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2.28.07

I’ve been tossing some ideas around lately. In fact, there’s been a lot of tossing. Turning. Some sleight of hand. A bit of turmoil, I do believe. It’s about my future, and choices.

It’s an interesting time in my life. I probably have more options than I’ve ever had for creating the life ahead of me. And I’m working hard to figure out my next moves. I’m not the type who is preoccupied with preserving the status quo, so when I feel a shift coming, the world opens up.

One of my challenges is to sort through the long list of “I could do that”s and start to discern what I really feel called to do. An approach that seems to be helping to instill order this week is an awareness of curiosity versus passion.

I really love a good distraction, tumbling down the unfamiliar rabbit hole. Lately I’ve been tracking where my curiosity takes me, and let me tell you, every day is an adventure.

But in shaping my life, I want to build on that which permeates, not distracts. The thing that’s been hanging around for a decade. The thing that sneaks up on you, even when you’re not looking for it. That is unavoidable. That you bring into your work, and that you pursue as play. Makes you laugh and cry, makes you forget time. The thing you could talk about for hours, around a fire on a camping trip, or in a business suit in front of an audience. Sometimes these patterns are so much a part of you that you can’t even see them as separate from yourself. They drive you. They shape who you are. That’s a passion.

One of mine is jumping down rabbit holes. Is there a job for that? How about a PhD?

I’m working on it…

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2.25.07

I have a friend who, in her 50’s, has joined a language club and in the last 2 years is learning five different languages. The immersion method is working, and she’s becoming fluent. It’s pretty amazing, and it’s made me think about myself and language.

English, obviously. In preschool, the progressive Montessori program taught me Spanish. My mother says I was fluent, and I suspect I was as fluent as a 3 year old Spanish-speaking child. Too bad it didn’t stick with me.

In high school and college I studied French, and not too shabbily. There were competitions and a few awards, but the best reward came when I traveled to Europe and found I could actually use it. It was here, and now, unfortunately, it’s mostly gone.

My friend has sparked my interest in recovering these once-familiar languages this year. Why not? But she’s also started me thinking about other fluencies.

For instance, I know how to read music. I love reading maps. Several years ago while studying archetypes, I learned how to read tarot cards, which are fascinating.

I’ll admit it, I do love cursing occasionally. Cuss words can feel like a different language. Sometimes they even come out with a foreign accent, I’m not sure why.

IMing and texting has a shorthand vocabulary/syntax. I don’t use it fully because I love whole words (you is so much better than u), and I’m a fast typist, but you get accustomed to reading the short lingo when you use those communication channels.

As my kids went through adolescence, I became superfluent in grunts, eye-rolling, and body language.

Computer languages are not on my roster at this point, though I can pick my way through some html.

One language I have not mastered, and consciously refuse to learn, is Starbucks speak. When I want a coffee, it’s just a medium coffee with room for milk. I find it gets across, especially if I use hand gestures.

Ciao!

2.23.07

When I watch my son play in his tuxedo and shiny shoes, euphonium at attention and hair kind of jazzy, I can’t believe he’s for real. At almost 6’3”, he is a rail that moves. When he was a toddler, he was so chunky that even I, the non-weight-worrier, started taking notice. The big cheeks, the gorgeous fat bottom. Those are all gone now. Now, he’s a skinny butt, wise-assed, talented young college man who barely keeps his pants on and can run miles with those low brass lungs and superlong legs.

Tonight I’m seeing him in concert, and OK, I’ll admit it, I almost always cry in the darkness of the audience because it’s just so damn beautiful. And not just him (though he alone would get the full reaction), but all of those young musicians on the stage, who have dedicated YEARS of their young lives to master an expression of the human spirit that touches everyone.

The best part? He always sees me in the audience. Even last year at Carnegie Hall, and it was packed, he gave me the nod. I love that kid. Man. Music-making person.

2.22.07

I like repeating digits and the way they seem to jump out at you. Like a secret code. It’s fun to make up a “maybe” game narrative around a date like today’s. Maybe I’ll win or find $2.22 today. Maybe I’ll receive a great phone call at 2:22. Maybe reruns of Room 222 will air unexpectedly on TV.

I could find myself driving between Lancaster and Reading PA at 82 minutes past 1 pm. I could pull over for gas and fill up with regular for $2.22/gallon, and an old Certs ad might start playing on the radio.

I might open my eyes and realize that I’m in bed, and that I’ve been dreaming, but when I look over at the clock it’s 2:23 am on February 23. Just maybe.

2.16.07

I have some throw rugs in my kitchen that I thought were terrific. One light blue, to match the entry area door. One red, to match the kitchen. They’re made of that nubbly material that looks great when it’s fresh out of the dryer. To me, they are the perfect fit: right colors, right absorbancy, machine wash and dry. What’s not to like?

Then a friend told me they look like bath mats. Geez. Who knew? It reminds me of the time my brother, age 7 (the youngest in our family, with 5 older sisters) came down the stairs proudly “smoking” a still-wrapped (thank god) tampon. He found it in the bathroom cabinet. What did he know? It served his purpose. And so do my so-called kitchen rugs. Hey, it’s a KITCHEN, not a BATHROOM! That means they’re kitchen rugs, OK?!

2.15.07

Because of the sunny nature of yesterday’s entry, one reader asked me if I was always so “blissful.” I guess it’s time to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Pretty much, yes.

