Sunday, December 15, 2013

delinquent adventure


Is anyone still out there? I wouldn't blame you if you'd thought I'd closed up shop. The lights have been out for a while, haven't they? And there was even Thanksgiving break in there - no excuse. This leaf is long gone. We've had ice and snow and we're in the gray days leading up to the solstice. I've been lost in the world of images and collaboration and going to work and coming home and fixing dinner and going to bed. It hasn't been a bad world to be lost in at all, actually. I've gotten back into Joy Harjo - can't stop listening to her Native Joy for Real album. I read her memoir Crazy Brave and it wrecked me. So raw and honest and, let's just admit it, kind of weird in that way that says Kindred Spirit to me. I also got way into the notion of prison hospice, thanks to my dear, amazing sister. If you're looking to explore grace and redemption, here are a couple of videos for you: Opening the Door and Serving Life.

I'm making some changes. I put in a formal request to go to school part-time, which would mean one class per quarter starting in February, which feels right on so many levels. Mostly I want to be able to be more present in the lives of those I love and more present in my own life. I've been studying astrology via tele-class with Debra Silverman - amazing! - and I can see how that Virgo moon takes over and it all becomes about making lists and getting things done and being productive. Very, very seductive. When I get pushed against the wall, which I'm guessing has become something of a self-created cycle for me, this is my response. But when I'm able to get clear on what I'm really here to do, either because I'm pushed so hard that I know I need to find another way, or in those sweet moments of pure relaxation, it isn't about those lists. It's about being present and really appreciating the beautiful life I have, with all of its fierce beauty and highs and lows. It's about enjoying and loving. Really, my friend, what else is there?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

back on the ground adventure

new york fun

Sorry for the quiet over here! After my last post I blasted off to NYC for an amazing long weekend of sister and Pema bliss. Yum, yum! So nourishing! Then I came back and worked like a dog on my final projects for my first quarter of school. I'm hoping to share some of my creative project here, but want to get my grades first so it doesn't set off any potential plagiarism alarm bells. But I had fun and can definitely feel my creativity kicking in. This quarter I have one class on the Power of Image and another on Creative Collaboration. Can't wait until they start on Thursday - such a good early birthday present!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

overwhelm adventure


Feeling completely overwhelmed these days, so some photos from beautiful Pacifica for you!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

moments adventure

Busy on all fronts these days, but good, good, good. For now, all I have time to share are a few magic moments from this past week. Enjoy!

everyday wild

window colors

ground colors

Sunday, September 29, 2013

dancing adventure


This is another busy weekend full of a reception at work yesterday and getting a couple of mid-term papers done, so I thought I'd share one of my recent school assignments with you. We were asked to do some active imagination on a dream to create a 300-word story. This story is an accurate rendering of my dream through the end of the 4th paragraph - the last 2 came out of my imaginative work. I think you'll all be amused that I have a dog in this dream! Enjoy!

“Idiot!” shrieked the ping pong ball-sized spider sitting on my bathroom counter.

My immediate impulse was to try squishing it, but that seemed very messy, plus I’d taken a vow of non-violence and anyway it seemed to have something to tell me. The spider ran past me, down the hall, taunting me along the way.

I caught up with it in the kitchen, where it was sitting on top of my stove. “You’re a stupid fool!” it cried again in a surprisingly menacing, squeaky voice. This was one mean spider.

I managed to catch it in a small glass bowl and saw my golden retriever by my side. “Here,” I offered the dish to him, hoping he’d get me out of this mess and gobble it up. He looked at me like I was crazy and I wondered if maybe he couldn’t see the spider – it was a glowing yellow color – or maybe dogs just don’t like eating bugs.

Normally I practice catch and release with household pests, but they don’t ordinarily talk to me. Not knowing what else to do, I asked the spider if there was anything more it wanted to tell me, besides calling me names. At that point he clammed up, crossing some of his arms, pushing his lips together, and turning his head to the side. Clearly this approach wasn’t going to work, either.

