Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Last Ornament

Our new kittens had fun with the last ornament to go on the tree. As usual I've done the whole thing, mostly, by myself. Hubby is not interested and my son, though claiming to be participating, is more interested in lighting candles and creating a device from which to hang mistletoe over the door. So my ambiance is the faint sound of Christmas music trailing from the bedroom, Hubby trying to figure out how to voice command his video game (“Equip flame spell!”.... “Equip lightning spell!”....”Assign flame spell”...”Assign healing spell!) and the “hammer hammer hammer” of my son's work.

Still, my mood is not dispelled and I persist in the annual tree trimming with my usual warm and fuzzy feelings. Three broken ornaments still get hung because of their sentimental value: A Christopher Radko of Kermit the Frog in a Santa hat, climbing out of a now-broken chimney; Ceramic ball with tree scene painted on it my father's widow bought for me at an art show, soon after my father's death (hole in the back side is hung against the tree... an invisible scar); and a crystal angel with a broken wing my husband gave me our first Christmas together. All the ornaments have some memory associated with them, some more significant than others. They are placed on the tree in order of emotional attachment, but even the least have some meaning.

I'm thinking about a co-worker who decided for the first time this year not to put up the tree. Her kids are grown and her husband doesn't care any more about their tree than mine does. I wonder if some day I'll be the same way?..... Nah, I can't see it happening.

Oh. I missed a box. Hold on ...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Where's My Coffee! (A One Day Challenge)

I am not much of a coffee drinker (but – don’t let me run out of Diet Coke… ever!) so I can relate to those who absolutely must have their {insert highly addictive caffeinated beverage here] to get their day started on a productive, positive and … dare I say “sane?” note.  My husband is a serious coffee drinker who imbibes in highly leaded black coffee all day every day. So, when our coffee pot went out this weekend, we were shopping for a new one before the sun had a chance to dry the morning dew.

Since this was the second pot to die on us in the two and a half years we’ve lived in this place, my husband decided to try plugging the new pot in a different spot.  Mind you, it’s only on the other side of the stove from where the old one was, but the past two days have been rather comical as I watch him get used to this small change – especially early in the morning when he starts to make his first pot.  He habitually steps to the old coffee pot spot, and at one point he nearly poured a carafe full of water all over the empty countertop.  Even later in the day, reaching for another cup, he’ll step to the old spot and stand there for a second or two with a dumfounded look until he remembers the new pot is now one more step to the left.

Observing his having to create a new habit adjusting to his coffee pot spot makes me think of advice I’ve seen quite a bit – that one can create a “habit” by practicing a new behavior for thirty days. This teaches your brain to automatically cue the behavior without having to consciously think about it. Several times, I’ve started these 30 day brain training exercises, but I’ve never been able to make it the whole 30 days.  I think, even though 30 days is not a long time, it seems like forever to me when imagining my impatient self with this new positive habit.

Seeing proof of this theory in my husband’s coffee habit reinforces in me that it is possible, so how do I make myself do this for 30 days?  I think I’ll try some advice I learned many years ago when working with addicts:  ”one day at a time”.  I will simply not worry about the next 29 days. In fact, I don’t even think I’ll keep track.  I’ll just set myself up a reminder, maybe in several places (Outlook, cell phone calendar, a sticky on my bathroom mirror, and maybe another on my laptop).

My new habit?  I’m going to leave something on my plate at every meal.  I am always taking more food than I need to fill me up, then feeling like I have to finish it even if I am already full.  So I will start small and leave something, at least one bite, on my plate.  I can do that for one day.

Would you like to join me for a day?  What new habit would you like to start?  Don’t worry.  I won’t hold you accountable. This is a deal between you and your own brain just for one day.  You can decide about tomorrow some other day.


