Gratitude for Silence, Work, Life, Rhythms and Reading

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It’s Tuesday sitting in a house devoid of human voices. There’s only the sound of ticking clocks in various room and humming appliances in the kitchen. I hear my coffee maker. A single drip of coffee and then silence again. I hear the sound of chirping birds and a passing airplane coming from the outside. It’s the first time I’ve heard these sounds in days even though I’ve been sitting here at this computer typing away at my ambitions all of this time for what seems like days.

Yesterday, I told a friend of mine about one of my latest ambitions. He said, “I’m sorry to say it’s not going to work out.”

I was shocked to hear the words come from the mouth of a friend rather than a parent. To me, it’s a parent’s “job” to be discouraging of ambition because they want you to be safe, but I see no place for a friend to do this. Friends are your peers and they cheer you on. Yes, both generalizations, I know. So, as I do when things bother me, I began to read the research to satisfy my curiosity. How was it that this friend was so lucky as to have a more limited ambitious nature than I do? To be still and content and the same age as me?

This Time article theorizes that perhaps ambition is a genetic trait. It also theorizes that ambition is cultural and driven by anxiety. It provides the example of students in the US with competitive behaviors; and thus, more ambitious than non-competing students in Papua New Guinea where it is necessary to work as a team on the farm. It goes on to generalize that many people living in lower socioeconomic status feel hopeless whereas the wealthy are living in luxury, so it is generally the middle class citizens whom tend to be ambitious because they work to earn more and keep from losing their status.

My conclusion? Here is a house of silent rhythms. Everyone is off to work. Ambition or no ambition, life is still work, but only a few have the privilege to be able to hear (or feel…as some people are deaf) the silent rhythms… The occasional drip from the faucet of the kitchen sink… The passing vehicles on the road outside. Even one’s own breath. The pigeon nesting in the northern tree… The raven’s call from the southwestern rooftop. Whatever valley or mountain we stand on, work and sleep on… Life is passing. Energy comes and goes. Enjoy it as you are. Let it lift the corners of your mouth. Let it moisten your eyes and expand your ribs as your ribs rise and fall with the rhythm.

I hope you will take the time each day to feel and be grateful for little things even if you have a long list of to-do’s. If you’re even more fortunate, I hope you find the time to get some reading done and recommend some books to me. One of the latest books I’ve enjoyed is:

04cc3eca8b2a9c2831ff755129df0124fdf93b17  Reading about happiness and the happiest place on earth makes one feel their happiness! I highly recommend the audio version if you want to hear the charming way all of the Danish words are pronounced, but the print version has a lot of interesting infographics on random things like how many fireplaces Danish homes have in comparison to the UK and how many times in Denmark has been voted “happiest country”.

I could go on with listing excellent books, but the time has come for me to attend to tasks on the outside of the house. I must remember to stop and feel the energy and listen to it today because I am grateful for those moments of silence and wish you many such moments!

 

 

 

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On Time

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Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.

M. Scott Peck

I first heard it would be Qingming Jie (清明节) this week  through various online pen pals in Taiwan. I was grateful to be reminded of the upcoming holiday because holidays are a great “excuse” to connect with family. Yesterday, April 5th, 2019, I spent the entire day with my father. We met up with his siblings (my uncles and aunts) at Memory Slope in the Forest Lawn Cemetery where my grandparents are buried. I looked around at the almost endless hills of gravestones. Most of them had no flowers or any sign that anyone had come to visit for many years. Seeing this, I understood why the Chinese have the tradition to visit their ancestors once a year on this day. I saw the names of the eternal neighbors of my grandparents. A woman named Daisy Abbas was buried on their right and a man named John Murray was buried on their left. Neither of them had been visited in a long time. It appeared that Mr. Murray had no children. His marker proclaimed he was a beloved uncle. Ms. Abbas had children, but there was no sign of them any where. We needed help with picking up a flower mount that was stuck in the mud where my grandfather is buried because we wanted to place flowers in it and after what seemed like an eternity of trying to pull it up, my aunt asked a maintenance worker nearby for some help. The maintenance worker, a Latino man with hair white from age, had a long tool designed to extract flower mounts from mud and completed the task very quickly. He then got a bottle of oil which he used to shine the gravestones of my grandparents. As he polished their gravestones, my family pulled out cash from their wallets to tip the man and joked in Chinese that we should ask him why he didn’t also polish the gravestones of the neighbors, Mr. Murray and Ms. Abbas.

