16 Mar 2013 No Comments
Spring invites haiku.
Sunlight on maple.
Coral bark blazes alight.
Beckoning to spring.
Reflections from the deep end of Practice.
16 Mar 2013 No Comments
Spring invites haiku.
Sunlight on maple.
Coral bark blazes alight.
Beckoning to spring.
16 Dec 2012 3 Comments
This has been a heck of a weekend for weather drama. Meteors my first night and the sound the wind trying to pull the cabin off the hill, with sea foam flying outside my windows as though it was snow! All the while seals and seabirds bob along in storm-tossed waves as if this wasn’t anything big.
CK wouldn’t enjoy being here, exposed and alone out on this bluff as I am. This tiny cabin is literally buffeted on all sides by powerful wind (gusting at up to 70 miles-per-hour) and the waves are truly enormous. She finds these sounds of water and weather unnerving, but for some reason they comfort me. I’ve been cultivating a mental image of the sea foam being blown through the air as a reminder that my little collection of anxiety and fear is so small, that wind like this just blows it all right through me.
After the terrible headache yesterday, I woke up feeling rested and clear. I went out to try and find treasure in the low, morning tide. I’ve come to the conclusion that winter is not agate-hunting weather as I only found one in my time out in the morning. I did find several interesting rocks and a few very interesting pieces of driftwood. I came back, ate breakfast, warmed up and went out again to watch the enormous waves.
I’m fascinated by the seabirds and seals out in the pounding surf, just bobbing along. I anthropomorphize them as “intrepid”, but I’m called to re-read the Genjo Koan and find them instead,in their element.
Played with ATCs today and decided that I’d stay in. There’s Christmas celebrations happening in the lighthouse keeper’s cabin at Heceta Head, but the wind makes driving a challenge and I’d rather stay safely, warmly inside even if it sounds like I’ll be blown right off the bluff!
Today has even inspired a bit of poetry. Of course, within minutes of writing it I was telling myself it was too pretentious to be shared. Maybe so, but here it is regardless:
They name them
And stronger than
The usual waves
Blown by the
Some might say
God is in those waves.
Proof of a Masculine deity
Pounding the shoreline.
Others will say
There is nothing more
Than mundane science
In the shifting of water
As dictated by a rock in space.
Some see the tides
Called by the Moon
As the sure evidence
Of a Divine Feminine.
None of these arguments
Matter to the waves
Or the rocks they crash into.
No conversation changes
The way the wind catches
The top of each crest or
Is considered by the intrepid
Sea birds floating amidst
The relentless movement
Of the sea toward the shore.
15 Dec 2012 No Comments
I’ve never actually taken time away without some “reason” for it. Work trips are obvious and account for the largest number of solo trips I’ve taken. I’ve also spent time away on my own to pursue yoga training, definite structure there. Then there’s Zen retreat, which is nothing but structure and silence. One weekend meditating and learning about calligraphy from Kaz Tanahashi. A multi-day, Buddhist retreat for women with some guided writing practice.
Trips alone have to involve purpose. That’s my way of allowing myself to go. I have to work for it.
So to be here, perched on a little bluff, in a tiny cabin, overlooking the crashing waves and buffeted by howling winds, is entirely new. A retreat from the humming and drumming of my very busy, everyday life. A retreat from structure.
From work I enjoyed the view of the barest sliver of the new moon appearing behind clouds. Once I hit the forest a long, winding, dark, and foggy drive took up all of my attention. I was grateful to stop in Waldport for a few groceries.
I arrived to the cabin outside of Yachats to find the sky miraculously clear for winter on the Oregon coast. I bundled up in my beautiful wrap, in the two blankets provided just for the purpose of sitting on the tiny deck, and watched the night. The vastness of sea and stars and wind and cold surrounding me.
Orion was bright and huge above the forested slopes of the mountains, with Betelgeuse glowing intensely red. The brightest glow, streaking out toward the sea and seeming to illuminate a patch in the center of my field of vision, was Jupiter. Eventually, my cold attention was delighted by a meteor, one of the Geminids peaking so beautifully this year. It streaked directly overhead, shooting out over the sea, or so it appeared.
This morning I searched the beach below the bluff, but struck out in my agate-hunting. In 2010 the largest agate I’ve ever found was hunted on the small beach here, but of course the rock field has changed considerably. I came back in as the rain picked up, my head pounding, and ate some breakfast while watching seals out in the waves. I lay down to watch the waves from the warm bed in front of a large window, eventually falling asleep again.
I could have gone to rock hunt elsewhere, but the cold made my head pound more. I went into Yachats, thinking I might go by a spa that a teammate at work recommended, or have a late lunch at a restaurant recommended to me. Instead I bought some crackers and soup before driving slowly through town, checking out some roads I’ve not gone down before. I stopped to watch the crashing waves from the car.
I’ve mostly rested today, my head intermittently pounding. The weather has stormed all day, the wind howling so fiercely at times that it feels like it is trying to blow us up the mountain! I made some food, ate some, read, slept some more, watched a movie, and listened to a new guided meditation one of my therapists gave me. I ate too much ice cream.
