Friday, February 25, 2011

How I spent my winter vacation....

So much for my dream of delving into fractals....and so it always goes.  My daughter had a bigger vision, and it included a lot of manual labor from me.  To her credit, she pitched in as did my husband.  A separate post might be about how an engineer and a social worker paint a room together.  Our old house will never be remodeled in any kind of extensive way because it would cost us a big part of our relationship.  I now know this to be true.  I also learned that it is a day wasted at Home Depot to try and talk my daughter out of her designated paint color "Barely Sage".  I did manage to talk her out of "Coriander Seed" for the trim by telling her it looked like poo.  Which it did.  She told me that "Whispering Birches" would be too light for trim.  Which it is.  For those keeping score, I'm down a point but I made the realization that my daughter has a better eye for design than I do.

So what I really did over winter vacation is continue to admire the artistry of my daughter.  Her room is shaping up beautifully, and we will put the finishing touches on the forest room by taking a road trip to IKEA to pick up a shag green "grass" rug.  She also wants me to hunt down some bamboo for her indoor garden.  When I look at the room, I see the artist she is and the artist she will be.  Fractals can wait.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Me and Yoga

Woman in Lotus Position Doing Yoga with the Tao Symbol Clipart Picture

Yoga:  You want to come over later and do some downward dog?
Me:  You know the last time I came over, you started with downward dog and then things got a little wild.....
Yoga:  I would not call The Pigeon wild, you have got to center yourself and breathe through the pain
Me:  Pain, that's just it, I'm supposed to be blissed out when I'm hanging out with you and yet after 15 years, still so much pain.  Also, while I'm at it, I still can't touch the floor when I'm bending from the waist down.  A lot of broken promises, yoga.
Yoga:  You want to talk broken promises?  You think I don't know about running, undoing everything we have done together?  And what about tele-skiing?  You couldn't even enjoy the child's pose because of what you did.  Don't deny it.  Namaste my ass.
Me:  Now the truth comes out.  You need me to give up running.  By the way, running is perfectly happy for me to do all the poses I want.  Seems like running might be a bit more enlightened than we thought, heh?
Yoga:  Running will leave you as soon as your joints go, you know it, I know it.  I'm in it for the long haul.  So you don't get butterflies or a big adrenalin rush.  Those things are distractions.  I'm not going to beg but know that when you are broken, battered, and bruised, I will be here waiting.
Me:  I do know that yoga, I do know that.  Maybe we should go away for a few days together.  I could work on pigeon and you could work on that temper.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A few thoughts on Fractals before Winter Vacation

Who gets to define who we are?  I have become increasingly aware that it is not only ourselves, defining ourselves.  I know who I think I am and who I want to be but that is one fractal, really.  Don't get me started on fractals.  I can't tell you what they are exactly, but I think they may be the key to unifying some things.  They are actually geometric shapes that can be divided into infinity.  It is clear that I am over-identified with fractals because I feel that I can be divided into infinity.  Start thinking about where you started and where you are now. 

I started as a beloved daughter and granddaughter and now see my mother in my daughter and we divide.  Samsara.  Over and over again until we bust through.  I try and contemplate my divisions, throughout the ages but the noise in this time and moment blocks the longer view and a deeper understanding.  I sense it rippling under the surface but it is elusive and can only be touched upon in silence.  Of which I don't have access to lately.

So here is my stated intention for Winter Vacation:  Bone up on fractals so what I write about them makes a bit of sense.  Sit in silence.  Be damned grateful for all the lifetimes that have led me to this post in this moment at the beginning of a vacation.  What a gift.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Agape You

I was pleasantly surprised to get a dentist's appointment today, on short notice.  As I was driving to the dentist, it hit me:  a single person would not make a dentist appointment on Valentine's day.  My cheerful dental assistant, as she was taking digital X-rays asked me what I was doing to celebrate the day.  "Just recovering from this visit"  I cheerfully responded.  As luck would have it, I had a psychosomatic cavity and so needed no drilling.  Which left me open to celebrate the day of love.