Maybe he’d like something to eat? But what do you feed a spider? I guess they like other bugs, but I couldn’t find any around. So out of desperation I thought maybe I’d just put on some music. There was a reggae album by the stereo from the night before, which I put it in the CD player and the spider climbed up on my shoulder and we started to dance.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

student adventure

fall sky
[I wasn't supposed to be in this, obviously, but for some reason it's my favorite one of the batch - go figure!]

So I am completely loving being a student again! One of the biggest things is that I love the structure it's helping provide for me. There's rarely a question of what I should be doing these days. If I'm not working or taking care of us and our home, I should probably be reading or writing, or maybe making something although not a lot of time for that. But I did find one more little corner of time for more learning this past week. A friend had recommended a Coursera class on Modern Poetry and even though I knew time would be tight this fall I still signed up - it just seemed too irresistible. The first week came and went and I didn't even log into the class, but then this past week when doing my morning Nordic Tracking I ran out of Eckart Tolle videos to watch in my monthly subscription and I remembered ModPo (as it is affectionately called). So I pulled up the class on my phone, started watching the intro video, and I'm hooked. Every morning I get to immerse myself in wonderful videos of classroom discussions of close readings of poems, starting with Dickinson and Whitman. Yum yum!!! The setting reminds me so much of the seminar room in the English house at Trinity - taking me back to an ideal version of what education can be. So the last piece of the education puzzle is now in place. I have my amazing depth psychology/creativity curriculum with some incredible poetry thrown in, a vibrant online cohort that I'm really clicking with, and now a window into a classroom filled with a super engaged professor and his teaching assistants. As Joe Z. put it: "I'm in hog heaven!"

I'm reading the July issue of The Sun these days and am blown away back the late Jack Gilbert's poetry. Thought I'd share part of his "A Brief For The Defense" here. Enjoy!

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

busy adventure

glad you're here

This was such a busy week that I'm just going to post this photo from a fun dinner a couple of weeks ago and look forward to a real update next weekend. Have a great week!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

balance adventure

happy yoga
Things really seem to be falling into place these days. I'm grooving on the fun balance between the reading, learning, and writing I get to do for school and the amazing body practice of Kundalini yoga. I love them both and feel so lucky that they're in my life right now. I was encouraged to explore Kundalini yoga by Debra Silverman in my amazing reading and she was so right on about everything else about me I knew I needed to at least give it a try. There's a really sweet studio in Nashville with the loveliest instructors, but it's hard fitting a class like that into my life right now. So it's been an amazing development to explore classes on DVD and online - wow! It's the best feeling to come home from work, change clothes, and work out the craziness that's been trapped in my body during the day. On the weekend I love starting my day with a class and I know I bring the benefits to all the mental/spiritual work of school. So grateful.

I've even started writing and putting visuals together for a creative project. This one may be just for me - we'll see. But it definitely feels like the next thing that needs to come out and given how dry the well has been, it's exciting to be bringing up a pail of water, however that first bucket will be used...

Saturday, August 31, 2013

help adventure

I'm interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to make a plea for something that, as you know, is so close to my heart. My favorite street newspaper needs our help.

Please consider helping these folks out. They're some really dear friends of mine. Thank you.

[School is going well. I'm still getting my sea legs, but between my Pacifica classes and my kundalini yoga practice, it feels like something new and exciting is around the corner... More next week!]

Saturday, August 24, 2013

underway adventure


So as I was initially exploring Pacifica I would describe my inner state and need for growth as being like a little boat that has gone aground in a lagoon or inlet and now there's algae all around and no fresh water. It is no coincidence that on Thursday, when classes officially started, I felt like I'd boarded a schooner with my satchel of books and fellow passengers and we'd left port and were underway. I could practically feel the sea breeze on my face. Hooray! It does seem like a good sign that my first classes focus on "The Expressive Power of Archetypes" and "C.G. Jung, Individuation, and the Symbolic Life," since I seem full of analogies and images these days.