Posted via email from "Do" Dreaming

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Old Cars and Dogs

I’ve had a recurring dream for a while now that I somehow gather up every car I’ve ever driven and collect them at the home where I grew up.  My Dad’s old MGB (sweet!  and I totaled it!), rescued from near the dorm I lived in in college;  the little red S-15 pickup with the long bed I had when I left home, found in the lower forty of the parking lot at the hospital where I used to work… mixed in with these and other cars in my past is the iconic 57 Chevy, which I never owned, but I think must represent the time I was born into (I was not born until ’63, but the car represents that whole generation of cars to me, I think).
Recently the dream has changed from old cars to old dogs. The sweetheart pets of my life follow me around in a pack everywhere I go.  Sandy, the beautiful blond Cocker mix who was hit by a car as a juvie and walked with a kind of sideways swagger (I had to give her away when I moved to an apartment in Tampa that didn’t allow pets); Babe the adorable and loving little terrier mix who ended up with my Mom and lived until she was nearly 20; Beckett the beagle, my earliest memory of a dog; Joe-Ben, a beautiful Airedale whose death was heart-wrenching for the whole family; Abbie, the needy but adorable and endearingly sweet black cocker-terrier mix whom I had to send off to the no-kill shelter when she bit my toddler (terriers are so possessive!); and lastly, Sparta, the rescued black lab and her offspring Pip, whom we had to let go when a Katrina-stressed giant Oak fell in our backyard and destroyed the fence that kept them in… all great friends and loving dogs whom I apparently still miss.
Don’t get me wrong: I have had my share of  human grief. I lost a dear friend to AIDS in ’88. I lost my father (at only 56 years old) to Cancer in ’96. Then I lost a good friend from childhood to a plane crash in ’98 (I named my kid after her).  I think I have “grieved” these deaths appropriately, allowing time to mourn and feel the feelings: to go through Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief.
Maybe my dream could be telling me I need to grieve other losses.  It seems trivial to think we need to go through the process with cars… but maybe not so much with dogs (they are our best friends after all) – either way, I think we do tend diminish loss in general in our lives. Obviously I have.  So let’s take a minute or few to let them go.
I release these feelings of guilt and pain over the loss of dear pets all, and even the loss of things not living, but which hold meaning for a time in my past. I am ready to move on with gratitude for the gifts they left me, yet to live in the present. I let go of dreams not come true, and hold dear the moment of now, and I am thankful for dreams remaining. I appreciate the opportunity to allow life experiences to manifest in my current life with joy.

That Nice Lady

My Papa and Nana (that nice lady)
“I was just talking to that nice lady

My family used to get tickled at my grandmother when she would say that. She was a few years into her illness when she made friends with a woman she called “that nice lady”.  It took us a while, but when we finally met her new friend, we laughed with joy – “Of Course!”

  Yes, she was a very nice lady indeed.

What my Nana, who had Alzheimer’s, was doing, was talking to the “nice lady” in the mirror.  That was her new friend.  Not realizing the reflection was herself, she was having conversations with a person she did not recognize, but with whom she really liked.  

Some 25 years later, I find a lesson in that.  When you look in the mirror, could you think of the reflection you see as a stranger, yet a person you could like?  Could it be that he or she might be someone you could become good friends with?  Why or why not?  Maybe it’s time to have a heart-to-heart with that “nice lady” (or man) in your mirror.  Maybe you’ll meet someone you like!  Even in the throes of a bitter and debilitating disease, my Nana found something good in herself.  

What’s your excuse?

Friday, June 22, 2012

True Reach measures our web presence in many different categories and on several different scales.  One of them is “True Reach”.  While it is nice to know someone is out there reading my stuff, I have to admit it is not really possible to measure the unknown.  In the spirit of It’s a Wonderful Life, I dare say it might not always be a good thing to know every statistic or algorithm about the effectiveness of your presence in this world, online or not.

There are some (probably more than you realize) folks out there getting your message whom you will never know about.  Imagine a kind of circular version of “the Butterfly Effect”: somehow (we hope) the good we put out in the world will one day find its way back to us (though it will most likely be in a different form and without a tracking device).  Still, good things that come to us could be a reciprocal effect of something we did once upon a time, however small or seemingly insignificant. Even more profound, these gifts of reciprocity could be the effect of something our parents did, or their parents even.  

Imagine your own butterfly effect in full living color, flying from your own good energy and spreading little bits of fairy dust along the way. As the butterfly effect of you flutters in the shadows of the sun, wave goodbye and welcome the next with a deep incoming breath – we are part of a living universe, full of unseen but not invisible energy in every thought and action. Some even theorize that the whole universe is but one organism.

So, if your “Klout” score is not as high as you might like, especially in the area of “True Reach”, know this:  someone is listening out there.  Just be okay without knowing who.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

No Peeking

I’ve had it all wrong this whole time.  I misunderstood the “tree falling in the woods” question.  If you are not familiar with it, it goes something like this:  If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear, does it make a noise?

