Monday, June 30, 2008


My trip to see my Mom went really well. She is in the second stage of alzheimer's disease which means she is in and out of what I consider reality. There are moments when she is really lucid and we were able to connect with such deep love. Looking in each others eyes with no words I felt as if I could see into her soul and it was filled with light. It helped me to know that who we all are beyond our personalities is a huge luminous being made of love. My mother and I have always been very close and I have worked hard to separate myself from her and understand where she leaves off and I start. I had the chance to ask her for forgiveness for all the times I have shut my heart down to her and to offer her forgiveness for the times when I felt hurt by her either physically or emotionally. It was a powerful process and at the end I felt lighter than I have in weeks. I am grateful that her disease isn't all of who she is and that she still recognizes me. I don't know how long that will be true.
At times my Mom was anxious and agitated and filled with fear to the point of panic. I could usually console her by encouraging her to breathe deeply. One evening I couldn't help to soothe her and she was really suffering. I realized I could hang out with her with her suffering and breathe deeply myself and say,"I can understand that you feel this way. I care about your suffering. May you be free from suffering." After about an hour she calmed. It was very challenging to hang out with her while she was in so much pain and to stay in my circle and keep my heart open. I did a medium job and medium was good enough. Afterwards I did a lot of releasing work because I felt like I was her. It was so uncomfortable to feel as if I had merged with her. I am so grateful I have the tools I do to help people and to help myself to release unwanted patterns and conditions.
The next day Mom was much more relaxed and we played games and hung out and watched birds and then she helped me to go over to the assisted living side and do laughter yoga. Those people have mostly intact minds and bodies that need someone else to take care of. I love doing laughter yoga. Getting people to laugh for no reason is so healing for body mind and spirit and it is a hoot. They were willing to roar like lions and make their ugliest faces and to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine especially for people who don't get to laugh much. I felt so much better when we were done and I think they did too. It feels so good to be silly and playful and to move beyond caring whether other people think I am an idiot or not.
Gary was heading out for Oregon and we happened to be at the airport at the same time. We had a short fun rendevous before he had to go through security. I love little adventures like that. I am very glad to be home although I am very tired. I am also very glad to be writing here again. I so enjoy sharing my process with you. Is there something you'd like to do that is silly and playful and that you could let yourself do even if other people thought you were wierd? Your little boy or girl inside might be happy to do it with you. You might even ask her or him for a suggestion.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I have been feeling very sad today.I'm not sure why. As I sat in meditation this morning and brought my attention to my sadness, I noticed how tight my heart was.I like knowing what's going on. As I breathe, I notice the tightness eases up but no answer comes. I have the feeling it is something about going to see my mother and knowing she has moved into a different stage of Alzheimer's disease. When I was growing up she could be very loving and generous and then something would switch and she could be mean and critical and sometimes slap me in the face. It was hard to relax because I didn't know which Mom I would get. Though I have done lots of work on this and it is way easier for me to relax,it is still challenging. For the past five years Mom has been very sweet and loving though she wasn't able to remember much. When I speak to her on the phone she is still that way and my sister tells me she has been angry and agitated and has hit an attendant at the Alzheimer's facility. I am afraid of which Mom I will get. I know the dance is all different now because I am an adult and I have reasonably good skills with staying centered in the midst of whatever. It all depends on what the "whatever" is though.I know that now I have a lot of options I didn't have as a kid in terms of how I can react. I am good at getting support and good at removing myself if I need to.
I feel guilty that my sister has my mother in the same city now and has to take care of everything and that I see my Mom every few months.It has always been easier for me to be closer to my Mom and for my sister to be closer to my Dad.I think it is healing for my sister and my mother to have so much contact.I appreciate all my sister does and I try to be supportive to her in the best way I can. One thing I can do is be there and give Cynde somewhat of a break for the weekend. As I write this I realize my sadness has lifted. The heaviness in my heart has eased up.It helped that Gary came over here on his way to a concert and listened to me. It is a treat to spend a few spontaneous hours together. Because of the long distance between us it is rare.Usually we don't see each other during the week and then we spend most of the weekend together. Our arrangement has its upsides and downsides. Now I am feeling more of a sense of openness and curiousity about my trip. My mother will be who she is and my sister will be who she is and I will be who I am. Who knows what will happen? I only know that what will happen will happen.That actually sounds like an adventure. Is there an adventure you'd like to have this weekend? Could you be with yourself about what might be in the way and make a plan and see what happens? I probably won't write until Monday. I'll talk to you then.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