Do you seize opportunities to spend time with people you care about but don’t see often? Or do you work through the holidays, weddings, birthdays, funerals and other occasions? The gravestones neglected by the families who paid so much to have them engraved and placed over the graves of their departed remind me of all of the elderly people whom never or rarely have visitors. Some of them live in homes we call: nursing homes, hospice, convalescence, retirement community…. Some of them live alone while others live with their family but may or may not be appreciated or “seen.” I hope you find the time to visit your loved ones when they are alive because we never know which day is our last. I saw so many gravestones yesterday. Each person died at a different age.

Did you know that the most common day of the week to commit suicide is Monday and the most common day and time of the week to die from a car crash or heart attack is on Monday at 9AM? I attended a speech contest last Saturday and the first place winner asked the audience why people die on the way to jobs they hate when the most common deathbed regret is to have worked so hard and noted that people don’t die on vacation or  while doing things they love nearly as often in his speech entitled Follow Your Yellow Brick Road. 

On February 14, 2017, my mother found out she had breast cancer. The time I took off from work to spend with her during her treatments were some of the best times I had with her because it is rare that I see her set aside her work. She’s now completed her treatments and working harder than ever and never takes a day off. Gone are the days when we would spend time just me and her enjoying a garden, walking the piers or breathing  in on a mountain hike. Am I really saying I liked it when my mother was sick because I got to spend time with her? Does that seem selfish?

That same month my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I left my last teaching job. I wish I had really taken in every moment on the job and cherished it instead of stressing out over mindless tasks because I really loved that job and never thought I would be away from teaching for so long. I’ve been toying with the idea of returning to teaching lately, but I know it will never be same. I finally had a boss who treated me so kindly from 2015 to 2016. Then, he left and was replaced by a woman who as of November, is in jail for the murder of a young woman. I was telling a friend of mine, another teacher, about this recent development: this principal incarcerated for drinking and driving. My former coworkers tell me she had been coming to work under the influence. They tell me how lucky I am to have left. I can’t help but notice that most of them are still working there even as they tell me this as if to live vicariously through me.  If people had reported her behavior, would her family and the family of the woman who was killed in the car accident have been spared of pain? “That explains a lot,” I say to my friend about my boss coming to work under the influence, though I wasn’t sure if it really explained anything. “It’s the norm,” he replies as he appropriates his usual advice to me to avoid “rocking the boat” …. to not say anything if I see anything inappropriate at any new jobs I obtain. Everything in my heart screams at me not to listen to him, though I know what he’s saying is somewhat true and it’s how people keep their jobs. If that’s “the norm” and playing the politics and working in the system means I have to give up my ethics, maybe I don’t want to work for anyone else any more.

I’m at a cross road. I’ve been interviewing for upcoming teaching positions because I want to go back and pay off my student loans quickly. I think I am a terrible liar and interviewees can see right through me. My best friend, my work out buddy and my boyfriend all ascribe to the “follow your passion” school of thought and think I should just work on my projects instead of returning to teaching. I wonder if I aligned my life with these three people with this philosophy consciously or subconsciously. My parents think the idea is foolish and that I need to “grow up” and go back to teaching full time.

One of the letters of recommendation I am currently using in my job hunt states, “I can safely say Ms. *&^% is one of the most dedicated teachers I’ve ever met. I can’t count how many times I’ve stayed late after school working, went to the staff lounge around 5’o clock to make copies, and ran into Ms. *&^% there doing the same thing. ” The letter goes on to describe various projects I worked on. Even though it was very kind of my colleague to write such a descriptive letter to support me, part of me doesn’t want anyone to know I did these things because I don’t want that to be me any more. I don’t want to stay at work all day and night. I used to think that if I won the super lotto that I never play, I’d stay in teaching but lately, I don’t feel this way at all.

If I had resources-time and money in the world, what would I do? What would you do???? Have you ever let yourself fantasize? I have read that even wealthy people do not think they are enough or that they have enough. Few people believe they have enough to just start enjoying life. People want to make enough to feel secure. We’re seeking security externally. Shouldn’t that feeling of equanimity come from within?

Currently, my plan is to work and pay off loans before or while I build at least one social enterprise. I  have a deep desire to create and to solve problems. However, in the many friends whom I’ve come to know who are already in the position to make money by taking care of others while self-employed, I see that even when we have creativity and autonomy, we don’t always take care of ourselves or appreciate spending time with our loved ones. In fact, one of the main women who inspired and encouraged my current journey into social enterprise gave up her incredible non-profit housing and serving transitional foster youth because it was too much stress.

