#reverb10 Day 12: Body Integration

13 12 2010

NOT chubby bubbles girl,
but I bet her mind (push
button) was very integrated
with her body (thirsty)!

PROMPT: This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Our writing teacher gave us a prompt after we spent about 20 minutes wandering around in her backyard. The prompt was to write from our body. I spent a few minutes floundering and than just decided that there was nothing to contribute and stopped writing. My writing ended with “I’m going to sit back and listen. I got nuthin’ for this one. But it sure was nice being outside.” I am feeling the same way about this Day 12 prompt.

What does mind/body integration mean? What is non-integration? Is that even possible? Is it “chubby bubbles girl“? The body suffers when my mind is not attentive and and reaps the benefits when the mind is being mindful. So, even when the body is disconnected (in the “thinking about” sense) from the mind, there is still a connection (cause/effect), just maybe not an awareness.

I feel most aware of my body when I’m using it or pushing the limits past comfort. Is that integration?

Maybe I’ll just sit back and listen for this one (or, well, read).

#reverb10 Day 11: Things

12 12 2010

PROMPT: What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

Really, all I need to do is have you click on and read this blog post by DancingWaves and then say:

“What she said.”

Because she captured it all and with a beautiful eloquence and there’s no reason to have two blogs posts out in Cyberland when one says it all and there’s really not much that I could add to that.

#reverb10 Day 10: Wisdom

12 12 2010


PROMPT: Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Wisdom is one of those words that we just aren’t supposed to apply to ourselves.  It’s reserved for our elders, those that have seen more, done more, lived through the depression, had to make their own peanut butter from peanuts and corn bread from corn, had to have a silent strength as their husbands beat their children and then somehow tape the pieces back together.  Not us.  Even in middle-age we often act as adolescents.  Where is the wisdom?

Wisdom is like beauty: we either feel that someone has it of they don’t, but there are so many layers and flaws to both and we tend to project those types of traits on people that we don’t really want to understand or acknowledge.

Once in awhile, I notice a wise moment when I tell someone a truth that I am observing and it really resonates with them, but often I say those “truths” only to find out that I am just talking outta my arse.  So, wise?  Or just lucky?

I can’t think of anyone that I know that is wise in that all encompassing way.  I would probably be too intimidated to be friends with someone like that anyway.  I do know lots of smart people- street smart, computer smart, geek smart, people smart, healthy smart, power smart, art smart, intuitive smart-but I don’t know anyone wise.  Even my almost-90-yr-old-unofficially-adopted grandma, Belva, is very smart and witty and understanding and open-minded, but wise?  Not so much.

So, since I can’t really touch wisdom, I WILL say that I have done a couple of SMART things this past year, including getting control of finances, extracting from drama and speaking up for myself when all other tactics seemed to fail.  But maybe the smartest thing that I did was put a focus on my health.

I went to the Doctor and had the blood drawn and numbers run for the first time.  I found out that my cholesterol is only 177 (cue one of those commercials for the cholesterol lowering drug where the person tells everyone that he passes his cholesterol numbers) and that I have hypothyroid-ism.  That always seemed like such an excellent “ism” to have, but I never had it tested.  So, of course, there’s a drug for that and for the first time in my life I have Normal Hunger.  And the weight is coming off.  And running is fun again.  And thinking about things besides food is possible.  And the monkey is contemplating jumping off of my back.  And it feels good.  For the first time.

Wise is an aloof star, shining, inspiring and out of reach, but smart- sometimes I can touch that.

#reverb10 Day 9: Party

10 12 2010

PROMPT: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Every year at the end of October Mari & Dan rope a group of their friends into celebrating their wedding anniversary with them. Sure, they make it themed and interesting and get us all involved in it, but we really know what’s going on.  They just want an excuse to throw a big party so that they can remind everyone that they each married their best friend.  Whatever.

One year (2007), they made their attic haunted and made Grandpa & Grandma kinda creepy.