When I was a little girl the only place I could go to have some privacy was the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet became my refuge. It was a sanctuary where I could be alone with my thoughts and feelings. No one would be in my face. Over the years I have spent many hours sitting on the toilet and have found it to be a great source of inspiration and intuition. As an adult I discovered my sacred circle and that drawing it around myself allowed me to be protected with a boundary while keeping my heart open. One day I realized that the toilet seat is a circle and acts as a reminder to me to be in my circle. Sometimes when I am challenged by a decision or want to come up with an idea I can retreat to the toilet breathe quietly, ask for help and find clarity.
When I started my meditation practice in my twenties the sense of creating time to be alone and get to know my inner world was already familiar, thanks to my early toilet training. It's funny how a strategy for survival can be a vehicle for later thriving. Little did I know at the time I was retreating from my family to the safety of the bathroom, that meditation would save me from my anxiety and open up new worlds of being. James Hillman in his book, The Soul's Code theorizes that every thing we do throughout our lives leads us to where we are going. He sees early passions as acorns to the tree of later interests and accomplishments. On my preschool records it said, "She is always singing and loves to perform." As an older child I had an imaginary classroom of children I would become absorbed in teaching and people who would share bits of their life stories with me. I loved to do art projects. I would like to allow that little girl to contribute to me more. I think I'll have a conversation with her and ask for her help about expressing myself creatively. She was very good at helping people get clear about something they wanted.
What do you know about your early interests and passions? What did you do as a child that you could lose yourself in? How do any of those acorns contribute to the tree that is your life? Is there a way you could allow these acorns to manifest more fully?

Sunday, June 22, 2008


This post is green because it is about being green with envy. My friend Lynne has become a rock star. She lives in Austin Texas and has been a close friend for twenty years. After her last relationship ended she realized that while she was in it she had lost herself and had stopped doing all the things that nurtured her. She had especially stopped nourishing her creativity. Many years ago she had created a musical group and became the lead singer. She called herself and the band Catharsis. She wore a slinky red devil costume and was her outrageous self. In the last two months she has begun to resurrect Catharsis in a present day version and has assembled a group of musicians to support her. She sent me some pictures of her first gig in which she has a big old black wig and a sexy costume and is singing passionately into a mike. Well, all right I am exaggerating. She isn't exactly a rock star yet.
She is, however, the lead singer in a band she created that is getting gigs. That is a major accomplishment. You see I have had a long time fantasy of being a singer. Envy gets bad press. When I noticed how envious I felt, I was ashamed. I noticed that supressing envy was also supressing the excitement I felt for Lynne and her success. I decided to breathe into the envy fully and allow it some air time. The shame melted away and helped me to see that I was using denial of my envy to deny my own accomplishments. Allowing myself to feel my envy let me see that I was using Lynne to ignore my own singing. I sing mostly with myself and with my chanting group Spiritsong. We meet once a month and do multicultural sacred chants and jump around and have a hoot. I am grateful to Lynne for helping me to see that I am already a singer because I sing every day. I sing in Laughter Yoga and chant in hatha yoga and teach chants to the people I work with sometimes. I chant before I meditate and in my car and sometimes with groups. It was very healing to let Lynne know how excited I am for her and how much I support her in putting herself out there as a singer and to cop to my envy. Telling her about it honestly and directly and from my heart, allowed her to hear me. We both felt closer. She was flattered and felt supported even by my envy. After getting that out and being heard I could let her know what an inspiration she has been to me over the years in taking risks and living outrageously. My version is different than hers and it still counts. Is there someone you envy? Could being conscious of your envy be a vehicle to help you to acknowledge your own gifts?