I've been spending some good time with Jung and here are a couple of favorite quotations so far:

"There is, however, a strong empirical reason why we should cultivate thoughts that can never be proved. It is that they are known to be useful. Man positively needs general ideas and convictions that will give a meaning to his life and enable him to find a place for himself in the universe. He can stand the most incredible hardships when he is convinced that they make sense; he is crushed when, on top of all his misfortunes, he has to admit that he is taking part in 'a tale told by an idiot.'" (Man and His Symbols, p. 76)

"That gives peace, when people feel that they are living the symbolic life, that they are actors in the divine drama. That gives the only meaning to human life; everything else is banal and you can dismiss it. A career, producing of children, are all maya compared with that one thing, that your life is meaningful." ("The Symbolic Life" in Collected Works, Vol. 18, p. 275)

Yep, this is going to be good stuff!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

video adventure

This week I have a few videos for you. The first is a book trailer for an AMAZING book I read for one of my classes that I start this week. Wow! I can't recommend it highly enough. Check out the trailer:

Also, the video of the awesome Anne Lamott/Ann Patchett event from this past spring was posted. Definitely worth watching the whole talk if you have time. If you don't have time for the whole thing, try the first five minutes...

And last, but definitely not least, Rodg has been making incredible Vinyl Community videos! If you thought his writing was fun, you've got to see these:

Stay tuned for a school update next weekend!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

green heart adventure

45 in its natural habitat

45. The Heart Has No Limits


When you are guided to this pathway,
take the opportunity to touch the part of your deepest being that has a
limitless capacity to hold and embrace whatever comes into its orbit.

~from The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish by Neil Douglas-Klotz

A really special part of Joe's Sufi day last weekend was getting to choose a number and hear the corresponding Sufi pathway of the heart. Yum! And I chose the number that I'll turn this year - 45. Isn't it beautiful - "The Heart Has No Limits"! And here are more words of wisdom on this pathway:

"When we consider the idea of simply being, we may have the impression that this means being passive. We don't know how to do without doing, or how to speak without speaking. Most of the Sufi path aims to expand our 'heart-sense,' a capacity that we often use without thinking about it."

"Perhaps life is asking you to stretch to include aspects of inner being that you have not encountered previously - even your own doubts - or to simply hold another being in the light of the One. We do not need to do anything for them, but rather need to be there as a presence, reminding them of the divine embrace."

"With this name, you have the opportunity to cultivate the sort of spacious capacity that can hold all because it knows that ultimately it holds nothing."

Is it a coincidence that I can't stop seeing green, the color of the heart chakra, everywhere I look? Here are a couple of pairings that have delighted me recently. Yes, there is even beauty in the dumpster and the weed. It is everywhere, my friend, especially in your heart.

green friends

more green friends

Sunday, August 4, 2013

torn open adventure

lion rose

You that come to birth and bring the mysteries,
your voice-thunder makes us very happy.
Roar, lion of the heart,
and tear me open.

~Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)

I had a great day yesterday, Sitting with the Sufis with dear Joe Z. We listened to a lot of poetry by Rumi and some by Hafiz, but this was the poem that most spoke to me. There are days that I feel like I'm being torn open against my will and days where it feels like the best form of liberation.

Rollo May touches on some of this in his Courage to Create that I quoted from last week. There's a whole section about the anxiety of creating that really rang true for me and interestingly mirrors the theme of tearing open in the reference to Prometheus whose punishment for giving fire to mankind was to have an eagle (the symbol of Zeus) feast upon his liver (considered then to be the seat of emotions rather than the heart) each day only to grow back to be eaten again the next:

"The experience of encounter also brings with it anxiety. I need not remind you, after our discussion of Giacometti's experience, of the 'fear and trembling' of artists and creative people in their moments of creative encounter. The myth of Prometheus is the classical expression of this anxiety. W.H. Auden once remarked that he always experiences anxiety when he writes poetry except when he is 'playing.' Playing may be defined as an encounter in which anxiety is temporarily bracketed. But in mature creativity, anxiety must be confronted if the artist (and the rest of us who benefit from his work later on) is to experience the joy in creative work."