This was followed with  an alien spaceship landing in their yard (and another one overtaking the attic) in 2008 and a haunted carnival in 2009.

2010 was the best anniversary celebration so far: The attic became a psyche ward.  We all received our invitation and then at the party had to solve the mystery of what happened to Wendy.  She was the lone survivor in the house.  Her 3 friends and parents were murdered.  Was it a cult?  Did someone come in & kill everyone?  Why did she survive?  And what is she doing in the psych ward now?

It was just really well done and like stepping into a movie set.  They always involve their friends in some way, but don’ t give out the theme until it’s time for the party. My son & I both got to be patients in the asylum and were captured on the closed circuit monitor that could be seen at the nurse’s station.  The psych ward mystery has been captured by Mari & Dan. You can experience it by clicking the Psych Ward photo. (And between Mari’s photography & Dan’s computer skills and the attention to detail that both of them and their friends put into this, it’s worth checking out.)

Of course, in order to celebrate with them properly, we all have to dress up as our alter egos.  This year, the girls & I were the Hot Flashes Roller Derby Team with Dan as our Referee (he wouldn’t dare make any calls against us!!!).

And, yeah, their wedding anniversary HAPPENS to be Oct 31, but really, isn’t it a bit much just to get us all to celebrate their vows? 😉

#reverb10 Day 7 and Day 8: Beautifully Different Community

9 12 2010

PROMPT: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

PROMPT: Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

(OK, yes, I am combining the prompts for days 7 and 8. Maybe it’s a cop-out, or an easier way to catch-up, BUT I would also say that the two came together tonight in my writing class and fit so I’m going with it.  And the tree picture is from my favorite flickr artist, SkyShaper.  I’ve had a long term crush on his work and he let me use this pic.  :-)Through his photography, he forces us to look into faces that would otherwise be ignored.  Check out his work.)

I made my reservation today. Andy & I are going to CO – to the mountains, to one of my besties Jill – in Feb 2011. It started with a text from her:
“I miss u.”
“Time 4 me 2 get a plane ticket?”

I didn’t do yesterday’s prompt about community. I just had an image, but not words, that traveled with me throughout the day of a large, healthy, full tree (let’s make it an old maple) and each of the main branches was one of my social groups, a branch of my community with smaller branches of individual friends, some thicker and more prominent, but all making up the richness of the tree. Just like a tree branch, friends slowly grow and divide into many more and sometimes break off. And the leaves – well those are all of the uncountable acts that each person does that I value or is special to our relationship. In fact, some leaves I don’t value or notice-they just grow off of the branch and cascade down in the fall, but they were there and add the color and nourishment of the community.

And that, that community tree, is what is most beautifully different about me. Really. It’s my friends, my branches. They each make up one small part of who I am, but without those branches for structure and those leaves to feed my soul, I would die. I would be the decayed, hallowed out log that others would have to step over when taking a stroll out in the network of timber and relationships.

It’s the one thing that I always come back to doing right: I somehow know how to pick AMAZING, supportive, diverse, HONEST, witty bee-u-tiful friends. Really, Beautiful – inner beauty, outer beauty – they ALL are deeply blessed with both, even the guys – but none of it is cookie-cutter or typical. There are no words for absolute truths. This is an absolute truth, so I will stop trying to find words.

I have, in my not so humble opinion, the most gorgeous, lush tree in the forest.

In February, I’m going to climb up to one of the biggest, most stable (and weirdly twisted) branches and just sit there a bit and listen to the wind rustle her leaves.

#reverb10 Day 6: Make

6 12 2010

PROMPT: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I started it a couple of years ago.  I’ve always thought that making and giving a quilt to someone was a huge gift of love and, maybe corny, but symbolic of the piecing together of a relationship.  Some patterns and pieces you like more than others, but the overall quilt is what matters: how it feels, how the colors and prints come together, how much work goes into it.  While working on a quilt for someone, I tend to think about that person; what they would like, their role in my life, what our relationship meant and means.   I had made and gifted quilts, but had never made one for myself.