Friday, June 20, 2008


I am watching the trees sway back and forth in the strong wind through the window behind my computer. Dark clouds loom in the sky. I am hoping it will rain so I won't have to water my lawn. I just remembered that I watered it this morning. I feel relieved about not having to water and scared that I have been forgetting so much lately. Today I left my daytimer at my chiropractor/healer's office and had to make another trip there to pick it up. I was grateful that his office manager called me and that it was close enough to go get it before she left the office for the weekend. It made me aware of how much I depend on that book and how lost I am without it. The other night I went to the PSYCH-K practice group and forgot where I parked my car. I remembered parking it on the other side of the street and in the opposite direction from where it was and because it was dark it took me a while to find it. Once I get scared that I've lost something it is harder to think clearly about where it might be. In my house I make myself stop running around urgently searching and breathe deeply and quietly and picture or sense or ask where I saw it last. Usually I get a clear answer and go there and find what I am looking for. I may even have heard to go look where it is in the midst of my urgent search and ignored it. When I am worried or scared or anxious my breath becomes shallow and choppy. Shallow and choppy breath means less oxygen to the brain. No wonder it is hard to think clearly
under stress. So when I forget things I wonder what is normal aging and what is more than that? That scares me even more. As I've said before my mother has Alzheimer's.
Last night I was reading a story in my favorite magazine, The Sun, about a woman whose mother had Alzeimer's and came to live with her family for the summer. It was called Koans from my Mother. The author saved her sanity by laughing to herself about the bizarre things her mother said and imagining them as zen koans similar to the zen koan of, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Koans are questions given to some zen students by their teachers to jar their minds out of the ordinary ruts and open to greater consciousness. In the story her mother would say something like, "I've known your sister Sue all my life why don't I know her mother?" The story was about accepting what is with her mother's process and not trying to correct her reality. When I am with my Mom that's what I do. I don't try to change her or fix her or get her to see things my way. I don't try to get her to see "reality" as I experience it. I spend time with her and listen and love her and go along with what she is talking about. I figure her reality is just as important as mine. Several visits ago she was telling me about this place she visits where she has a whole different life than the one she has now. She lives in a small town and knows everyone and has lots of friends and rewarding work. Who knows if this is a mixture of her past and a dream? Who cares?
It seems more important to be with my Mom where she is and to love her for that. She is a great teacher for me about being in the present because the present is all she has.
Is there someone in your life who has come to you as a teacher about accepting what is? You don't have to like it? You don't have to let go of wanting things to be different. You just have to accept that things are as they are.
Maybe it's just as true of ourselves as with others. That's a good thing to remember.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


It is so great to get back to work. I feel so blessed that I get to hang out with amazing people and love them. I wish that every person could find work they love as much as I love mine. Tonight I get to go to a PSYCH-K practitioners meeting. It is great fun to get together with other people and practice PSYCH-K with each other. I always learn a lot especially from people who have been doing PSYCH-K much longer than I have. It is exciting to do PSYCH-K because of the shifts that occur so frequently when people balance for the unconscious beliefs that are in the way of what they want in their lives. I was doing PSYCH-K with myself today about an upsetting letter I received. I balanced for I am O.K. with Carol (not her real name). I realized that what I wanted was to feel that I am O.K. with myself regardless of how she feels about me. I can understnd that she can be critical of me and even understand that she feels the way she does. Another person can have their opinion of me either positive or negative and I can still be O.K. with who I am. It is important to take other people's feedback and look for the truth and opportunity to grow in it. I have used this letter to clarify and modify some of my behaviors. That was very helpful. We can take in feedback without taking it on. After the PSYCH-K balance I felt O.K. in the face of her feelings and more centered back in my circle. I appreciate this tool and the others in my toolbox that help me to experience and release what is in the way of well-being and to share that with others.
I appreciate you all continuing to send family and friends to me whom you think my work would be helpful to. It is a joy for me to do the work that I came here to do.

I just read an interesting article in the Yoga Journal wisdom newsletter about self-acceptance and yoga. It talked about how many people especially women have difficulty accepting their bodies are they are. Our culture with its emphasis on youth and thinness make it even more challenging for us to be O.K. with the bodies we have. The article quotes a study of college students that found that yoga with its emphasis on going inside of ourselves can create more growth in positive body image than other more competitive exercise programs. A good yoga class helps us to honor our bodies as they are and to let go of comparing ourselves and our performance. At noon I get to teach yoga. I love creating a safe space for people to stretch and grow. I used to think I could never teach yoga because my body is less flexible than most yoga teachers. Now I think it can be helpful to others that I am a non-threatening non-pretzel. Teaching yoga has helped me to accept my body as it is. Practicing yoga helps me to continue to grow in body mind and spirit. I love sharing that opportunity for growth with my yoga students. If Wednesday at noon works for you and the spirit moves you, come to my class. If you want to find another time check out the Whole Yoga schedule ( or a studio near you. If you already practice would you find it useful to think about the benefits that yoga has brought to your life?

