Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Simple, ordinary actions can make such a difference when it comes to my state of mind. Yesterday I picked up the keys to the Quiet Waters Center, and chatted briefly with my colleagues there. They seem as excited to have me join them as I am.
Interesting, too, to watch my mood improve by leaps and bounds once the keys were in-hand. No longer do I feel I am dangling between work places without a safety net. I feel I'm on my way.
Sorry to go on and on about this event. Healing Arts was a wonderful place to work. WAS. Now that I have the keys, I'm not tempted to look back wistfully. The terrible poetry I wrote last week is in the recycling bin.
Onwards & upwards! Yeah!!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I'm not working today and tomorrow, so conceivably I could use the time to launch myself into a dramatic frenzy before Thursday, my final day at Healing Arts. But .. I'm thinking maybe I'll skip the drama, just go see my clients, clean up and get out. Why not?
The prize at the end of Thursday is dinner with blog kin Letty of Lettuce Eating. She's visiting from London.
The Voice in the Shower this morning told me this:
Your last day at Healing Arts? Reya, it's just another day of work. Get. Over. It.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Only two more working days at Healing Arts. OMG. It's freaky.
What do other people do during times of change? I'm trying to be present with all the emotions passing through me, even though mindfulness, at a time like this, inevitably makes me dizzy. I'm a person of very powerful, conflicting feelings, always, but especially right now.
Maybe it's the overload of emotion that makes big transitions so tricky to negotiate, at least for me. I feel like I'm in a movie, in the swirl but also as if I'm watching myself from a distance.
After I make the move on Friday, surely I'll be able to write an interesting post. But until then, in the words of my secret celebrity love match Keanu Reeves, the only thing I can think to say is
W h o a !
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Today's recipe for allergic reaction included buckets of oak pollen blowing around under a sultry hot sun. Getting out into the fray was like asking for it. I did go out in the most limited way I could so as to take care of business.
By the time I got home around 3:00, I was a mess. Another huge box of kleenex bit the dust in spite of all my efforts to stem the tide of congestion. Oak pollen vs. Reya? The result is never pretty - for me anyway. Same as it ever was. So I shut the window, sat in front of the television and blew my nose while the pollen sifted and shook through the trees and into the streets.
Luckily for me, one of my favorite movies of all time, Groundhog Day, was on. Someday I have to read the book versions, by Ouspensky, the other by Nietzsche. Some day! Not today, though.
Halfway through the film I began to wonder how many times I've watched it. I can only guess, but I think I must have seen it all the way through at least a dozen times. There's some kind of algorhythmic pattern involved in repeated viewings of this movie. It's holographic. Or something.
In many ways, my days, weeks, months and years at Healing Arts constitute a repeating pattern. Getting out of there will break the spell of my own private Groundhog Day. That's a good thing.
After trying many different approaches to getting through the day, Bill Murray's character figures out that the only way to tolerate the repetitive patterns of life is to be kind, compassionate, artful, generous and loving.
I know I've aged rather dramatically over the last six years, oh yeah. Have I evolved, though? Beats me. I hope so.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Did you see the story about the gigantic sinkhole that appeared suddenly on I-70 in western Maryland? It's huge, unexpected, will be expensive to repair. An abyss appearing in the middle of one of our cross-country freeways is a marvelously disturbing metaphor for the sinking American empire. Yikes.
Another, more positive sign (personal, too) is the fact that as I rode home after work last night, the rear view mirror on my bike suddenly detached itself from the handlebars and went flying. I turned around and looked but couldn't find it. I wasn't going fast - I never do. How could it have completely disappeared? Within a minute or two I realized it was pointless to keep looking. Onwards and upwards, Reya. Don't look back!
One sign I've been unable to interpret is the meaning of the ongoing split within the Democratic party. It's not a happy campaign, not for any of us who are interested in electing a Democrat this time. We Democrats are supposed to be the good ones, so what's with all the antipathy among us?