When I look at the lifestyles of the wonderful people who share my dream, I know the truth. Society is obsessed with money, even when it’s people who want to make money to take care of others. The motivation is different, but the end result is still the same. We aren’t taking care of ourselves. From childhood to adulthood, we’re taught to pursue money, whether it be for stability or for passion. We’re taught to study hard in school and then go to work. I think it’s all wrong. The first thing we learn shouldn’t be academics and then jump into work. I think the foundation is actually basic self-care: cooking, learning, eating healthy, exercise and meditation.

If I won the lotto, I’d become more familiar with self-care techniques for my own use and to teach others. Or, so I would like to think… But the truth is, my heroes are less people like this and are more people like this.  Somehow, I will merge these differing parts of me and still pay the bills.

Packing Day

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Today is packing day. It was supposed to be yesterday, but I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. I started my day off with yoga. And then I did some laundry: two large loads. Yes, packing isn’t the only thing I procrastinate on. Laundry is as well.

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I also spent quite a lot of time yesterday looking up sleep treatments for people with mental illness. I can not tell you the number of students I’ve had over the years as well as people in my personal life whom have sleep issues which are clearly linked to other diagnoses, yet I never see medical professionals addressing this problem. I would think that treating the sleep issues would resolve a lot of other symptoms. I read a lot of research articles when I am  stressed. The Known/ Science makes me feel better. It’s a habit I have had for many years. When I went through divorce in 2008 (Wow! Was that a whole decade ago?!), I would ditch my university classes to read what science thought the meaning of love was at the library. I sent the articles on sleep out to people who would find them relative to their lives and was rewarded with praise and adoration, which caused a little shame in the back of my mind because I was thinking, “I don’t know how much more stress I can take. Maybe it’s better to be single.” And today is a new day… I’ve just returned from my sister’s and now my thoughts are, “Maybe my life isn’t so stressful.” Haha! Perspective is everything.

I am packing for a three month trip. I have always wanted to know what it’s like to live in another country. A few weeks ago, I was at work and thought to myself, “It’s almost my birthday. The thought of spending my birthday here is just too depressing to bear!” So I got myself a nice airline ticket for my birthday and announced to everyone I know that I was going on a trip and would be gone for several months! I truly believe that I am going in the right direction with my life! All of the people we meet and the events that happen lead us to here and now. I am expecting to have time to do things like journal/ blog since I won’t be working. The day after I left my job, I was already quickly meeting people from whom I’ve already learned so much and so many doors have opened! I know people often question what I’m doing with my life, but I haven’t a doubt in my mind. This relationship I am in is the most stable relationship I’ve ever had. I cherish the time I spent with family (wish there was more of this), friends and strangers since I left my work place at the lab! At the lab, everything was so dark. Now, I see everyone basked in sunshine and outdoors again! I’ve been invited to stay with various wonderful peoples just by simply announcing my travel intentions! This time tomorrow, I’ll be boarding a plane and crossing the oceans!

Santosha

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Catching Up

Hello! Any cyber world friends left out there? I know it’s been a while since I wrote. So, here’s a little catching up in a nutshell:

I’ve been learning to swim…trying to…  I have been teaching a lot of yoga in my spare time and enjoying every second. I have extensive international trips coming up in 2019. I am looking forward to working on my foreign language skills. I am opening up my own business in 2019. I have done many different businesses in the past, but I am super excited about my newest venture. I’ve been enjoying life with my boyfriend. He inspires me to follow my heart despite naysayers by inventing and walking his own path.

 

Accepting My Life as Unconventional

I feel like I am always saying “Good bye” and moving on from places and people. Whereas other people stay in one job for years and years, I am always trying something new. Yes, I’m leaving yet another job. It was a pleasure to work with the many brilliant people in the aerospace industry, but I feel compelled to return to my true passions: education and travel. This makes me sad (to say “good byes”) and excited (to try and learn new things every day). Though I live an unconventional life of my own choosing, I hope that I will become successful at least one area of my life while parents are alive.

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Like a child, I yearn for everyone’s approval: friends, family, co-workers, past and present…I know self-acceptance and self-love are more important. With self-care and time, confidence, self-love and self-acceptance grow stronger. I am ever so grateful to always be learning something new! It keeps life interesting.

If you can take away one thing from this blog post, let it be that: Life is short. Select what experiences you may carefully! 