"Creative people, as I see them, are distinguished by the fact that they can live with anxiety, even though a high price may be paid in terms of insecurity, sensitivity, and defenselessness for the gift of the 'divine madness,' to borrow the term used by the classical Greeks. They do not run away from non-being, but by encountering and wrestling with it, force it to produce being. They knock on silence for an answering music; they pursue meaninglessness until they can force it to mean."

I've often pondered the shift from my obsession with Finnegans Wake to Buddhism in 2004. They seem interlinked. I will admit that I'm no stranger to creative anxiety and I wonder if my creative exploration of the Wake has been on pause, because it does feel like a pause to me, albeit a long one, in order for me to learn the tools to help me ride the waves of anxiety so I can better enjoy the whole process. To hear the roar of the lion and feel "very happy." I feel like the meditation practice and its encouragement to stay with whatever is happening is what I've needed.

Before you get your hopes up, dear friends, I don't see the project continuing in pop-up book form. That obsession seems to have run its course, but I do have some other ideas that may also delight you?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

gathering adventure

alight aloft

Well, this wasn't exactly a slow week, especially at work, but the good news is that I'm making great progress through The Sun (the real benefit of this is how it consistently opens my heart), journaled 4 out of 5 mornings, didn't work through lunch once, got to meditation group on Wednesday (looking forward to yoga this week), and I think we ate everything (or at least a portion of each thing) in our Bugtussle basket!

I ordered all my books (used) for school last weekend and it's been fun going through the mail each evening to see what's arrived. Most of it! One of my classes is on archetypes and the other is on symbols, so the bulk of the books are by Jung. I've made space for them on one of my bookcases, which has involved finding a good home for some other books. I'm thoroughly enjoying this gathering phase and reading a book that was on the suggested reading list: The Courage to Create by Rollo May, first published in 1975. I was drawn in right from the preface (and was delighted to see that it had been written in the land of Squam Art Workshops: Holderness, NH). Here are some quotations (his italics) that have really resonated with me:

"Suppose the apprehension of beauty is itself a way to truth? Suppose that 'elegance' - as the word is used by physicists to describe their discoveries - is a key to ultimate reality? Suppose Joyce is right that the artist creates 'the uncreated conscience of the race'?" p. 7

"We shall often be faced with despair, as indeed every sensitive person has been during the last several decades in this country. Hence Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and Camus and Sartre have proclaimed that courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair." p. 12

"I propose a new form of courage of the body: the use of the body not for the development of musclemen, but for the cultivation of sensitivity. This will mean the development of the capacity to listen with the body." p. 15

"It is a seeming contradiction that we must be fully committed, but we must also be aware at the same time that we might possibly be wrong." p. 20

"Then we know the meaning of the statement attributed to Leibnitz: 'I would walk twenty miles to listen to my worst enemy if I could learn something.'" p. 21

"Some new vision is triggered in us by our contact with the painting; something unique is born in us. This is why appreciation of the music or painting or other works of the creative person is also a creative act on our part." p. 22

"When I use the word rebel for the artist, I do not refer to revolutionary or to such things as taking over the dean's office; that is a different matter. Artists are generally soft-spoken persons who are concerned with their inner visions and images. But that is precisely what makes them feared by any coercive society. For they are the bearers of the human being's age-old capacity to be insurgent. They love to immerse themselves in chaos in order to put it into form, just as God created form out of chaos in Genesis. Forever unsatisfied with the mundane, the apathetic, the conventional, they always push on to newer worlds." p. 32

"'Creativity,' to rephrase our definition, 'is the encounter of the intensely conscious human being with his or her world.'" p. 54

