding areas.  We ended up going to Astoria, because they wanted to head to the coast and I loved the movie Goonies.   We all fell in love with that town, the view, the people, and the brewery.  (Okay well I didn't like the beer, that is no surprise)

All of these tiny decisions lead to a great wedding and celebration weekend.  It was honestly the most enjoyable wedding I have been to, and I was grateful to be included in such an intimate gathering. 

This is how life works, we make tiny decisions that lead us to the big stuff.  Which is why it is important to know why you make the tiny decisions, to be in a good and useful state.  That is what my journey continues to be about building self awareness, so that I can see the tiny decisions clearly and can gently alter the trajectory of my life to what I want.   (Big changes happen no matter what, I can't antipciate or plan for those.  Life is about the moments.)

Question to consider: Take a moment and look back at a really powerful, memory.  Can you see all the tiny steps you took to get to that spot?  Can you honor that fact that those tiny steps lead to a big moment?

Monday, August 4, 2014


There is a restaraunt that Adam and I frequent in Houston, by the restrooms they have a giant blackboard with quotes all over it.  Some of the time a quote just jumps out at me, and I continue thinking about it even after I have returned to my meal.  This quote stayed with me for a while, and I was lucky that on Sunday it was still up, so that I could capture the exact phrasing.

"Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.  Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love." - Rilke

Feeling fear when encountering something unknown is something I am familiar with.  Whether it was running through the house, turning on all the lights, when I was a little girl or stepping out the front door today.   I have had a lot of talks with my teacher about this, he tends to show me the humor in the situation.   I recently attended a healing training where this was a big topic of discussion, the langauge that was used in the seminar was the unknown is neutral.  In the past I was the one that decided the unknown was something to be feared, to run away from, to panic.  

However as I continue to explore, as I continue to understand and accept my world.  I see how wise the people in my life are.  The people that have told me to take a breath, to help me realize that it is okay to ask the question "what is it?," to understand my own certainty, to find stillness before reacting in a stressful situation and to feel alright asking for help.  

I met my need for control always imagine worse case senarios when dealing with the unknown.  I met my need for accepatance by bracing for impact, and believing that if I imagined the worst way that someone would react to me, I was prepared.  How silly I can be, imagining the worse case senarios, and attempting to think my way through a situation that may never happen.  There is a large difference between being prepared and just getting lost in downward spiral of "what if?"  

What is the unkown?  What lurks in the dark?  What will happen in the future?  Who knows?  I now practice focusing on what I have, the tools I have sharpened and feel the certainty that I am enough.  The question always comes up "How do I know?"  I know because I am still here, I continue to grow and learn from the lessons life presents.  Maybe it is not with as much grace as I would hope, maybe I don't meet my standard.  Guess what?  I am still enough, the more I learn and pay attention, the greater I become.  

Question to consider:  What is a new way that you can love something that frightens you?   Or even a new approach?   Can you bring the light into the darkness?