I’ve shared this song video before, but it’s worth sharing again:

 

 

 

Quote challenge

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I was nominated by the very talented Blue Velvet Jacket to do this challenge.

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote each day for three consecutive days. (Pretty sure I won’t have time to do this as Monday night is one of the few nights I am home but I participated for a day at least).
  3. Nominate three bloggers each day to do the same.

Thank you, Blue Velvet Jacket! My apologies for being so late to the party!

Today, I have a poem from Thich Nhat Hahn titled Call Me By My True Names who wrote this poem after news of a 12 year-old who committed suicide after rape:

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

What does this poem mean to you?

Today’s nominations are:

  1. Murisopsis
  2. Harotian Essentials
  3. Buddy71

I find this poem fascinating because in it, there is empathy for all living beings; yet monks (and psychopaths) are known for detachment. Detachment is much more difficult when one can empathize, an ability I believe would bring much compassion, if not love, to the world if we could all be in touch with it.

New Adventures

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Last year, I had a coworker who wrote on a white board all the names of his coworkers and what spirit animal he thought they may have with them. He assigned me the Mojave Green, which I had found a bit offensive at the time because I don’t think of myself as a venomous snake! He explained to me that he thinks of Mojave Greens as powerful (able to change a life with a single bite or a slither) and he thought of me as synonymous because snakes shed many skins over the course of a lifetime. He explained that he had met it as a compliment because I was a creature to be revered and whom could adapt to change by shedding skins. Lately, I’ve been thinking about his words. You see, when I last posted a blog post, I had written about going to Panama. These days, I do not spend my time in Panama, but the territory is probably as foreign. I have left behind my past lives in customer service, education, behavioral science, and wellness and now work in the aerospace industry. While the budget and jargon in each field is completely different from the next, the concept is the same: build good relationships with others and things begin to fall into place. My job has only changed on the surface. Titles mean nothing and dreams continue to mean everything. My path is written in sand, not stone. I await the next wind to sweep me up and  take me somewhere new as I take in and enjoy the path it has now left me on. Soon, the winds will pick up once more.

Perceptions of Pain and Perfection and Perhaps Panama

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Perception is everything.

I perceived Sunday to be the perfect day: I awoke and spent time with my boyfriend. I downloaded an audio book, an English translation of Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and listened to it as I drove. I taught yoga. I went to the crowded grocery market and returned home where I cooked dinner, ate and spent some time on the piano. I showered, did some yoga and went to bed. That was a perfect day. Unextraordinary but remarkably enjoyable right down to finding the parking spot at the in the parking lot at the market, a feat in itself at the location I where I was shopping.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, but I did not perceive things to go perfectly because my mind was back to being anxious. Winter break ended and I started back at my various part time jobs. I awoke and did my yoga. I laid down and listened to the rain. It was easy to meditate yesterday because we had the rare and precious sights and sounds of rain: a sound bath. I know I need to work on meditating under all conditions (I picture Thich Quang Duc’s 1963 self-immolation protest…The man meditated while being burned alive!), but the practice is yet new to me.  I went for a run, ate breakfast, dressed and went to work at one of my jobs after making a phone call and email for another job. At some point in the day, I was speaking with a young red head I had just met at work. We spoke of work and then my gaze drifted to the window and we spoke about how much as desert natives, we enjoyed the rain. She mentioned that she once studied abroad in Spain and the people never understood why she enjoyed the rain and snow there so much. We went back to our seats where I checked my email. I had gotten a reply with bad news from the job I had emailed in the morning. It’s the first day of the spring semester at the university and they had not gotten me any interns to supervise because all of the interns this quarter had chosen to study instruction of students with mild/moderate disabilities rather than my specialty: moderate/ severe disabilities. I reacted by going straight to the websites I frequently peruse and immediately found a job to apply for in Panama. When I got home, I got another unwelcome message from a different job and I set out to obtain this job in Panama. I applied for it and got a confirmation this morning that the agency had received my application.

I reacted emotionally. I was told the university needed someone with my expertise several months back. I had put so much time and other offers aside for this job at the university that I knew wouldn’t pay much because I wanted to use my knowledge and skill base. I had jumped through so many hoops and online seminars for them unpaid and now they give me a quarter with no students and no pay.

A few weeks ago, one of the ladies whose organization I teach yoga for started coaching me through the process of starting a non-profit, but I feel like my ideas are going nowhere. Nothing seems good enough yet. Maybe I need a break from working on something that kept me going for weeks.