As you can see, there's something amazing on pretty much every page! And it's been such a friendly feeling to find my good buddy James Joyce mentioned so often. I must admit, I'm feeling pulled back to the Wake. Even my title for the photo above ("alight aloft"), which felt like a reference to something, I realized echos the last mysterious fragment line of the book:

A way a lone a last a loved a long the

Saturday, July 20, 2013

slowing down adventure

iowa book

I had the incredibly good fortune to spend last weekend in Iowa with my dear and delightful sister-in-law at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival! We took Keeping a Spiritual Journal together and, appropriately, it was a weekend filled with simplicity and ease. The travel was pleasant, the company was excellent, delicious meals fell into place with seemingly no effort, the hotel was just what we needed - complete with treadmills for fire-y me, and the workshop was very sweet with lovely participants and an encouraging instructor. And as often happens when I step out of my day-to-day life, I was once again overwhelmed with the message to Slow Down.

Slow Down was the message of both trips to Squam and every retreat I've attended, so I wasn't too surprised when it started showing up on the pages of my journal over the weekend. I'm all about the synchronicity, so on Saturday night I was happy to run across a whole section of the instructor's class packet titled "Slowing Down" from an Eknath Easwaran book. Here's some inspiration in case this is a subject that resonates with you:

"People say that modern life has grown so complicated, so busy, so crowded that we have to hurry even to survive. We need not accept that idea. It is quite possible to live in the midst of a highly developed technological society and keep an easy, relaxed pace while doing a lot of hard work. We have a choice. We are not mere victims of our environment, and we don't have to go fast just because everybody else does and urges us to do it too."

Then I opened a book I'd purchased that afternoon, titled Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative. These days I'm a sucker for anything with the word Creative in it - I wonder why! Anyway, imagine my delight when I ran across this: "Take time to be bored. One time I heard a coworker say, 'When I get busy, I get stupid.' Ain't that the truth. Creative people need time to just sit around and do nothing."

A big part of slowing down for me is simplifying. The amazing thing to me is how full I pack my life with things that are just there, but I don't love or enjoy. So here are a few things I'm considering and in some cases have already started doing to help me fill my life with all the beautiful and inspiring things that I seem to never have time for or that I've been having problems fitting well into my regularly-scheduled life:

1. I've moved all the unread back issues of The Sun into the bathroom for brief moments of captive audience inspiration - I've already finished one issue and am making great progress in another. I know! You didn't expect me to start my list with bathroom reading, did you? Keeping it real.
2. I've started journaling in the first ten minutes when I arrive at work and I'm not yet on the clock. This is a great way to ease into the day at a slower, steady pace.
3. I'm making sure I take a real lunch break, so I can fill my emotional well as well as my stomach. I've got a stack of fun things to look at if I'm eating alone and sitting in the courtyard is an all-senses treat. I'm also blessed with wonderful friends and appreciate a visit with them.
4. I think I'm going to start alternating yoga class and meditation group instead of trying to do both each week, which is a strain on my evening time at home and my budget as a soon-to-be graduate student (mainly because I like to get take-out after the meditation group). Both are offered on Wednesday nights and I think alternating between the two mid-week will be delightful.
5. Trying to include something from our farm CSA in our dinner each evening. Today I made a marinade for the swordfish with the cilantro, which I normally forget to use, and will cook up some green beans and rainbow carrots. Yum!

So you can see that I'm just trying to more easily incorporate things I love, but which often get pushed to the side, in a more intentional way into my everyday world. I'll keep you posted on how it goes...

university ginkos

Sunday, July 7, 2013

creative expression inspiration adventure

beautiful chard

I'm getting really excited to start the Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life program next month! It's definitely making me more mindful about what inspires me creatively. Here are a few things that I want to be sure to keep in mind as inspiration once the program begins and thought I'd share them here, too:

- Pina Bausch. My dear brother gave me the gorgeous Criterion Collection set of the Wim Wenders documentary and it knocked me out. Turns out Bausch had choreographed the dance sequences in the Almodovar movie Talk to Her that had blown me away years ago. Wow.