Meanwhile, the tulips, iris, clump-double cherries and dogwoods continue to bloom as if nothing were wrong. Their beauty helps me avoid any urge towards cynicism. Many thanks to Mother Nature for the colors, shapes and sweet scents of spring. Bravo!!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Right at the very end of the end of all things (relationships, living situations, etc. though in this case I'm talking about a work space), what I want to do is zip ahead in time, skip the final dregs of emotion, the packing up, the final argument, the last bits of cleaning up. Dragging through the last few days of anything is very difficult.
And so it goes as I count down the days until I'm out of Healing Arts. My dream life is crazy with dreams of needing to do a massage but not having a space, or I go to the space and there are all the anonymous dream people sitting around, eating cheetos and making a mess. I'm screaming at them GET OUT but they're completely unmoved by my vehemence. Or I can't find the massage table or the boombox or my massage cream.
I wake up from these nightmares exhausted.
The departure itself, from any kind of situation, is very exciting to me, even if I'm particularly attached to whatever I'm leaving. My mantra this week is my favorite line from the film Titanic. It's delivered by a steerage passenger to her young child.
"It'll all be over soon."
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I had a very nice conversation with an evangelical Christian Saturday. I was under the spell of the sparkling sunshine and a great Reiki class at the time, making it possible for me to be oh-so generous.
Now, days later, I start to fume anytime I think about it. And you know I'm thinking about it, because I think about things. It sets my teeth on edge realizing she believes most of the people on Earth are doomed to suffer hideous pain and torture in Hell for eternity. She believes Einstein is in Hell. Ghandi, Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha), as well as every Native American, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan and Jew who ever lived are also there. When they die, the Dalai Lama and the Hugging Saint of India will be in Hell, too, according to her. Carl Sagan. Aaron Copland. I could go on and on.
Come to think of it, Hell is sounding very attractive, based on her beliefs.
But seriously, could you worship a God like hers? Yikes! Yesterday I forced myself to do a lot of ohmmm-ing so as to clear my self-righteous anger as I reflected on the conversation. Guess I'll be ohmmm-ing again today.
From now on I must remember not to engage in interfaith dialog with fundamentalists of any religion. That kind of exchange really gets my panties in a bunch. Oh yeah!
This petrol street splooge looks just like a giraffe head, doesn't it?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Though always restless when I'm in the middle of any of life's trajectories, at the end of things I'm always wistful, full of regrets for every which way I wasn't at my best for the duration.
At the beginnings of things I'm overflowing with resolve, determined to make what's ahead the best. When I start, my eye is on the prize. And the prize is ... the end? Hmmm. Maybe I think of the prize as the top of the curve, the height of the thing, rather than the inevitable slide down to the death of the endeavor.
Right now, just five working days from my last day at Healing Arts of Capitol Hill, I'm having my moment of wistfulness. I even wrote a poem about leaving - for heaven's sake! I am no poet, believe you me! Drama queen, yes indeed. Oh yeah.
Though fully conscious of my patterns, nevertheless my behaviors persist. Go figure!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
It's true that I was in a spiritually generous mood yesterday, having just taught Reiki. In fact during class I talked a lot about the importance of prayer, something I think of as a structure in which it's possible to talk with God. Through prayer I develop my relationship to the divine, cultivate intimacy. The benefits of that intimacy include the ability to access trust. It's well worth the practice. Just like Rabbi Manewith taught us, I believe that the structure and content of individual prayer is not as important as sincerity. After praying, my student said my aura looked like a shiny egg made from layers of bright gold and crystal. Prayer cleans the auric body, yes.
So when I sat down at the market counter at Eastern Market to enjoy my crabcakes and read my book, I was feeling open and connected. I think that's why - and how - I got to talking with the lovely young evangelical Christian who was sitting next to me.