I feel like I’ve met so much failure lately and want to do something completely different. I feel like there is no room for growth around here: only stagnation and more of the same.

Tomorrow is my mom’s next appointment. It’s been a while since she’s asked me to go with her. Tomorrow I am supposed to go with her to see the doctor so that I can help her ask for a new nurse. Her current one has a talent for bruising her : the bruises are ginormous. I welcome spending the day with my mom at the doctor because it’s one of the only ways to see her any more. She has dedicated herself to working as much as she can in hopes of making enough to retire within a few years. I haven’t told her about my day yesterday and how I reacted by applying for a job in Panama where I would be so very far from everyone and everything I love and know if I got the job.

I told my boyfriend about it. He is always so calm. “You’ll figure things out,” he simply says reassuringly, no hint of anxiety in his voice. Maybe yesterday WAS a perfect day after all.

 

Gratitude, Nostalgia and Well Wishes

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Hope all of you enjoyed Christmas (or whatever holiday/ vacation you may have gotten) as much as I did! I went caroling for the first time. I saw Santa’s reindeer…

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…Including Rudolph. (Doesn’t this ride give new meaning to the song Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”? This was what Santa showed up in this year at the equine therapy center Christmas party.

IMG_3421I enjoyed pretending to be Martha Stewart placing poinsettia on wine bottle and creating a giant bow for this popcorn tin. Gift wrapping is not my forte but I love to decorate the gifts because it hides any possible wrinkles in the wrapping paper when I wrap and place bows and other decor on. IMG_3419

I had the great fortune of being invited to go on a camping trip for a few days with some friends. Here’s the view from my tent.

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IMG_3493My friends whom invited me came very prepared with their RV stocked with all kinds of goodies including this lobster.

Here’s a panoramic of the lovely beach we stayed by:IMG_3530 (1)

I thoroughly enjoyed my Christmas and hope you did too!

I then had the honor of celebrating my boyfriend’s 30th birthday with him. Here’s what he chose to eat for his birthday  dinner:

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He had the four asada tacos. The asada fries and elote were mine. We went rollerblading afterwards.

I invited a few local people to spend the New Year hiking with me as I did not feel like driving. I was bummed and starting to thinking no one was going to show because they were all hung over from New Year’s Eve festivities when my boyfriend pulled up. We went to see the first sunset and moon rise of the new year together. We hiked about two or three miles up a mountain….

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I had to stop to photograph these:

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Here is my darling waiting for me patiently and holding my sweater for me while I shoot my photos:

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We came upon a few people up there including the mother and daughter with their family dog in the distant background and  this novelist who said he hiked up to this point  from another trail, another city almost every day  to contemplate life and work on his writing. He said that it was a miracle that we were looking down over 3 million people and there were just the three of us up there enjoying the New Year at that exact moment.

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Here are the last rays of the sun of the New Year:

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May your New Year be filled with much peace, prosperity, health and happiness!

Life’s Meaning and Horses

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Every time the universe tosses my life path into uncertainty, something interesting happens. There’s so much anxiety about uncertainty, yet if one thinks about it, every uncertainty is an opportunity for rebirth knocking on the door and one must decide whether or not to answer it.

In my own life, I would say it began with Kodak’s acquisition of Bell & Howell where my father had worked for over a decade. He was laid off and unable to find work for almost two years. As a child, I did not know the implications of work and money. When I was in third grade, my parents opened a restaurant in my hometown which they ran for ten years until their divorce when I was about 19 years old.

During the uncertain times of their new divorce, I eloped. I had always expected my parents to divorce my entire life and had always promised myself that I would not choose between their two house if it ever happened. I believe the short-lived fantasy romance I had must surely have been some form of escape because I was truly blinded by first love. (Ironically, I have now been divorced for 9 years now and have lived at both of their houses to pay off student loans. It’s still a struggle to pay off the student loans which makes me realize maybe school is not the way to go for me. No amount of additional degrees will increase my level of income by much more and I certainly cannot afford to go to school just for fun.) The next life transition came when I left my ex-husband for the first time: I got my second teaching scholarship and thought, “Now I have to finish this degree. Surely, this means teaching is the right track for me.” I have been to so many places since then!