Monday, June 16, 2008


I have just returned from my trip. I feel refreshed and renewed. I hightly recommend getting away by yourself. After 36 hours of alone time I was a new women. I camped by a stream and it didn't rain.At home it is a challenge for me to give myself time to read fiction because I get so lost in it I don't want to do anything else. Gary lent me a book of short stories that was quirky and fascinating. I so enjoyed hanging out in the tent reading my book. It felt good to not get obsessive and to read as much as I wanted to. Short stories are easier than novels because I can put them down and go do other things. I had a hike and a soak and tasty meals. The night was very cool and I used up lots of sleep lying there psyching myself up to get up in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom. In the morning I slept in.I loved doing what I wanted to when I wanted to without any shoulds.I realized how much I enjoy my own company and how relaxing and peaceful it was to be in nature. With my hearing aids in I could hear so many different birds that it felt like an aviary convention had been scheduled to meet over my tent. I am grateful that these little machines bring such an auditory vibrancy to being in nature.
When Gary returned I was really ready to be with him.We saw a cat hanging out with three deer right next to the tent.They were doing a dance with each other as they scoped each other out. Watching them I had such a strong feeling of connection with those four beings.I worked hard to bring myself back to the present from my internal critical tirades with Gary. At least I rarely puke that part of my process on him. He gave me some valuable feedback about generalizing when I am giving him feedback. He asked that when I have something to clear with him that I start with an appreciation and then ask for what I want without saying always or never. If you remember, Thict Naht Hahn, the vietamese buddhist monk, calls it Flower watering. He says to appreciate the person first in a genuine and heartfelt way before bringing up a conflict. Gary calls it sharing something with him in a way that he can actually hear it without feeling hammered.The skillful way would be," I appreciate how much you are working on hearing my feelings and when I said I felt scared to camp by myself what I wanted was to be heard and not given solutions." The unskillful way would be more like what I did. "Whenever I share my feelings with you and make myself emotionally vulerable, you always try to fix me and don't hear what I am saying. From now on I'm not going to share my feelings with you." Flower watering does wonders in allowing the other person to feel held in love in the midst of a conflict. Forgiveness is in order because sometimes both people are triggered at the same time and neither is speaking mindfully. Then it is important to do some repair work and cop to the unskillful words and move back to the intention of using all that transpires to get closer together. Gary and I work well together and we are both getting more willing to own our defensiveness sooner and sooner. I appreciate that he stands up to me about my stuff and that he is almost always so clear that we are meant to be together even when I am wavering. On our first date we shared our committment to using a relationship to grow spiritually.
Saturday was our third anniversary of meeting. Although extremely challenging, I have grown so much in the last three years in terms of being able to be myself in a relationship. I have much to learn and I think I have picked a good person to learn with. I am going to say goodnight now. I can tell by how many typos I'm correcting that it is time to go to sleep. Could there be a personal retreat in your near future?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


This day started off in a way that really sucked. I was making veggie juice and I couldn't find the carrots I knew I had bought yesterday. After scrounging through the entire refridgerator several times it dawned on me that I might have left a grocery sack in the back of my car.Sure enough there it was- filled with salmon, humus and the carrots. Most of my protein for my upcoming camping trip had been stewing in the back of my car for 24 hours. I was surprised that even though I was irritated with myself for spacing out the sack, I wasn't mean. A year ago I would have carried that salmon on my back until it was quite smelly. I soon realized that because the salmon had been frozen it had probably kept the other stuff O.K. I cooked the thawed salmon and preceeded to get ready for my trip.By letting go and forgiving myself for my mistake the day got better from there. Sometimes it really is possible to let go of blaming ourselves and to preceed with what needs to be done. It let me know that things work out, although rarely ever as I plan.
I get to go to my favorite hot springs for four days.Monnya and I spent many a happy weekend there when she was growing up and I am safe and comfortable there. I am lucky to be able to take this trip.
It is an opportunity to commune with nature and to relax. Gary came up with the plan to combine his business with our trip and to give me a day to myself in my most sacred place.I appreciate his thoughtfulness. When I am in dire need of alone time it often isn't pretty. I can be irritable and critical. He will have a much improved vacation after I have time alone. He is a smart man.
I haven't been camping for a while and I am excited and a little apprehensive. The last two days at the hotsprings we are staying in a cabin. That is more of what I have been used to in the past ten years.Imagine me sleeping in a dry tent comfortably and peacefully lulled to sleep by a babbling brook. I am looking forward to hiking soaking eating meditating and doing yoga. I have been cooking lots of stuff so I won't have to prepare much when I get there. I can just chow down.I am always a little nervous when I am far away from a grocery store so I bring enough food for a small army.
Let's hope there is room in the car.I want to enjoy myself and to be accepting of myself and of Gary. I want to be able to roll with what happens and forgive myself for the way the trip doesn't fit my pictures. I would rather let go of my pictures and embrace my life as it is.
What is something you could let go of and forgive yourself for? Do you have any thawed out salmon you are still holding on to?
I will write when I return on Monday night. I will miss connecting with you. I am sending love and light to you through cyberspace. Andrea

