Crook-Necking Squash and Tomato

Crook Necking Squash and TomatoCall me sappy and mushy.

Call me idealistic and Pollyanna-like.

Call me hopelessly optimistic and simple minded-like.

I still think that Love is what it’s all about, Alfie.

Sounds so very hippity dippity doo-dah…

So very Dionne Warwickish…

Like a bunch of anti-badassery mumbo jumbo…

But sooner or later, we’re gonna have to face it. We’re gonna have to learn it. If we’re gonna make it.

As a species, I mean.

I’m not really talking here about warm fuzzy, though I love a good warm fuzzy.

And I don’t really mean, “Oh, let’s all skip in the daisies and be bff’s and la, la, la, we’re so nice.” Though I sometimes need a good la la, and a new daisy chain for my bff, and I do like nice.

What I mean, is the opposite of fear.

I mean love.

You know…

Like saying, “I forgive you.”

And, “I’m sorry.”

And, “I don’t understand you, but I accept you.”

And, “I’m really scared, but I accept you.” (Unless you’re a mugger or a rapist, in which case I kick you in the nuts and run like hell.)

Or how about, “I love me.” Now there’s a hard one. Can you do it?

I mean Love.

Like doing the right thing. (You know what I’m talkin’ about. Listen to your guts.)

And doing the hard thing.

And doing the courageous thing.

And doing the unpopular thing.

And doing YOUR OWN thing. What? Is that loving?

I am finding, since learning how to breathe, that it’s becoming clearer.

It keeps showing up.

In the morning sun. In a stranger’s smile. In a good hair day. In that email I just got. In that creamy cuppa Joe. In her laugh. In his eyes. In the breeze. In this breath. And this one. And this one.

Yep, even in my vegetables.

Now I know that is so hella woo-woo. But…

Wait for it…

It’s also hella twu-twu.

Oh, I can’t…

F*^% it. I’m leaving it.

 

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Happy is Now.

BeerToday, sitting outside, sipping a beer with my lover was all the therapy I needed.

If you get lost in your head and forget to breathe like I do, here’s a little story for you.

Please enjoy. And breathe.

I finish work around 5:30, eyes crossing (my day job—graphic and web design—requires hours of laptop fixation), brain smoke leaking out the ears and such. I stand, grind the kinks from my hips, and venture out of my office/girl-cave. Mike came home about thirty minutes ago, but there is no sign of life in the house.

I check his office/man-cave…nope. I listen for snoring… nada. Not on the couch, not in our bed. One last place to look. Find the sun. At this hour: front lawn.

Under the plum tree laden with the promise of juicy sweetness, sits my man. His uber-long legs splayed out before him, my love is reclining in a camp chair, side table up, frosty Corona in the cup holder, shades on, eyes closed, earbuds in.

It is the magic hour; sun shedding her slanting glow through the trees, casting everything in gold and slowing time to allow for the faeries.

The time between times.

He opens his eyes because my shadow falls across his face. I lean down, put my hands on his knees and stamp his forehead with a kiss.

“You gonna join me?” He smiles that smile up at me; the one that has flipped my switch for thirty-some years now.

“Yep.” A little something wriggles around just under my solar plexus. Something like joy.

I grab my own bottle of Mexican sunshine from the fridge and the other camp chair from the back porch. Better hurry, time is fleeting.

Deer and BeerI plant it next to my honey. He offers me an earbud. We clink our bottles,

“Salud!”

Boston’s Amanda fills my brain, rewires my dendrites, and blows away the last remnants of work:

“You, you and I girl
We can share the life together
It’s now or never
And tomorrow may be too late”

“And feelin’, feelin’ the way I do
I don’t wanna wait my whole life through
To say I’m in love with you”

Our feet keep time together; my left, his right. He reaches over and takes my hand. My right in his left.

Next come Paul and the lads:

“I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
speaking the words of wisdom…”

And then Idina:

“Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game…”

Now Mumford (and his sons):

“And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again…”

We sit and sip and let the music bring up the volume of the magic.

I am filled with a strange sense of peace. And something else…

I say, “Sitting here with you, waning sun, green grass, cold beer, great music…feels something like…hope.”

“Mm-hmm,” he says.

I breath in. I breath out.

And I remember the words that came to me yesterday from the ether.

Happy is now.

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Pet the Monkey

Noooooooooooooo, don’t go there you nasty pants. I’m not talking about that. If you don’t know what we’re talking about…well, don’t ask.

Today I had an apostrophe. I made friends with my monkey. If you still have your mind in the gutter, pull it out…omg this just keeps getting worse. That was like three “That’s what she said” set-ups in less than sixty words.

Now PLEASE, I’m trying to tell a cool story here.

Okay. So, I recently began referring to my incessant left-brain prattle as The Chattering Monkey. I know, I know. Here I thought I was all clever, coining a fun new phrase, until today when I found out that this is a Buddhist term referring to the untrained mind. So I was right on the money, if not altogether original. Well hell, I must have heard or read it somewhere, filed it away, and then reclaimed it as my own. So sue me—there’s nothing new under the sun.