I have another full day tomorrow. I can choose to act on the impatient energy that compels me to do something (go for a hike, go to the Christmas celebration at Heceta Head, go to the spa, go rock hunt) or I could spend it inside again reading and napping. I’m trying to not make a plan, not to add structure. If tomorrow I feel like I want activity, it is available to me, but I’m just staying with the idea that it is also perfectly fine to just sit here with the sound of the waves and weather, resting.
06 Dec 2012 No Comments
CK has insisted I do something for myself. That I go away for a long weekend. By myself.
No dogs. No Cats. No Mom. No Work. No wife.
Just a total break away from everything. Her gift to me is to take care of it all so I can well and truly rest.
I’ve been struggling with this gift, to be honest. I feel a bit guilty, like I’m leaving behind a mess to pick up. I feel like I don’t deserve such a luxury.
I don’t think I’ve ever really taken a trip like this. Any time I’ve gone away by myself it has been for work, training of some sort, or sesshin practice (which is most certainly not restful). I’ve never been in the position to afford this luxury – afford the cost or the time. I’ve never had the kind of support that would let me do something like this.
She suggested Vancouver since it is such a short flight up and I had my passport redone this year for a work trip up there. She also suggested a little one-room cottage I’ve wanted to stay in at Ocean Haven. Situated up on a bluff, separate, and complete with a cozy bed before an enormous window overlooking the rocks which are popular with the sea lions.
So next weekend I’m going. Taking off from work a little early on Friday and coming back on Monday.
I’m even starting to look forward to it.
25 Nov 2012 No Comments
It has been busy. This year has been made of busy. No glorification of Busy here, just an observation. We’ll all be happy to see the end of 2012.
A lot has been done. I am filled with gratitude for all that we’ve managed to accomplish this year.
CK and I bought a new house and are renting the old one to a friend who found herself is real need of a place amenable to her companion animals.
I spoke at a conference in September in Orlando at Walt Disney World. I’ve now been at EPCOT (the leading favorite) and have ridden on the Its a Small World ride (freaky, freaky).
Work was all kinds of extra crazy around this time too. I’m ending the year with quite a lot done, CK attributes much of this to my being a workaholic (a bit) at a company full of other workaholics.
We got home. Packed. I rather dropped the ball on helping with the move, but we’ve moved on from although I’m still feeling bad about it. Working on that.
We moved and are in that limbo of not really knowing where just everything is yet.
Mom moved in with us at the end of October. We’ve already had a fire truck at the house due to a low blood sugar. We’re learning.
Yes, it is hard. Worth it, but hard.
I’m feeling rather worn down by the year and hate that it is really showing. CK suggested today that I should take a weekend away by myself to just rest. I’m thinking about it.
Took a few minutes to just sit down and have some tea before tackling the week’s grocery shopping today. We had a little bit of time this week between the holiday and a flurry of medical appointments for Mom to go to Powell’s and I picked up Mary Oliver’s book of poetry, Why I Wake Early.
The poem Bone in it really caught me for the whole cup of tea. Still has me caught, and here it is:
Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape –
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something –
for the ear bone
is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer’s head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long –
and thought: the soul
might be like this –
so hard, so necessary –
yet almost nothing.
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn’t see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don’t we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it
lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts –
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
through the pale-pink morning light.
05 Sep 2012 No Comments
We’re still in that constant of accelerating change around here. Moving toward light, toward positive change, but still sometimes the whoosh of it all gets rather dizzying. Yes, of course, this is why I Practice in a kind of “still. whoosh. still. whoosh. still. whoosh” way. The winding path of a householder.
Soon to become holder of houses, which feels enormous at times. CK and I are co-purchasing, it feels good to have found a home together. Today’s been a tough one; makes buying our current home seem like a lovely party where at the end I got a house.
Next week I’m speaking at a conference, this one actually directly related to the work I do in Business Intelligence. Kind of a big deal and I’m feeling under prepared, as always. Oh, and there’s packing to do.
And there’s packing to do. The house, the stuff. Trying to breathe through all of the anxiety that comes up for me around moving, even when for the better. It will hopefully be back from the conference and into a big whoosh of packing and moving. Then settling a little before Mom joins us, which has been a big part of the new house. That and reducing my commute considerably, which I’ve become resigned to but it does take a big toll on my body.
Here and there, between the whooshing, we spent a leisurely weekend celebrating my birthday quietly. I also canned 8 quarts of sauce! The garden has been very productive this year, which is a little bittersweet, but mostly I’m just enjoying the bounty!
29 Aug 2012 No Comments
This has been a Hell of a year.
Stuff is still going on with Mom. We’re still applying creative solutions and aid, but some things take time and can often run into new challenges and difficulties to try and greet with equanimity. Try being the operative word.
Conference season, still on-going, has provided extra stress along with the positives. I’m speaking next month at a conference held in Orlando, at a resort next door to Walt Disney World. CK is coming with me and taking a vacation.