After a week straight of substitute teaching last week, I found myself without work for several days. At first, I was ungrateful for my spare time outside of work. You may recall that I used to find most of my fulfillment from work. It’s something I’ve struggled with quite a lot over the course of my career: over dedication to work. Every time I become overly dedicated to work, the universe reminds me of how unimportant work truly is and how little power one truly has…. It doesn’t matter how many programs I create for the kids because I’m not wanted at any of the schools at which I’ve worked. I have not mastered the politics despite politics being a part of every environment.

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I’ve been following a vlog at amandaoutside.com for some time now. In one of Amanda’s most recent vlog postings, she describes her life: three days of work and then off to the outdoors backpacking for several days. I thought to myself, “That happy person could be me… ” I have an ex-boyfriend who lived that lifestyle for years and climbed at least a thousand mountain peaks (his ego counted the exact number). And I recalled all of the beautiful photos I used to photograph each non-work day before my teaching days years ago when I substituted.

Last week, I opened my heart to adventure again. In that space, the most interesting place I discovered is a local equine therapy place for which I am so grateful! I had the pleasure of volunteering there from 1:30 to 5:30 pm on Friday and from 8:30 to 11:30 am on Saturday! I was reunited with a former student of mine whose mother recounted how her daughter cried for days when I did not end up continuing at the school. She is now in high school and was thrilled to see me and I was thrilled to see her. She is the horsewoman I hope to become one day! The place has been here for 19 years and I’ve never had the time to go check it out until now! They provide horse riding lessons to people with disabilities as well as art therapy. It is a very happy place and the skills and confidence the students have developed are just amazing! Everyone (people and horses) there has been super friendly, helpful, patient and loving! The owner of the non-profit ranch taught for 15 years before opening up this place. I can see and have been told that she has physical handicaps and illnesses herself and yet she continues to run the place with the help of volunteers, which I find truly inspiring!

In almost every place I’ve lived, I’ve developed a special relationship with the horses, so I’m very excited about this new opportunity to learn about hippotherapy so close to my home. I’ve been looking at a lot of non-profits and this one is truly one of the most well-run and happiest. The art therapist there has worked at multiple hippotherapy locations across the country and has informed me that this is the case from her observations too: this is a place where it’s not about the money nor required service hours of locals because the people and horses really bond. This weekend, Santa (the owner’s brother) is making his annual visit. I have been told that year, he comes in a unique mode of transportation; VW bug, Clydesdales, Sheriff’s car, convertible, etc.  I look forward to volunteering this weekend and seeing the joy on the kids’ faces as they are greeted by Santa.

Life happens for me, not to me. I am so grateful for my mother’s health, her new business, all of the new opportunities with which I’ve been blessed and the support of my wonderful boyfriend. I am grateful for each ray of sunlight and each precious breath I am provided on this beautiful earth.

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Written 4 Months Ago

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Last Saturday morning, my yoga teacher wrote an excited email notifying her students that we would have a guest who she called an angel who helps her through her troubles and can see her soul. In my mind, I pictured a white bearded sage.

We were surprised to see a humble, handsome young man with beautiful tan skin, broad shoulders and calm smiling eyes wearing a gray t-shirt walk in. She invited him to speak to us and young Prince Siddhartha seated upon a yoga mat and yoga bolster, explained that he had been raised in privileged background and had felt much guilt for the discontent he hid under his skin. Unlike Prince Siddhartha, he did not cast away his materials and wander the streets for the answers to relieve humanity from pain and suffering. Instead, he studied Finance at Harvard and lived a very driven life and then studied Spiritual Psychology, reading every work he could get his hands on to figure out what he thought the cause of suffering could be.

He used stories to tell us about things he had learned. He had learned that the constant business deals and emails really didn’t matter. Most of the time, people welcome real connection even when they seem like they are in a hurry. He learned that as much as he tried, he could not always be present because ideals and reality do not line up and he could accept that. He learned that his unconditional love for others stemmed from his belief that we are all connected, not separate and that things are as they are…

When asked whether he believed whether each individual has his/ her own dharma, he replied, “Where does the tree begin and end? When I ask my son to draw a tree, he draws a trunk and leaves, but what about the roots, the sky, earth…? If we see ourselves, as separate from the world, we will hold our responsibilities separate. If we see ourselves as one, we are living our responsibility.”

I keep thinking back to those words now. I chose to work in Education because I saw myself as the branches and the trunk. I never saw the sky, earth and roots before. I want so much to learn to love myself as I love the sky, earth, roots and all with which my roots are entwined.

Copper doesn’t know it’s copper

until it’s changed to gold.

Your loving doesn’t know its majesty

until it knows its helplessness.

-Rumi