That is, I have my eye on joy, and try to stay on it whenever possible. It’s a little embarrassing to admit; it sounds so pollyanna-ish.

But that doesn’t always appear to be the case, I’m sure. There may be a very fine (almost invisible) line above my nose that could indicate something other than a smile has been on my face. I have a voice that can carry across fields, given the opportunity, and I’m not positive that my kids would say they’ve only heard laughing at that volume. Joy can certainly seem elusive while wrestling with the hard things of the world and the spirit.

Like Sisyphus, some days it’s just doing what I’m supposed to do that brings me an element of contentment. The boulder up the hill thing. And that’s OK.

But for the most part, finding the joy in my world is a simple matter of stopping to listen to, and look at, and feel, the ordinary. For me, that’s where I find the extraordinary. And that’s where joy is, which means it’s all around me, every day. Easy matter to bliss out, then.

Here are a few other places to find bliss (courtesy of Wikipedia, my current home page):

A song by the English rock band Muse
A 1997 film with Terrance Stamp
A corner in Massachusetts
A fort in texas
A small crater on the moon
A children’s picture book by JRR Tolkien

We’re taught we have to earn it, deserve it, get it from someone else, or just get lucky, but I think it’s there for the taking. Bliss is a choice. Most days, I say yes.

2.14.07

A dilemma today: it’s Valentine’s Day, and this is Match.com. What a combination! Here are the options I’m seeing for my entry today:

1. ignore the holiday and say nothing. I wonder, is it pathetic to be on match.com on V day? I don’t feel pathetic, but what might others think? Of course, they’re all here too…It’s like ignoring the elephant in the room. Something about total evasion feels cowardly.

2. mention it in passing: Don’t make a big deal about it, just slide it in, so that it’s clear I’m not afraid of it or even deliberately ignoring it (see #1). Just a casual little acknowledgment so I don’t come across as bitter.

3. focus on it: It’s today; it’s relevant; to me, it’s pretty darned funny. I think Cupid’s getting really busy now.

Of course, #3 is the option I’m going with. I’m feeling it, you know? So let me lay it out:

A valentine. Symbol of the open heart. Token of tender attention. Passionate love. Courage to voice it. Power to change lives.

Who is more deserving of a valentine than those of us on Match.com, I ask you? Courageous, hopeful, earnest, open, and, let’s face it, available.

So I’m posting my entry today as a Valentine to everyone on Match.com. Today, I feel like maybe I love each and every one of you. Why not enjoy a love fest for a day? It can only be good for the heart.

Have a wonderful day! Smile at everyone and watch them smile back!

2.13.07

Yesterday a driver lost brakes at a big intersection, ran a red light, and plowed into the side of yours truly. I don’t imagine I’ll see my little Hyundai again, but a few feet farther into the intersection and things could have turned out very badly indeed. Today feels a little like a birthday – the “first day of the rest of your life” thing. Hmm.

2.12.07

“Have you taken leave of your senses??” Even as a young girl, this phrase intrigued me and filled me with a strange feeling of delight. It’s a simple yes or no question. Let’s break it down.

The physical senses are the body’s data intake system, reading data so we can perceive the world around us. Without our senses, we’re cut off from an information flow that assists us with living in our physical and social environments. Of course, “taking leave of one’s senses” really refers to being nuts, batty, whacko. Doing something that isn’t based on rational thought processes. Out there. Unpredictable.

So: “Yes, I have taken leave of my senses. I’ll be back Monday.” A choice to leave the rational input of the senses behind. There might be very good reasons to do this. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe on Monday there will be some big reunion.

Or: “Yes, I seem to have dropped them, somewhere along the way, like mittens, or loose buttons.” A more careless leave-taking. A shucking off, for some reason, of the good senses you were born with. I guess at the moment they weren’t that important. Maybe I’ll pick them up on the return trip.

Then there’s “Yes, they were definitely here, and then suddenly they were gone.” Your senses have taken leave of YOU, due to trauma or some central nervous system blip. If you’re aware your senses are gone, maybe it’s not as bad as it might be.

On the flip side: “No, my senses are right here. I’m just acting on a different interpretation of the data they’re bringing me.” Drumming differences… Sometimes very smart people seem to have taken leave of their senses, but I know the reality is they’re burning rubber on the data-intake highway, and I’m strolling down the shoulder. They haven’t taken leave of their senses, they’ve just taken leave of me!

Sometimes the question is asked in anger: “How dare you step outside the norm I’m trapped in!” Sometimes admiration: “What audacious boldness, to thumb your nose at common sense! Bravo!”

I wonder, when we take leave of our senses, where are we going? Who are we playing with? Are we carrying on with some other senses? What do we end up knowing?

And now it’s time for me to get back to my senses. It’s Monday, after all.

2.11.07

A short offering today, from words spoken by writer Tim Sanders: the idea that you like someone not because of who THEY are, but because of who YOU are.

Looking from this perspective, a lot of things change. It doesn’t matter so much if they are like you, appeal to you, or like you back.

It’s a good practice for those of us on Match, I think. Every meeting becomes valuable, and no one’s seen as a “loser,” even if it’s not a match. It cultivates appreciation.

Ultimately, it’s a position of respect and invitation. You can like everyone, because your response to them is not dependent on judging. It’s about opening your heart. And that opens up the whole world.