A couple of years ago, I decided that it was time.  I cut up some old clothes and scraps of material and started piecing together my Trip Around the World.  It felt so good to finally think about what I wanted, what was MY relationship to myself and what does that mean.  I really don’t remember what was going on in my life at the time, but I imagine when I started, I must have been in a pretty good place.

Generally, when I make a quilt (or do almost anything) there is VERY LITTLE planning.  I create on the fly and solve issues as they arise and this quilt was no exception.  I just love watching the process of something coming together into a finished product that I couldn’t have imagined.

But something happened: I ran out of one of the prints AND the quilt was too long and narrow. And I was pissed-and just maybe, had stepped into a depression or something-and stopped.  I hated the quilt, hated the way I refuse to plan, hated sewing.  The quilt and miscellaneous pieces were packed into a bag and tucked into a cabinet next to the sewing machine and neither one came out for a really, really long time.

Until 2 weeks ago.  I took a week off of work, came across the bag & thought: “Could it really be that bad?”  After buying some more material that matches close enough and tearing out a few rows and sewing in a few more, my quilt looks beautiful and I love it again.  It’s just needs to be finished off with some binding and it will keep me toasty all winter.

My feelings toward the quilt seem reflective of my approach to many things and maybe even life:
1) Treat yourself well
2) It’s ok to step away
3) It’s ok to come back to something and work through the issues when you are ready
4) Even ugly pieces can make a beautiful whole

#reverb10 Day 5: Let Go

5 12 2010

PROMPT: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

I pulled the car into the CUB parking lot.  The grocery store had closed months before (as a result of gentrification or too much theft, depending on perspective).  I parked in a location with no poles, no curbs, nothing but concrete, put the car in neutral, set the parking brake, opened the door and got cautiously into the passenger seat as my 16 yr old son closed the driver’s side door.

This was it: this was the moment before the moment that I let go.

He had his temps,  had already been through driving school and had even driven before – with his papa and in an automatic car.  Today was the day that I would teach him how to drive a stick – in my mid-life crisis Honda del Sol (painted Ultrasonic Blue to match my favorite Victoria Secret pj’s).

I got uncharacteristically calm and he got uncharacteristically attentive.  I covered everything that I could think of: clutch, brake, gas, clutch, ease up on clutch while easing down on gas, clutch before brake, clutch, clutch, clutch.

It was time to try. Stall once.  Stall twice.  Chug ahead a couple of times, then third stall.  Go ahead and do it again.  He got the car in motion and I talked him through 2nd gear. He was so dang proud!  Then it was time to stop.  And start all over.  The whole time I kept my foot on the invisible passenger side brake.  It didn’t seem to be functioning.  We gridded our way all over the parking lot, back and forth, turned and back across.  With each row and each non-stalled start his confidence grew and I watched the 5 yr old Lego obsessed boy sitting next to me grow into a handsome teenager driving my car.

Then he asked: Can I drive it in the street?  That’s the moment that I let go.  I open my fingers and released control of any threads that I held that connected to the balloons of Andy and myself and my keeping him safe and my security and his freedom.  That moment I knew that things would change and I would be ok and deal with whatever came my way and support him as best as I could, but also have to stand back a bit more and let him fall.  I let go of parenting my little boy and let in helping this young man step into the world.

#reverb10 Day 4: Wonder

4 12 2010

PROMPT: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Wonder? Wonder?!?

won·der  [wuhn-der]

–verb (used without object)
1.to think or speculate curiously
2.to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel (often fol. by at)
3.to doubt
–verb (used with object)
4.to speculate curiously or be curious about; be curious to know
5.to feel wonder at
6.something strange and surprising; a cause of surprise, astonishment, or admiration
7.the emotion excited by what is strange and surprising; a feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration 

8.miraculous deed or event; remarkable phenomenon
9.for a wonder, as the reverse of what might be expected; surprisingly



1. A way out of reality that is always forgotten or never goes away
2. when someone wish to know something
3.When you stick your finger up your butt hole and smell it. If it doesn’t stink then its a wonder.