Work has been tough for us both this year. For me just in the sheer amount of projects and day-to-day maintenance I’m working on combined with some stuff that leaves me feeling like my managers don’t stick up for the good work we do. For CK the stress has been far more personal, unexpected, and has made for an especially challenging year.
This year has been a real “C” and “F” year. Yep, it has often been rather a cluster fuck. There’s also been a lot of crying and fatigue.
Today was a tough day at work and I left feeling demoralized. I headed home to avoid being cranky around my friends. I tossed out a request on Twitter and Facebook, asking people to give me some definitions for my day brought to me by the letters “C” and “F”.
Here’s why I love the internet: within an hour I had several creative and hilarious answers. I’m sure by morning there will be more. Feel to add new ideas to the comments.
My Creative (Compassionate, Caring) Friends Suggested:
Just a good lesson in reaching out to people when I feel like I need support. I’m so grateful for the many amazing people in my life and for the technology that keeps us connected.
And I am totally going to think of the word “FlusterCluck” the next time I’m really pissed off in a meeting. It can be my mantra to help stay present and open, which can be a real challenge at work some days.
Hopefully I will manage to not snort with laughter while in front of my team.
20 Jun 2012 1 Comment
The news came via Facebook, of course.
One of my college advisors (the one for my major), Archaeologist Dr. Daniel Edward Shea collapsed while on a summer research trip in Chile, never regained consciousness, and died.
I can’t even begin to imagine the pain his students and staff there with him are experiencing, or the terrible loss to his family back home, his students, his colleagues. I do know some of the grief felt by students who left Beloit and moved on into our lives. It is of course a tremendous, tragic loss.
We all called him Dan. In his upper division classes coffee duty rotated and when it was your turn you made coffee & got up and brought the pot in for everyone. He’d wake me up for my classes when I’d fall asleep in the department lounge. I used to babysit his kids.
Dan let me down a few times and in some big, important ways. Seeing old friends at Jen’s memorial really brought this home to me.
Beloit let me down. I’m still working through the shame, the mantra that repeats in my head, endlessly:
You didn’t finish what you started.
Jen’s memorial made me realize I’m also still working through the anger at knowing that when I really, desperately needed them, my advisors didn’t advise.
All that aside, reflecting on Dan’s influence in my life, I want to acknowledge something very important. When I would get my courage up to sit down in his office and tell him my ideas and theories about Peruvian archaeology, I left those discussions feeling like he listened to me and respected me. Even when he occasionally, and rightly, shot those theories full of holes.
As a woman who’s been working in tech for well over a dozen years, and has gone through phone calls where a man asked me to put another man on the phone, doubting my skills and knowledge merely because I’m a woman, the experience of having my academic opinion respected was hugely beneficial. Hell, college was really my first experience at having my opinion respected or really heard much at all.
Having my advisor really listen to me, well it meant a lot and it still does. It also helps offset some of the anger I’m working through at being let down when I needed help.
Clearly ceremonies and observances are called for:
Incense lit and offered to Dan and the Kwan Yin statue in the herb garden.
To the lingering solstice twilight in the west, three bows for Dan.
Metta to those students and faculty with Dan, may you know ease.
Metta to Dan’s family, may you be at peace.
Metta to Dan’s colleagues and students at Beloit, may you be peaceful.
Metta for all Dan’s students who’ve moved on from Beloit, may we all be at ease.
Move on Dan. May your next life also be filled with adventure, learning, and joy. Thank you for the lessons you taught me and for listening.
27 Apr 2012 2 Comments
Sometimes I’m just blown away by my wife, in a good way. Not only does she help me through spots that are really tough for me, but she does it without it feeling like she pushing me along or dragging me a long with her ideas. Plus there’s the whole being involved with an adult, someone who really is my partner. Who throws down with the tough shit and just starts getting stuff done.
We each have our own stuff we’re working on, which makes things a challenge sometimes. Then there’s the stuff that arises out of those raw moments when our own respective history and the baggage chafes together. It is hard, sometimes it is really hard. But I feel like we’re really working on it together, as equals.
Today she went and picked up Mom from the hospital since I had 4 meetings sandwiched around teaching yoga… out at my office in the Southern Burbs. She took Mom to her apartment in the Eastern burbs, changed up her pill boxes, redid her insulin, found her walker in the closet, and made sure Mom went down to lunch. Then she made us dinner tonight and we watched a movie I’d wanted to see. Yeah, she’s awesome.
Pink petals rising from muck.
Stronger than it looks.
22 Apr 2012 No Comments
When we pay attention there’s quite a lot to worry about. I worry about bees. Colony collapse disorder is something we should be more worried about. We depend upon bees in ways most people don’t appreciate.
As much as we think about veggies to plant in our garden, we spend some time thinking about flowers to entice pollinators, like bees to visit our yard. Besides the general loveliness of the flowers we’ve been adding, they bring bees. It makes me very happy to see the bees buzzing around, gathering pollen. The big, fuzzy bumble bees particularly make me smile.
Watching the bee fly
I am full of gratitude:
Her work becomes food.