Here is my Valentine.  He could be looking a bit grumpy because he cleaned out the fish tank and inadvertently murdered the shrimp while trying to annihilate the 50 tiny black snails that were taking over the tank.  Scott was then forced to buy an assassin snail to finish the job.  So, knowing about and buying assassin snails to protect the family fish, that's love.  Then there is the nightly job of reading "Little House on the Prarie" Volume 7 to the bear or building rockets with the boy or driving to Braintree to pick up up a book for me entitled "A time to keep silence" about a Brit's sojourns to some of Europe's oldest monasteries.  Much, much better than flowers or chocolates.

Apparently the Greeks sectioned off love into three categories:  Eros, passionate love; Philia, brotherly or the love found in friendships; and Agape, the love of a committed decision.  My husband and I started with Philia, moved into Eros and now find ourselves committed to one another through the trusting eyes of both ourselves and our children.

Agape isn't the easiest love.  Jesus talked about it when he advised we should love our enemies.  Buddha talked about it in the dharma when he advised that we are all connected and that lovingkindness is the default position.

Start with your Valentine...and then move out and plow through the world with agape.  I will see you out there. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Get Drunk

Get Drunk

One should always be drunk.
That's all that matters; that's our
one imperative need.
So as not to feel Time's horrible burden.
One which breaks your shoulders
and bows you down,
you must get drunk without cease.

But with what?
With wine, poetry, or virtue
as you chose.
But get drunk.

And if, at some time, on steps of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak
solitude of your room,
you are waking and the drunkenness has
already abated,
ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,

All that which flees,
All that which groans,
All that which rolls,
All that which sings,
All that which speaks,
Ask them, what time it is,

And the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds,
and the clock, they will all reply:
"It is time to get drunk! So that you may not be
the martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk, get drunk,
And never pause for rest!

With wine, poetry, or virtue,
As you choose!                                       Charles Beaudalaire

With thanks to Mr. Coggins who sent this out over school email with nary a thought of the possible ramifications of sending out an email with that header.  Makes me think that the great poets were quite un politically correct, which we should all aspire to. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Boldly Go

Apparently my winter workout regime of skiing down a run that is over in under a minute has not kept me in top physical condition.  To be exact, I appear to have gained 8 pounds.  My husband, because he is wicked smart, calmly states "it is muscle mass, you have been working out more."  Letting himself off the hook, he quickly exits the room.  I have been working out:  shovelling snow, blowing snow, skiing in snow, and snowshoeing in snow (exactly once).  I'm not sure any of those activities add muscle mass.

So that is the backdrop to my story today.  I went to the Y to get a run in because I am running a ridiculously short race in March and I need to run at a certain level; the not walking level.  I decided to run for 45 minutes, nice and easy.  The beauty of running at the track in the Y, is your buddies will see you and most likely comment on your progress.  My friend noticed that I was laboring and anxiously asked if it was OK that I was running.  I think she might have been referring to my heart surgery or maybe my stroke but underneath it was compassion.

I have watched my dad, who lost the use of his legs at age 11 due to polio, struggle with this his whole life.  I am not comparing my small trials to his but he has been a great example of exceeding everyone's expectations.  When he was in his early twenties, he applied for a job at Exxon.  They calmly told him that they didn't hire "cripples" and he said OK and went on his way.  I could give a 1000 examples of his bearing with dignity other's assumptions about his health or his abilities.  The thing is, I was paying attention.

So when my friend expresses her concerns about my health and she attributes it to my heart, I know that I don't have to set her straight.  I don't have to tell her that it is really some extra weight brought on by a really tiny ski slope masquerading as an aerobic workout.  I know to smile and say "I'm OK, thanks for checking."

You have to boldly go, in spite of people worrying about you, in spite of your own fears.  You have to boldly go.