It was an interesting exchange. I was respectful, but honest, and so was she. We agreed to disagree about our obvious differences, like the fact that she believes with all her heart that I (and everyone else who doesn't share her faith), will burn and suffer for eternity in Hell. That's a rather harsh fate, coming from a compassionate God, don't you think? I asked. She said it would not be loving of her to keep silent about my inevitable, miserable eternity of pain and torture. Hmmm. That was the end of that topic. Instead of battling over my soul's destiny, we explored areas in which we could make common ground. She asked questions and listened carefully. I did too. I didn't let myself get insulted, she didn't get self righteous. There was no finger pointing. It was a real interfaith dialog. In the end she told me she doesn't believe she can change anyone's mind, only the Lord can do that, to use her words. Very cool to hear an evangelical say she's not out to convert non-Christians. How refreshing!
After that I went to a friend's house to read tarot cards for her. All in all, it was a very nice day of spiritual connection and inquiry. The resonance from seeing the Pope continued through yesterday. Crazy, isn't it?
Happy Passover, ya'all!
Pollen streaks on an SUV, Mass. Ave. NE - and Jake
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The pollen is flying fast and thick all over DC. Those of us who are sensitive to the annual orgy of the green world are either medicated, in hiding, or sneezing like crazy. Those who don't suffer from allergies are out there enjoying the almost unearthly beauty that's part of this time of year, oblivious to the storm of fertility taking place all around them.
It only lasts a few weeks so I shouldn't complain. In fact, I think humans should be more considerate. I think we should get out of the way and let the plants do their thing. After the pollination is complete, right around the second week of June, the trees will provide shade and the grass will give us a lovely green cushion to walk on. So why shouldn't we make ourselves scarce for awhile? It seems fair to me. The trouble is, in our culture we are expected to carry on as if nothing was happening. Those who suffer from allergies are pitied, but expected to juice up on Benadryl or whatever, and continue going about their Very Important Human Activities. What hubris! For heaven's sake!
This year I'm one of the flippant people because the acupuncture I'm receiving every week, plus the "grassy brew" (as I call the herbal tea I sip all day long) has dramatically reduced my symptomatic response to tree and grass sex. A sniffle or watery eye now and then is nothing compared to my usual situation of total congestion and misery. Wow! I believe in Chinese medicine!
Excuse me now while I take a nice stroll with the dog, who, by the way also suffers from springtime allergies. If you look closely at the pic on top, you'll notice he's sneezing hard. Poor Jake!
Friday, April 18, 2008
I felt sorry for anyone who had to drive around in a car yesterday. The pope-a-thon at the new baseball stadium snarled traffic everywhere. Clients canceled their massages because they knew the heinous experience of trying to get from where they were to where I was would deprive them of any moment of peace they might attain on the massage table.
Though always a bit panicked when clients cancel (since no one pays me when I don't work), I did have the presence of mind to notice that the day was spectacular. Instead of brooding, I took a nice bike ride. Exercise instantly improves a mood.
In fact, a wonderful bike ride on a gorgeous day in a beautiful city can even disrupt a brood. Miraculous!!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I saw the Pope yesterday. Not on purpose, mind you - it would never occur to me to go stand in a crowd to watch a Pope ride by. As a Jew, the whole idea of a central religious authority figure is weird. We Jews have our heroes and our minor popes (I think of the great Talmudic rabbis of the middle ages, for instance), but none of us would think to name one person as the rabbi of rabbis. Never.
In Reclaiming, too, the wiccan group I was once a part of, a core value was based on the idea that every person is his or her own spiritual authority, and that no one needs a mediator to talk to God. In practice, there was a very clearly defined structure of spiritual hierarchy, but we tried not to notice because we were so idealistic.
Religious celebrity is strange, compelling even to spiritual anarchists such as myself. For instance, last year I went, on purpose, to see the Dalai Lama when he spoke at the Capitol. I felt a little thrill pass through me when I saw him, proving that I'm not immune to the glamour of people whose lifetime calling is to talk to God. The "Hugging Saint" of India comes to mind, too. People sit all night waiting for a chance to hug her. Think about it.
I would never have known that the Pope was about to ride by if not for the acupuncturist who casually mentioned it as I was leaving after yesterday's session. Sure enough, not two minutes later the crowd, a half-block away, began to cheer.
