On Being Human

My thinking has been hard on myself lately: Looking unsuccessfully for a job, living at my parents, grateful for what I have yet still wishing it could be different. Thinking that I am not good at the practicalities of being human.

In my less compassionate moments I get lost in thinking “I can always do something better, to be better.”

Then, I start noticing how I am human. I eat (sometimes too much), I cry (sometimes too much), I sleep (sometimes too much), I love (sometimes too much), I try (sometimes too much). I laugh and swear when I hit my funny bone, I check my facebook page more than appropriate, I get rejected, I don’t get everything done on my mental to-do list, my plans don’t work out, I keep living, I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night.

Wait a tick…

I am so good at being human. I am SO good at being human.

 

I do my best with what I have and who I am at any given moment.

We all do.

We are SO good at being human. Our existence is enough.

 


 

 

We Always Become

I recently discovered that I am the woman of my dreams; that I am my own outcome. What a relief, for me and everyone else involved, too.

I invite you to tally your day and make a list of how you are the man/woman of your dreams. Just today. Only include the things you did, or thought, or noticed – not the things you didn’t. You can forgive those ‘what ifs’ or those ‘should haves’ to simply being human. I promise you. The day could not have gone any other way than how it did.

So, tally up.

Here is how I was the woman of my dreams today:

 

I saw a movie with my mother. We shared popcorn, and a smile.

I wrote a kick-ass cover letter for a job application – straight from the heart.

I sang loudly in my car.*

I cried inside my open heart.

I took a walk along the river and paused: to watch without expecting to see. I bore witness to ducks chortling, and the sky changing.

The kick-ass cover letter I wrote was lost somewhere in Word, and I messed up the online application so I am locked out from applying for a dream job. I acknowledged that I am doing the best that I can. And that I will continue to, trusting that what comes back is exactly what needs to. Thank you.

I have my 12-gauge shotgun (Amelia), my yoga mat, and a pink hand-knit sweater in the backseat of my car.

In meditation, I felt that I am enough, right now. That despite popular opinion, there is nothing else to achieve, because then there would always be more (which is less).

I heard raw guitar, and saw hair dance, at my first metal show. I danced, and stomped (I’m not sure that is metal-dancing-etiquette), and felt soul. I felt how we are still one.

 

Bow-bom-wow.

 

This moment is the outcome. How full and how perfect –

 

yes, and thank you.

 

 

*(See Gaslight Anthem, 1,000 Years; or really the entire Get Hurt album)

“A Place in the Universe, At a Moment in Time”

Not far from my parents’ house, there is a bench overlooking the river. I have passed by it for a lifetime, taking little notice.

Until, on a whim, I stop and sit. The green willows shudder into a moving painting, there is the sky, a duck laughs loudly at something, somewhere.

I turn around and read the plaque, like one that is on so many benches.

“A Place in the Universe, At a Moment in Time. L and L Read.”

And this is the view. It was maybe a space of pause for a couple during evening walks, or perhaps it was the favorite spot of someone who died, or maybe one day something big happened here, or not.

But – looking at the view – I knew it to be true.

A place in the universe, at a moment in time. That is the only thing that is real. It connects us all, beautifully and effortlessly.

 

A place in the universe

At a moment in time

‘About Today’

Today you were far away.

The evening was warm. Weathermen threatened thunder and storms, but the sky was partly cloudy and let the sun through for the show.

The National was playing at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, in Bend. I gathered with friends to drink wine and beer and whisky, and listen to the voice that melts us.

What could I say.

Honkers flew above the stage. The sun set in pinks and the night slowly poured over.

Tonight you just close your eyes.

The heart broke open, as it often does on a daily basis. The singer hunched over the microphone after swigging from a bottle. A light glinted off his glasses, broken strings of a violin bow swayed in the breeze, strangers moved together: today.

Hey, are you awake

Yeah I’m right here

Well, can I ask you about today?

 

 

(See About Today, The National)

 

Ancient Meditations

I stand outside the Great Pyramid of Giza. The ancient blocks are taller than I, their surfaces perfectly hewn from weather and time, stacked on each other for support. The breeze cools part of the dry heat away, violently blowing hair across our faces.

Someone tells me to enter the pyramid. I do. Inside is ancient darkness, a sacredness, a stifling heat that sucks out the freshness of the world. I walk in darker, deeper, into the core.

There is a holed tomb, or according to the guided meditation today, a fountain in the shape of the Sphinx. I can hear the water drip on the rock, and am told that this is the pool of truth.

I am asked to find a question, a deep question, and pose it to the pool. “How do I grow up with kindness?” is what I ask. Not what is this pain, or is this worry worth worrying about, or am I worthy – all questions that plague me. But no, for some reason I ask “How do I grow up with kindness?” Although, I am 30. I “should be” grown up by now.

But we never stop growing. Just like life – there is no end goal. There is no destination of “grown up.”

The pool told me to give, and to trust.

I am instructed to walk into another chamber, filled with light, and open my eyes to the sand and the camels walking on the horizon.

I sat on a camel, one tattooed and chapped, as someone guides us around the shape of the pyramid. My father sat on one too, and my mother smiled at us.