If you experience the Chattering Monkey as I do on a daily basis, you know how exhausting it can be. Having that little critter babbling his commentary, suggestions, options, angles, fabrications, threats and other general folderol in an unending stream all day long is what keeps companies like Eli Lilly in the green. My hubby calls it having too many ‘ors’ in the water.monkey-illustration300x300

The Chattering Monkey is one of the reasons I took up yoga. If the meditation piece didn’t do the trick, at least I’d be fit and limber enough to get up in the tree and drag his pesky little ass down and tie him up with his own tail.

Well I must admit that as wonderful and beneficial as my yoga practice has proved to be, I found that that my wee companion was going to require a bigger gun.

So I signed up for a free (imagine that) 21-Day Meditation Challenge with Deepak Chopra. I enjoy his writing and like his simple approach to spirituality. Just hanging out listening to his lovely Indian accent is enough to send a person into Nirvana.

They say that it takes three weeks to change a habit, or establish a new one. This does not hold true for chocolate or crack cocaine. These take one hit to hook you and a lifetime to kick.

As for mastering my overactive left hemisphere, I knew I was going to need some support. I have tried to meditate on my own numerous times, and when I have succeeded in somehow outsmarting my amazingly strong-for-his-size little simian tormentor, it is usually short lived.

Me meditating typically looks like this:

Get comfortable in a quiet spot. Take a deep breath and release it slowly through my nose. Have no thoughts. Just observe the breath flowing in… and—did I put the trash on the curb—out…in…and—my left boob itches—out…in…and out…in…and out (hey, on a roll here! Oh wait…) And so it goes.

Sometimes though, when I somehow, miraculously enter into the space between the thoughts, it is glorious. It is utter silence and it is golden. It is like crack. Or chocolate. I want more.

So here is the fun part. I settled in for my third meditation session with Deepak. Monkey boy was in his typical bouncy mood, but I did my best to just relax and listen to the wise and inspiring opening words.

Deepak gently intoned the mantra for the day and I observed my breath. In…and out…in…and out…my pintsized companion started his regular circuit around my brain, out my ear, across my forehead, down my neck and then perched on my shoulder. I watched him for a moment, zipping around and around, and I unexpectedly found that I felt a strange affection for him. He stopped in his tracks, scampered down, curled up in my lap and started to snooze.

Denver Zoo Tamarin Monkey Twin OrphansI continued to observe my breath. In…and out. His breathing fell in sync with mine. From time to time he would suddenly peer up at me with the most adorable little look of concern. I would just gently stroke his velvety fur and he would doze right back off again. And so it went.

I finished my meditation with a very strong feeling of peace. And a new friend.

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A Sticky Note

Now I don’t believe that God is in any way mean, punitive or prone to schadenfreude, but he/she/it certainly had a good laugh on me a few days ago.

I don’t know about you, but it makes me really happy when things go well for me. When I’m running at a high level of love, kindness, and patience, when I do what I do with skill and efficiency, and am an asset to those whom I’m doing it for. It makes life way more fun for everyone involved.

But every once in a while, when my estrogen patch is wearing thin or I have had too much or too little chocolate, I wander into Nasty Karma Land and it really sucks.

So here’s the great cosmic funny that ol’ what’s-its-face pulled on me.

I was going about my business, working hard at my work, trying to do my best. Feeling a little edgy maybe, a little estro-low perhaps, but clipping along fairly smoothly with my project for work.

My client (I’ll call her Boss Lady), whom I am working on this project for (website redesign), forwarded an email to me from an important business colleague of hers. Suddenly there was another party impacting the project.

A series of back and forth emails ensued. Nothing earth shaking, nothing difficult or particularly challenging.

At some point, however, this colleague—I’ll call her Third Party Lady—said something that kinda rubbed me the wrong way. In retrospect, it was a perfectly innocuous, acceptable and appropriate comment; but somehow I took it personally (some would call that ego), and I let it get under my skin.

I continued to work and stew, and then suddenly—impetuously—like a tweener on Red Bull, I popped off an email to Boss Lady making a witty, yet snarky, comment in reference to Third Party Lady. I thought it was clever and true…

. . . and private.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, as it may be, the comment was made in a reply email to Third Party Lady instead of a forward email to Boss Lady. (Note to self: It is sometimes necessary and appropriate to make private comments, however, they should always be sent in a new correspondence thread. Oh, and try to be nice.)

Note to selfImagine my surprise, and Boss Lady’s too (she never even saw the email – nope, it went directly to the person whom I was saying snarky things about), when Third Party Lady emailed back and nailed my ass for the snippy comment. By nailed I mean, she came back with a simple, honest, professional yet very sharp nail, which made me feel about the size of an amoeba in my heart.

You’ve heard the term “sinking feeling”? I had that.