As you can see in the shadow pic, the couple in front of me held hands as they waited to see His Eminence. After he passed by, the woman next to me said, "Oh my goodness!" about ten times, very very reverently. For her, a quick glance at that small shriveled man dressed in white, riding past in a bulletproof ice cube, was a potent reminder that she could be close to God. That's a good thing to have happen during a weekday lunch hour, right? Right.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
There are advantages to getting older. Really, there are! For me at least, with every passing year I'm better able to trust the cycles of life. Weather, seasons, moods, relationships, job situations, friendships and every detail that makes up my so-called life is ever changing, always unfolding - and usually to the better way, if I pay attention. My guess is that this is true in some way or another for you, too.
Even the difficult moments, the inevitable conflicts, confusions, illnesses and mistakes can be transformative. When I was younger, I could say the words, but I didn't believe it in my heart of hearts. Difficulty seemed like punishment to me, or at least unfair. What's unfair about life? Or maybe a better question is, what's fair about life? Well?
Right now the midatlantic spring is coming to a particularly delectable peak. This is the moment in the cycle of the year when the iris, tulips, azaleas and dogwoods reign over the landscape. Rather than rushing around like a maniac (which is my predisposition), my advanced age is helping me remember the importance of taking time to partake of the beauty of the passing season. It won't last.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The sun was out all day yesterday, shining brightly down onto the landscape, creating the most beautiful, sharp black shadows. Delicious!
I love shadows, I really do. My jones for shadows is one of the wavelengths I share with my beloved blog brother Steve, and (I expect) with a lot of people.
Jake's shadow is almost as cute as he is. In fact I've featured his shadow many a time on the blog. I like the short pudgy shadows cast at noon, and the long, tall shadows of early morning and late afternoon. During the summer, I'm grateful for shade, a type of shadow cast by trees in full leaf. In the shade, the air cools instantly. Shade is powerful.
Should mention, too, that I've spent many years exploring the metaphor of my own shadow, i.e. all the stuff about myself I really don't want to look at, or have no idea is there.
Shadows are marvelous, beautiful. Shadows add depth, help describe the contour of people and things. When I look at shadows, I understand more about what's casting that shadow. Shadows also help me better understand the light that's shining on the person or thing. When I can't see my own shadow I feel diminished.
My fascination with shadows is another facet of my mithraic nature. I'm celebrating the return of the sun after a long bout of overcast days this spring. It's great to be back in the light, hanging out with my shadow. Oh yeah!
Monday, April 14, 2008
So far, spring has been uncharacteristically gloomy. Even during chilly springs in DC, I expect lots of sunshine, but not this year. Based on how much more energetic I feel just by virtue of having to squint because of the light, I understand fully why it was so hard to live in Oregon when I did, way back when. I know there are those who feel soothed and happy under grey skies, but I'm not one of them.
It's handy to know that cloudy weather creates a sluggish, cloudy Reya. Also good to know that if and when the sunshine reappears, I'm likely to feel a surge of energy. The weather predicts me, as always. And, too, I worship Brother Sol, I really do.
Today the bright ball of fire and light, aka the sun, is shining at full mid-spring strength. The air is sparkling, birds are chirping and Jake is giving me a mournful look that means, "Let's get out into this dazzling day!" He's right of course, and so, I'm off.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
After this day of too many activities, I feel like I've been run hard and ... you know. It's good to be busy, but I don't have the endurance that your typical Washingtonian possesses in spades. Such a shame, since the ability to just keep going no matter what is the true key to success. I think it's more important than intelligence, people skills or even good looks.
There are thousands of Washingtonians who got twice as much done today as I did, who are just now, around 9:00 p.m., deciding where to have dinner. As for myself, a shower and a few minutes reading my book is about all I'm good for.
How do they do it? Please explain.
Friday, April 11, 2008
It warmed up yesterday, and the sun even came out for a little while (the weather has been chilly, drab and gloomy so far this spring.)
Along with the warmth and sunshine came the first wave of tree pollen. Initially you can't even see it (later it will coat windshields and gather in cracks in the sidewalks and roads). Even though it's still invisible, people are feeling it. Suddenly everyone is inexplicably tired. Under the initial assault of pollen, the body feels thick and heavy, mysteriously saturated. The running eyes and sneezing, etc. will follow in a few days.