(kinda like that last one-ha!)  Well, I don’t know that I HAVE cultivated a sense of wonder this year, in fact, just the opposite.  In the past, I’ve relied on photography to capture my awe and marvel, but even if the camera is remembered AND any photos are taken AND they are even a tiny bit interesting, I haven’t been processing them and have just sort of given up on getting That Shot (you know the one).   I’m not sure, as I write this, if I should or do feel sad about this or not.

I’ve had a very strong sense of wonder this past year when being surprised or curious about why people vote…certain ways…that aren’t in their best interests, but that doesn’t have to be cultivated – at all.

My favorite definition above is “a way out reality that is always forgotten or never goes away” (urban dictionary always gives that special spin).  I’m wondering if there’s a typo in that definition or if it is meant to be so contradictory and sort of deep (in that “just got out of a very relaxing hot bath” sort of way).

So, how have I cultivated a way out reality in 2010?  I haven’t.  I’ve paid bills and been responsible and curbed the travel (exploration) to get out of debt and focused on doing my job well and losing weight and exercising and eating healthy and giving my 17 yr old son the best guidance that I can to turn him out to the world a somewhat decent human being.

Wonder gets swallowed daily with the adderall tablet that helps me put all of those “ands” in that last sentence.

#reverb10 Day 3:Moment

4 12 2010

PROMPT: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

The run was hard: first snowfall, slippery, breathe in the cold, deep, wake up all of the little villi lining the lungs, keep the legs under control, don’t fall, so much white, this 4 miles feels like 6, thank-you body each step.

She gets home with no injuries, but some very tired muscles and a cold nose.  As a chill waves through her body, she turns the faucet all the way to the red then back into a little bit of the blue and pours some cheap hydrangea scented (but chemically created) body wash into the tub. The tubs fills with scalding water as she peels off the sweat soaked cloths that suddenly became very cold against her skin.  The nakedness feels a bit warmer: book, towel, what else? nothing, just get in, stop stalling, feet first, go slow.

She brushes the water with a toe and smiles realizing that it’s not too late to add a bit more cold water, but knows she won’t as both feet plant solidly in the heat and she gasps: I can do this, I can do this, I need to do this.

Arms on either side of the tub, holding tight and controlling movement of her body as her legs had done only minutes before when jogging over ice, she lowers into the water and feels every cell burn when slowly touching the water, each inch below tingling from the heat and each inch above shivering in the cold air.  She can feel it all, is aware of it all, is connected to every muscle controlling and every bit of skin reacting and filling with blood.  As her back is allowed to descend, the distinct line between air and water travel up to her neck: slow down, feel it, feel the hair stand up, feel the pain, the relief, the sharp little spikes, the stings, the calmness of the feet and legs that have had time to acclimate, feel the heat again with every movement, move slow.

As she takes a deep warm breath and slips into the womb of the bathwater, she is very much alive.

#reverb10 Day 2: Writing

2 12 2010

PROMPT: Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

It’s simple: I don’t make writing a priority.  I would much rather spend 2.5 hours in silence with a close friend and absorbing that energy than spend 2.5 hours putting words to paper.  The latter experience seems so flat compared to the former and I would rather have an experience than try to conjure words to describe an experience.  Having said that, I love writing and get a bit of satisfaction when I’ve taken the time to capture a moment in a sentence, but I have no delusions of being a “writer” or making it a profession or having my words preserved for even one generation past my death.  My words and my experiences are both transient, so the emphasis is placed on the experiences and I don’t want to eliminate or change that.

What I do is force my writing into a scheduled structure, so there is no guilt if no words are typed or scribbled outside of that.  My Wednesday night Contemplative Writing Class has kept the words flowing for, how many? 3years? and in return I am treated to some of the most intense, honest, pure, unedited writing from my classmates and friends.  Anything written outside of those prompts and the subsequent 20 minutes of letters cascading on paper is bonus.