- Velo Theatre. I had the incredible good fortune to see this amazing French object theater troupe perform "And Then He Ate Me" at the puppet festival a couple of weekends ago. Again, wow. I was stunned into silence after the performance, which took place in an enormous tent that had been installed in the library's Grand Reading Room, totally and completely transforming the space into a place of magic. I love how the piece blends the exploration of archetypes and myth with theater. Simply amazing.

- Nox. I'm just now dipping my toe into this book that a dear friend loaned to me way too long ago. As fate would have it, I think I'm dipping in at just the right time... Images here.

- The Healing Spirit of Haiku. Dr. Rowland recommended this book in my phone interview for the program. It's organized almost as a conversation between two poets, one of whom, Joel Weishaus, is a poet in residence at Pacifica. I find it very delightful and inspiring, in part because of the beautiful illustrations by Arthur Okamura, in part because of the book's balance of structure and freedom, and in part because of the deep, simply expressed spirituality.

- Wayne White. We finally watched Beauty is Embarrassing last night - it's streaming these days on Netflix, which made it very easy for us and I'm hoping easy for you. I love so much about this guy and his work - the struggle between the light and dark really came through for me last night. Plus, I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for the F-word.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

contentment adventure


I went to see Before Midnight yesterday and while I'm sure there are as many interpretations of the movie as there are viewers (which is what I love about this trilogy) I was so struck by how unhappy the character Celine is. We've been listening for the feeling tone of conversation in my awesome MBSR class and for me there was no missing how lost Celine is. How much she's lost herself and her happiness. I knew the look on her face because I've seen it in the mirror, thankfully not for many years. But I intimately know the anger that comes from feeling like a trapped animal, fighting for its life and not knowing what that life is. I send a heart-felt prayer to everyone who finds themselves in that difficult place.

It's a place Michael Gates Gill knew intimately, too. The son of long-time New Yorker writer, Brendan Gill, graduate of Yale University and a creative director at a top advertising firm, Mike Gill was in his fifties when his life fell apart. He lost his job, his marriage ended after he had an affair and he got the woman pregnant, and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Not knowing where to turn, he found himself accepting a job as a barista at Starbucks when he visited a store that happened to be having a job fair. His daughter recommended he keep a journal during this challenging time, which became the book How Starbucks Saved My Life. I just finished his follow-up book, How to Save Your Own Life, this week and the message of service, contentment, and simple enjoyment of life resonated really deeply with me. I'm so grateful to be in a place in my life where that is my story.

And I know this would make Julie Delpy roll her eyes, but I wish I could give Celine a copy...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

summer adventure

puppet festival

How time flies! On some level I can hardly believe July is almost here, and yet I am definitely feeling the internal shift from the burst of energy I always have at the beginning of the year to the ripeness of summer. I'm starting to want to prune back some of my plans and activities, to slow down and savor. As I've gotten more and more tuned in to how my body feels I am definitely feeling like less is more, plus I recently had an amazing reading with a wonderful astrologer, Debra Silverman, and am feeling more at home in my skin than I have maybe ever. Here's what I'm loving these days:

-my awesome kundalini yoga class
-the MBSR series that is coming close to wrapping up
-feeling present in my body thanks to Eckhart Tolle and Judith Blackstone
-delicious farm veggies and cheese thanks to Bugtussle and Little Seed farms
-fireflies, toads, and tree frogs
-Miles Davis thanks to my sweetie, who is the best personal DJ
-looking, listening, and losing myself inside this soft world


post rain

Sunday, June 16, 2013

fulfillment adventure

anniversary dinner

Sorry if I left you hanging back there! So much has happened and it's been busy again. The wonderful news on the school front is that I got in! I start classes on August 22 and I can't wait! The wonderful news on the love front is that Rodg and I celebrated our anniversary and our nephew got married all within a few days of each other. We went to Kansas for the wedding and it was so lovely to see dear family members. Rodg did a much better job at capturing all of it, so feel free to check out his photos here. Me, I was spacing out on weird little details, like I love to do.

color and light

While we were away I also had a chance to catch up on a little Netflix viewing and I highly recommend a couple of documentaries: Crazy Wisdom and With One Voice. Just the right thing at the right time. Also, this past week was Day 100 of my subscription to Jessica Swift's amazing 100 Days of Color. If you're looking to have some inspiration and beauty show up in your in-box every morning, you need to check this out.