Pollen is the stuff of life, the seed that makes possible the green lushness of the midatlantic landscape in summer. In my mind, I am pro-pollen all the way. Why, oh why is it, then, that my body receives spring pollen as if it was a wall of dark energy? Pollen can not and will not rip me apart the way dark energy is ripping the universe apart, but my body believes it will.
Speaking directly to my body this morning, I'm asking, what's the threat? What? As always, there is no response except a sudden need to blow my nose. Same as it ever was. Oh yeah!
Happy spring - I guess!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Unlike daffodils, who are always bowing low, tulips are upright, at least in the beginning of their bloom cycle. I love that upward, stretched out posture. Seeing them reminds me to stand up straight, extend my spine. Thank you, Brother Tulip! You, with your fully saturated colors and upright stance, seem so proud.
They are proud, in fact, until Jake mindlessly tramples one or two in his attempts to get the perfect trajectory for a pee. I love my dog, and I understand that if he can hang it high, the other dogs who come sniffing will be impressed, but his lack of appreciation for the ethereal beauty of tulips is a shame. Isn't it?
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Why do we focus so intensely on our problems? What draws us to them? Why are they so attractive? They have the magnet power of love: somehow we desire our problems; we are in love with them much as we want to get rid of them. Problems sustain us - maybe that's why they don't go away. What would a life be without them? Completely tranquilized and loveless ... There is a secret love hiding in each problem.
- James Hillman, The Essential James Hillman: A Blue Fire, edited by Thomas Moore
Thanks to Rob Breszny, my favorite astrologer, for including this quote in his weekly newsletter. What great questions! Oh yeah!!
Monday, April 7, 2008
Anyone who has looked at my blog over time understands how much I appreciate the sermon titles that appear every week, like clockwork, on the marquee outside the Unity Church at Seventh and A Streets NE. I know a lot of people who attend the church regularly. All of them rave about Sylvia Sumter, the minister with the mostess. Even guest speakers create excellent sermon titles at Unity Church. It's part of the culture, obviously.
When I saw "Four Great Denials" last week, it didn't take me five minutes to come up with ten denials that I fall into with regularity. I'm sure I could come up with ten more if I wanted, but who wants to admit to so many denials? Not I! Talk about denial! Whew!!
I wonder what Sylvia thinks the four "great" denials are? I'll never know since I have never attended one of her services. I'm afraid seeing her speak would ruin the magic of her sermon titles. It's a dumb excuse. I should go sometime, particularly because I've heard that the congregation has outgrown the church space and will move to Arlington next year.
Yesterday Sylvia talked about the "Four Great Affirmations." I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with four affirmations that truly speak to me. The way it works is, you're supposed to say out loud, in a declarative way, something you want to become. OK. Why not? But - when I say, "I am an excellent manager of money," the only thing that happens is I immediately feel like a pathological liar. I am not encouraged or affirmed. Perhaps I've been too ambitious in the creation of affirmations, who knows.
There are only two affirmations I say to myself on a regular basis. I believe both of these statements, and too, they help draw me up out of my spirals of drama, always a good thing. One of them is: I'm as close to God as I want to be, an idea I borrowed from the great Rabbi Manewith at Temple Micah. I also frequently say (and believe), Life is good and I am grateful.
Wonder what Sylvia Sumter thinks of as the four "great" affirmations? I'm so curious, but I can't imagine. Can you? Any ideas?
Sunday, April 6, 2008
A nice slow rain drenched the land through the night, and brought down with it the first showers of cherry blossoms. The little green pod thingies are also dropping from the trees, pods that contained the first of the green leaves, now slowly but surely unfurling.
Nature, too, has its daily grind, its seasonal, annual routine of birth, growth, maturity, decline and death. I wonder if Mother Nature gets impatient, just as I do. Is her impatience marked by sudden storms, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and the like? Or am I presuming too much, assuming that my bouts of restlessness are linked to the natural rhythms?