(“Of course it makes a noise!” I thought. “Why would it not?”)

But it turns out there is a scientific reason why it might not.  Now, I finally get it.  Apparently, in quantum physics (which I do not even pretend to understand), waves and particles of energy act differently when we’re paying attention to what they are doing, than when we are not.  I have been going about this whole “Law of Attraction” thing completely in the wrong way.  I heard my mentors when they said “don’t get emotionally attached to the outcome”, but I misunderstood that.  Really, what they mean is, once you hold the intention, let it go. Do not wait for this thing to happen or magically appear on your doorstep. Instead, let God and the Universe do their thing, and...

NO Peeking! 

I know you want to look, but don’t. Just like we can never look back, we cannot look for results either.  Now is where you are, where “it” is. Do what feels natural and right in this moment. Trust your instincts.  Be and do the most you can – rightnow  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Not the Only One

I just dropped my son off to summer camp, his fourth year now.  I've been going to this place for one reason or another on a regular basis for most of my life, and know these old roads well.  What always strikes me when I drive up is how lonesome and desolate it seems.  I'm almost always the only car as far as I can see in either direction. Knowing I'm not the only one heading this way, because camp holds a couple hundred kids plus staff, and it starts at the same time for all of us, I wonder why It is that, as usual, I see no other cars as I drive closer and closer to our destination. Not until we turn off the state highway and on to the mile long way that leads to my son's long awaited week of bliss do I see other cars.

How does this happen?  Is there some kind of magical barrier that keeps each car at just the right gap behind the next so that we "get" the country road feeling as we ride in?  Most of us who've stayed here see it as a magical place... "holy ground", so the thought that we are led quietly to the turn off is not that out of place, for this place. 

It is peaceful and inviting, especially in summer. Waving overgrowth in a thousand shades of green tickle in the wind as I drive by.  Lone horses, still from summer's heat, stand stoic, poised. Each acre taunts a new landscape fit for framing. I resist the urge to stop and take pictures.  The kid is getting in his last hit of digital addiction before a week of nature by watching "Annoying Orange" YouTube videos on my smart phone.  So, while the scene is lovely, the sound is not. Still, I feel a strong gratitude for this time alone in the country.  I forget how much it means to me to be out here. It is probably the only time I feel safe and alone at the same time. Even though I see no others, I know they are there, sharing this lonesome road - not far ahead and not far behind: a quiet parade of souls in solitude. Even with the annoying orange, I love this.

I get to experience a lovely drive alone in the country, and I'm not the only one.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oceanic Treasure: Free for the Taking

Recycled art fish, by

Think of it as artistic gold.  Mile after fish choking mile, debris from God knows where travels across the ocean to land forever in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or one of the other recently discovered oceanic trash-fills growing like The Blob in our beautiful Earth’s waters.  But, what if we could do something extraordinary with it? 
According to Miriam Goldstein, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography 
cleaning up the plastic trash in the ocean is virtually impossible, given the vast scale. The Pacific Garbage Patch, for example, stretches for hundreds of miles and is located 1,000 miles north of Hawaii.
"Most people who work on this issue agree that prevention is the critical step," she said. "Once a piece of plastic is in the ocean, it is really hard and expensive to get it out again."

But what if someone were willing to pay for it?  Say, an art lover who happens to also have a passion for our planet?  Does such a person exist?  I dare say yes.  

What if we could, with our social media collective consciousness, make this “trash” a viable commodity?  What if it were bought and sold on the big markets?  Then it could be “harvested” by would be gold-miner types, and sold to the highest bidder, who could create stuff with it and sell it for what it is:  a savior of fish:  Hope for the planet:  Love of the ocean;  Sea bird saved. 
It would take a lot, for sure. Somebody would have to come up with a way to authenticate it.  We won’t use just any trash… it has to be ocean trash.  Salt content, perhaps?  The 14k stamp equivalent of “yep it’s real, folks!”
Oh it’s not a new idea. See what Oregon-based artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi is already doing!

What if we could take it even further?  Make every household in the world want a piece of ocean-saving art?  People are already making dresses out of recycled plastic.  Just think of the possibilities!  This would have to be way more than an ocean awareness campaign.  We need to bring in the big boys - The folks with serious cash:  Investors who expect a serious return on their dollar.  Somebody to fund the clean up and be excited to reap the rewards. 
Probably the best way to do that, is to create a demand.  Pre-orders anyone?