I hope you all have a beautiful week!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

home adventure


It's been so great to have some good time at home, even if it's also involved being at work a lot. Still, I was able to finally watch Searching for Sugar Man and of course totally loved it! Went right over to Amazon, bought the soundtrack, downloaded it to my iPod and have been grooving to it ever since. What a remarkable story and such dear souls!

The other big news of the week is that I got an interview for Pacifica! I found out just hours after visiting Cheekwood and seeing the totem animal of transformation - sister Snake. I'll continue to keep you posted...


Monday, May 27, 2013

inspiration adventure


Hooray for three-day weekends! This way I was able to work on Saturday and other than a meeting Sunday afternoon, actually get something of a real weekend. And I could use one! This spring has been go, go, go! When we haven't been on the road I've been madly working on my writing sample. Happily, things seem to have turned a corner. We have a couple of weeks with no trips and I got the paper in to Pacifica this week, so now I wait. I wish I could say I was good at waiting, but I guess I do prefer it to some of the writing process. I was very grateful to have my application completely submitted on Tuesday, because not 5 minutes after giving my amazing admissions counselor the go-ahead to submit it, I got a kind message from the director of admissions encouraging me to get everything in because there are only a couple of spots left for the fall cohort. I received a lovely letter in the mail from one of the department co-chairs at the end of the week that had been mailed that same day, saying essentially the same thing and describing the program in such a delicious way that pretty much every cell in my body knows what I hope I'm doing in late August this year. Any fingers you'd like to cross on my behalf would be most welcome! I hope to hear this week if I make the cut for a phone interview. I'll keep you posted...

In the meanwhile, let me catch you up! Last weekend I was in Louisville and since it ended up that I was by myself, in a huge suite overlooking the Ohio River mind you, that's a big part of how the paper got finished. But that's not why I was there! As you can see from the photo above, I was in town to see the Dalai Lama - my first time. I attended both the public talk on Sunday and the Buddhist teaching on Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment on Monday - well the first part and then I admit that I did hightail it back to Nashville, which given the powerhouse that this past week ended up being was really good fortune. As you can see from the photo I had a very good seat on Monday, but this picture was taken just as things were starting and I wish I'd moved the camera just a bit to the right so you could see more than just a bit of his translator Thupten Jinpa's head there on the far right, because their sweet relationship knocked me out.

That really was probably the teaching I was meant to get from the experience. While I'd been impressed by their relationship at the public talk, it was pretty much what I'd seen in videos of events with the Dalai Lama, where they sit side-by-side. However, at the Buddhist teaching the Dalai Lama was on a traditional throne, as you can see, and Thupten Jinpa was down by the front of the stage. Because of where I was sitting I had a good view of the side of his face and loved watching as he nodded agreement and encouragement and was right there with a word when needed. He embodied calm, total attentiveness and devotion. I walked away wanting to BE Thupten Jinpa. Once the teachings on the text began, after an interesting and rather lenghty introduction, the Dalai Lama just spoke in Tibetan, which I loved! So Thupten Jinpa gave very long explanations and translations. And when the Dalai Lama interrupted him and took over in English himself, no problem. He just listened closely to hear when he was needed next.