Presumptuous or not, I am enjoying the yearly phenomenon of collecting discarded tree blossoms and pod thingies in my hair as I walk down the street. It's like a blessing, a springtime ablution, to stand beneath a tree while the petals flutter down. It's like heaven, really! Get out there and stand beneath a cherry tree that's shedding. You'll see what I mean.
I love spring!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
I can imagine there are some pretty interesting conversations taking place across the dinner table in this house. Oh yeah.
I admire the people who live here. Don't know who they are, but I do know that they tolerate diversity of opinion, and too, they must certainly appreciate irony, to put these signs in the same window.
Variety truly is the spice of life. Bravo!
Friday, April 4, 2008
Sometimes I love my daily routine. I should say usually I love it. Wake up at the same time, do all the morning stuff in the usual order: shower, meditate, walk dog, drink coffee, read blogs, go to work, etc. Routine makes me feel safe and secure. I feel contained in a rational structure of first I do this, then I do that.
Some days I feel trapped by my routines and long for anything different. The usual habits seem stifling, make me claustrophobic. I begin to wonder why why why why. You know the feeling?
When I was younger, sometimes I would just pack up all my stuff and move to another city, start from scratch there. The benefits of these impulsive moves to far distant time zones were mixed. I did get to start anew, oh yes, but I also had to rebuild my life over and over again which meant it wasn't possible to evolve my relationships with the landscapes, communities, jobs, or neighborhoods in which I lived. Lord, I was born a ramblin' man! And my life was a house of cards, rising and falling every few years in accord with my restlessness.
Not so much anymore. I could see remaining on the east coast until the moment I complete my daily grind forever. These days I look to the turning of the moon as a substitute for moving to a new city. It's not as dramatic, but serves the purpose. Or at least that's what I tell myself when I get antsy.
Boy have I been antsy lately! But ... today is the turning of the moon, offering me the possibility of recovering a molecule of beginner's mind. That's a good thing. Welcome, new moon. Welcome!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
The sky has been absolutely wild the last few days. Bumpy, heavy overcasts, fleecy angel wings, screaming blue yonder, wisps like gauze covering the highest portions of the atmosphere, soft cumulous clouds and lots of contrails. We've seen every variety of sky lately - sometimes within the span of a couple of hours.
Can you hear that BOING sound? Yeah, that one. That 'sound' is a signal, to me at least, that the initial upwards surge of spring energy has shifted (as it does every year) to a spiraling, unfolding cacophony of expanding life force.
Naturally, the dome of the sky reflects what's going on at ground level with its constantly shifting dance.
Summer and winter hold steady in a consistent way both on the land and in the air. Of course the sky shifts around, of course, but not the way it does during spring and fall. Especially during spring, every day the landscape has transformed itself. It's crazy! Makes me crazy.
Makes me crazier, should say. Happy mid-spring!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
I have a good, dear, wonderful, and very bossy friend who, in the middle of any one of my spirals of drama and/or exhaustion, will come scoop me out of my inner sanctum in order to make me have some fun. She is very insistent. In fact, resistance is futile. So I tend to say YES, even if I would prefer to stay home and worry all day. I'm always glad, after the fact, that she was able to pry me out of my inwards spiraling mood.
Yesterday I was taken, "by force," to the Tidal Basin in the late morning. In spite of the cold, blustery wind and spitting rain, it was truly fabulous to walk beneath the pink bowers, to gaze across the silver water at the Jefferson Memorial.
Because the weather was "bad", we didn't have to slog through mobs of visitors. There were people there, but not too many. We even found a very convenient parking place next to the river.
The trees were in full bloom. Wow.
In a way, it was even more beautiful to see all that creamy pink against a gray-white sky (instead of the usual springtime vivid blue sky). I felt washed in pale pink, surrounded by white light, invigorated by the silvery wind and rain.
Almost always, it's a Very Good Thing to take time away from sturm und drang and instead just have some fun. I tend to forget, since I love my melodramas so much (apparently). I'm lucky to have good friends who help me remember it's OK to relax. Oh yeah!