The Pyramids, and a camel, during a family trip to Egypt in 2008

India?

I am basically writing this blog post just so I can get through to my next activity on this beautiful day: sitting outside and reading.

So, let’s get to it.

 

They say that writing is about showing up. Showing up for your job, and being receptive to whatever may come along. Some days nothing comes and you just write, some days it is a struggle (like today because I just want to go read), but some days something magical happens – you write the world into a new way of seeing, from a force greater than yourself.

But, that is not today. Instead of sitting down and writing this morning as usual, I fantasized about going to India and did some of the dishes and answered not enough emails and took things to the Equality House for a garage sale to support freedom in Uganda.

Now I sit, writing an uncategorized post. And now, I’m going to go outside to read the world into a new way of seeing.

Tallyho, my friends. Tallyho.

Haar

It’s softly dropping mist this evening in Topeka, after a previous night of thunderstorms. The rolling cracks woke me in the early morning just enough to feel a little fear, and beauty, and mumble “it’s thunder baby.” He pulls me closer because he knows I’m afraid.

In Oregon, I love thunderstorms. The heat, the warm rain, the thunder, the lighting that strikes in a high desert sky. Here, I am afraid. I don’t know yet what is a thunderstorm and what is calling for a tornado.

But this evening, it is calm. Like a haar. Living on a medieval coast of Scotland my first year of college, my Scottish friend told me the thick bank of coastal fog was called a haar. We all giggled and wrapped our foreign lips around the noise coming out of our mouths: Haaaaarrrr. Like a pirate.

The Harr was thick and calming. Encompassing and safe. It was soft. Kind of like it is tonight in Topeka.


 

Welcome to Chitty Wok

What a shitty month. Excuse me for a moment as I indulge. In these posts I usually try to find the silver linings, or the freedom exposed in our wounds, or the compassionate reasons why hardships are in our lives.

But, right now, it’s just been a really shitty month.

There has been lots of crying – almost every day now – which just makes me feel worse about myself. I don’t feel strong, I don’t feel worthy, I don’t feel like a good person because I have been making everything so dramatic. I don’t want to be dramatic. I don’t want to hurt other people. I don’t want to be doing this right now.

These feelings just follow, one day after another, since January 1.  I have tried so hard to stop it. I have tried so hard to accept it. I have tried so hard to not try so hard. I haven’t tried at all.

I got sick, I got a tooth pulled, I got into yoga again, I got through the first few weeks at a new job.

I have no reason to feel this way.

It’s cold, it’s bare, it’s brown.

That’s usually a good thing.

Flipping Pages, Again

Well fellow friends and followers – it’s time for another change, and another chapter.

I just turned 30, so the blog’s tag line needs editing, but not too dramatically. Instead of “dangerously close to 30,” it shall become “barely 30”. As time inevitably passes, I would like to start making these changes with grace and integrity instead of with resistance. Clinging and resisting, I think, actually just makes time go faster. Feeling and trusting allows it to slow.

The essence and intention of this blog will endure, so not to worry.

Embarking today for my move to Topeka, Kansas (not via a tornado), I chose to begin another blog to record those adventures that will be happened

upon in Middle America. Check it out or follow the new blog: Kansas Adventuring.

While the Kansas Adventuring blog is a side project, Wonderings and Wanderings will continue to be updated twice a month with posts about geography, humanity, time, connections, and duct taped those small truths.

Even though we are now “barely 30,” we are still wondering and wandering.

Forever, and ever.That’s a promise.

Everything Changes, Everything Stays the Same

Last Thanksgiving Day – after the turkey and the stuffing and the rolls and the mashed potatoes and the damn yams – my family took a walk.

The air was chill, the sky cloudy, and the landscape the same as it had been most of my life. But so much had happened – moving and returning from Maui, going to graduate school, traveling to the Middle East – but the day felt the same as all other Thanksgiving Days.

“Everything changes, and everything stays the same,” I told my mom as we rounded the corner to the house.

“Yup, that’s the secret,” she replied.

It’s a dichotomy – a concept that has been rattling around in my mind the last six months.

You can’t have one without the other – yin and yang, perfect and imperfect, full and empty – but they are actually the same thing.

Here is an old school diagram to illustrate:

It is the same circle. It takes two opposite ideas to make it whole, using resistance and the law of attraction to keep it together.

Let’s look at the example of Hope and Fear. If we go far enough to the extreme edge of fear, it loops around into hope. I fear tornadoes so much, I hope I never see one (or, I hope that I do see one).

Here is another old school diagram:

It is the same circle, but our emotions and degree of opposites change proportionately to keep the circle whole. The change depends on multiple variables – the moment, the day, the feeling, the thought etc.

But, what if instead of the straight line of Hope and Fear moving, it’s the whole circle that actually moves. Meaning the line in the circle remains stationary, but the circle spins around – like it sits on a base of wheels.

Like Bubbles and the shopping cart in Trailer Park Boys (Warning: this link is very uncensored with many bad words – in both Canada and America), and the clip has nothing and everything to do with dichotomies.

All we need is already in us. The circle stays the same, it just spins around depending on our chosen perspective.

Because everything changes, and everything stays the same.