I got two messages from this experience. One was seeing the Dalai Lama happily accepting help - something my perfectionistic self has real trouble with. And this is the DALAI LAMA! If he doesn't require himself to be able to be all things, then why in the world should I? Why not allow myself to really be part of this beautifully interrelated community? And I would love to have the same alert, relaxed attention to my life and those around me as Thupten Jinpa. And again, the humility, the ability to offer and step back. To stop the incessant pushing. Powerful stuff.

friends on banners

It was sweet to see how proud Louisville is of its connection to Thomas Merton, who would come into town from Gethsemane. He had his Fourth and Walnut epiphany just blocks from where the Dalai Lama spoke:

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness… This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud… I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

Yes, absolutely! Just like the sun.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

continuing adventure

my sweet patron of the arts

Since I last checked in with you here, we went to see Opeth again in Lexington, which was tons of fun. And because it was a Wednesday night, instead of a Saturday night, it was something of a mellower scene and I once again found a place to perch, so easy peasy for Lizzy. And I'm glad I conserved my energy because two days after that we had Stephan Crump and Mary Halvorson down from New York to perform at Zeitgeist Gallery's Indeterminacies series. Wow! What an awesome evening. And just to gild the lily, we went out that next night to hear Lambchop and the Matthew Shipp Trio, which was pretty transcendent music in a pretty remarkable dive.

pushing it over the edge

Now I've had a week to rest up and am hitting the road this afternoon to go see the Dalai Lama! How often does one get to say that? Please check in next week for a full report...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

opeth adventure

Me & Opeth 2013-05-04

Just back from an amazing trip to Athens, GA to see Rodg's most favorite metal band, Opeth! And the icing on the cake is that he bought us VIP tickets, so we got to meet the band. It was pretty awesome! I watched the show from the perfect perch up in the balcony at the Georgia Theatre, while Rodg relived his twenties just feet from the stage.

Rodg & Opeth 2013-05-04
(Yep, you might recognize the CD Mikael Akerfeldt is holding...)

To break up the drive there we went to Chattanooga on Friday and had the most delicious dinner at St. John's Meeting Place! I can't recommend it highly enough, especially the Vegan Goods!

vegan goods at st johns meeting place
(Which is NOT what Rodg is having:) )

By this time next week we will have seen Opeth again, have helped host Mary Halvorson and Stephan Crump who perform at Indeterminacies at Zeitgeist Gallery, and (fingers crossed) seen Matthew Shipp at the local VFW. And just wait until you see what's planned for the next weekend! Truly my cup is currently as full as the crates at Wuxtry Records... But it is equally as all-good!

wuxtry crates

Sunday, April 28, 2013

full adventure

butterworth iris

Sorry about the short posts lately. I'd already packed my spring pretty full, what with this being a 5 year for me and all. Then I added applying to graduate school, which involves writing a 5-10 page paper on top of the personal statement, etc. and I'm going all out! My big lesson in all of this is to try to be in the moment as much as possible and enjoy the process...and not to miss out on all the beauty around me!

dusk dogwood

Sunday, April 21, 2013

friends adventure

susan and bev

Thank goodness for dear friends. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such dear, beautiful, true souls.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

(re)treat adventure

on the road

Just back from a wonderful retreat with Joe Z. at Loose Leaf Hollow and feeling so grateful to everyone, everyone who made it possible. The waves of gratitude are vast.

the road

early morning sun

me and joe



Joe turned me on to the interview with Philip Shepherd in the most recent Sun Magazine: "Out of our Heads." It turns out Shepherd is working on a new book and could use your help. If you're called to help, it is good work:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

blossoming adventure

cherry blossoms

On a journey,
Resting beneath the cherry blossoms,
I feel myself to be in a Noh play.
~Matsuo Basho

Sunday, March 31, 2013

possibilities adventure


I'm just back from a wonderful visit with my dear father and uncle in Northern California. There's something so special about getting one-on-one time with people who have known and loved you your whole life. And the coast with its spectacular ocean and powerful redwoods was the perfect setting.

The timing for the trip was just right, too. Things seem to be converging these days to help shake me out of a stuck place I've found myself in. I'm starting to see some exciting possibilities and it feels great to think that I, much like the earth around me, am coming back to life.

weathered old friend