Ohhhh boy howdy, was I in a sweaty pickle. I racked my brain for how in the heck she could have seen that comment. My heart rate soared. My pits did their rain dance. How in the holy molé did I get myself into this? I am a wielder of positive energy, a woman on a mission to bring more love, a good-karmaholic! How could I let myself slip up so badly? I’ll tell you how…

I’m a human and I do that sometimes, that’s how.

I was still mortified none-the-less. At first I was so freaked mainly because I was so busted. Then, as I considered my spirit, I felt like I had just taken a giant leap backwards into personal growth purgatory.

With my heart in my throat and my fingers quivering, I wrote a heartfelt apology. I was so dismayed and nervous that I sent it with the subject line: “Applology”. Yes, you read that right. Then I wrote a second one to Boss Lady. In the middle of writing that one, my smart phone yelled,

“Hey dummy, its Boss Lady calling!” Deep breath.

“Hi.” I answered, feebly.

“So, I don’t understand what happened. What was she talking about, ‘snarky comment’?”

“Boss Lady, I am so sorry. I am so embarrassed… blah, blah, blah…” I stumbled all over myself explaining and applologizing.

She was very gracious and kind. I probably would have fired my ass.

Turns out, Third Party Lady is a highly esteemed professional in her field and has been a longtime supporter and champion of Boss Lady’s company. Not that her position should make any difference. Disrespect is disrespect no matter at whom it is aimed. What matters is that I not only offended a valued colleague, but by association, I cast a very unsavory light on Boss Lady and her business as well. Oh, the pain of it. Breathe…

Goooooooozzzzz, frah bahhhhhhh (as my sublime friend Starwalker would say).

A tiny stone cast into a pond makes many ripples that keep moving out and out. That’s a lot of energy from one little plop. One little snarky comment—lots of trauma and stress. One teensy knee jerk—lots of negative energy touching…well who knows how many folks, ultimately. I guess it will depend on how forgiving Third Party Lady decides to be. My hope is that the intent that I put with all my heart into that apology letter will be some kind of alchemy for a happy outcome.

For the last five years or so I have meditated in short snippets as a part of my daily yoga practice. I love the little moments of peace these brief meditations bring throughout—especially when my hamstrings or gluteus are about to explode after a particularly challenging set—but I wouldn’t call it deep or focused meditation (except to focus deeply on surviving the pain without throwing up).

Of late, though, I have been trying to spend more time in a deeper quiet place. When I go to there, my prayer is to understand more fully my purpose for hanging out on the planet, to know how I can fulfill my greatest desires, and be a blessing to those that I encounter.

So naturally the first thing out of the gate would be to commit some goofy blunder like this one.

It’s called contrast, and it’s one of the most effective gurus I’ve yet to encounter. Let me tell you, this girl doesn’t have to be told more than about three hundred times before she gets something.

This old dog can learn new tricks.

Enlightenment is close; I can feel it. No joke, just the universe—the constant teacher—making sure I have a proper education.

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You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bucket

The TrinityA few months ago I sat by the river and had a lovely lunch with one of my dearest, most funnest, supremely wisest and wackiest of friends Dianne. (She has a newly released book—more later.)

When we get together, we talk about everything under the sun, beyond the stars and inside the deep dark of our belly buttons. I am never the same after one of our navel gazing star-walking chatabouts. She never fails to bring some otherworldly perspective that brings out the very best in me. It is, after all, why they call her Starwalker. Everyone needs a Dianne in her life.

ANYHOO. We were talking about the nature of the universe, possibility, probability and other surface crap like that, when the subject turned to my recent struggles with believing that the universe really had my back.

Being a recovering perfectionist, I drift from time to time into frantically trying to figure out all the hows on the way to my whats. And since my whats had also been unclear, my hows were all catywampus, tangled up and flung like spaghetti all over my map. I guess you might say I had been feeling a bit confused and curbobulated. I get that way sometimes.

She said many interesting things—she always does—but one thing in particular rang the bell of my heart, and it’s still resonating today.

“Kathy, you have been dipping into the great sea of potentiality with a thimble. You gotta get yourself a bigger bucket.”

We sat quietly, gazing at the gigantic water that was flowing past us. It churned and chortled and filled the air with great guffaws as it joyfully surged past us, with nary a care for the huge boulders it so easily made its way around. Lately, I had been slamming head-on into the boulders that came across my path.

I pictured myself sitting on the edge of a well that was big enough to contain the universe, lowering my miniscule thimble, which hung at the end of a very long piece of dental floss. My bucket was tiny and so was I.

“Yep. I gotta get me a bigger bucket.” I echoed.

Sometimes a truth is spoken, and it puts an end to all other words.

Kathy on a bucket.I’ve been thinking about possibility.

I’ve been thinking about abundance.

I’ve been thinking about all the love there is, and wondering how it is that I get to questioning whether things will go well with me. I wonder why I am prone to trading in my bucket for a thimble.

I only need close my eyes for a few moments, conjure the vast blessings I’ve seen in my lifetime—even the ones that were wrapped in difficult happenings—and the questioning is assuaged. Every time I do this, I check my bucket and lo and behold… it has grown.

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Keep me posted!

 

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