Monday, June 9, 2008


Here's an update on the progress of my mindfulness project with cuticle picking.I feel good about the process of noticing when I want to pick my fingers and being compassionate with myself about it. I have even begun to kiss my own hand to celebrate being mindful and add to my compassion.The desire to pick comes up dozens of times a day.Sometimes I notice it when I have begun to rub my fingers together.Usually when I notice and be kind to myself about it, I don't need to pick. Sometimes I go underneath the desire to the anxious feelings beneath. I am learning to soothe myself about my fear which is often about being afraid of doing whatever I am doing wrong. Breathing into that fear often allows it to release and to be replaced by a sense of confidence.Just now I was afraid that what I was writing wasn't clear and I began to touch my fingers. I noticed that and talked to myself about my fear. I was able to detour mid-pick. That deserves a kiss.
Yesterday was a day filled with too many people and not enough alone time. I was in a social situation with people chatting. I had to strain to hear them and when I did what they were saying was mostly not interesting to me. I felt drained and anxious and unsuccessfully tried to signal to Gary in the midst of the conversation that I wanted to leave. There is that trying thing again. Gary and I need a prearranged signal that either one of us can use that says," I want to leave as soon as possible." Then I don't have to try and signal him I can signal him.
I felt frustrated and I bypassed my mindfulness of wanting to pick and picked my fingers. I was surprised and then chose to pick for a while. I gave myself permission to alleviate some tension in that way. However today I noticed the behavior had returned. I decided to be compassionate with myself and to recommit to noticing when I wanted to pick rather than continuing to knee- jerk to picking.It seems human to return to a habitual behavior in a time of stress. It felt good to be accepting rather than castigating about that. Rechoosing my intention made me feel stronger. I didn't like picking my fingers as much as I did before. I discovered that not picking my fingers really alleviates stress more and picking builds more anxiety. Mindfulness allows me to be kind to myself and experience the source of the anxiety so it can release. Picking my fingers takes me one step further from the anxiety and feeds the pain body.(The pain body is what Eckhart Tolle calls the accumulation of suppressed pain that each person holds inside of them)It reinforces that my feelings are scary and that it isn't safe to feel them.Letting go of picking my fingers lets me know that I have the power to be loving and show up for myself even when I am anxious.It gives me the opportunity to be more fully present with whatever is happening.That gives me confidence and feels good. I learned this by letting myself pick my fingers.This isn't a deprivation diet it is an awareness practice.It seems to me that kindness can really heal. Did you decide it would be useful to you to chose a habitual behavior that you would be willing to be mindful about? If so what did you chose and how is it going?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What is reasonable?

What is reasonable to want in a relationship? I just finished reading a really thought provoking article by Tara Brach called, "A More Perfect Union". She suggests bringing what she calls, Radical Acceptance, ( she wrote a book called Radical Acceptance which I highly recommend) to ourselves and our partners. Radical acceptance has two wings, mindfulness and acceptance. When we are upset with our partners ask within, "What is it in me that needs attention?" Find the sensation under the story of blame or defensiveness and experience that sensation with an open heart. Then ask, "Can I accept what is in my experience now?" I am feeling frustrated because it is so hard for Gary to talk about his feelings. I feel lonely when I know there is something going on with him emotionally and he isn't sharing it with me. I feel tired and drained because I believe I have to drag it out of him to get him to talk about it. Lots of times I withdraw instead. If I go inside with my lonliness I feel a tightness in my chest. That tightness is wrapped in sadness. There is a feeling that I won't ever get what I want that has been with me since I was a little girl trying to connect with my father. I took it personally that my father wasn't available emotionally and wouldn't connect with me. I thought there was something wrong with me and that if I just tried harder to be good I would get what I wanted. I want to reassure the little girl inside me that there was nothing wrong with her. Her Dad wasn't willing to show up in the way she wanted him to. It's O.K. that she wanted that from him, and she will never get it. I can feel the sadness welling up. I can notice it and accept it and experience it. That feels freeing. I feel a sense of release and peace. I can show up for the little girl inside me and honor her feelings and her desire for real closeness with other human beings who are vulnerable with their feelings. That seems like a reasonable thing to want.
I can be with myself when I feel lonely. Maybe I am lonely for my own attention and trying to get Gary to be a certain way to avoid my own lonliness. By showing up for myself with mindfulness and compassion I can get more clarity about what is reasonable to want from a relationship. Would you be willing to practice this process of bringing awareness and loving attention to yourself with something you are upset with your partner about? See what you notice.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


What a lovely rainy day. There's something peaceful about an all day rain. Tonight when I was done working and it had cleared I went for a walk and everything was so green. My flowers are humming. They look satisfied. I am quite tired tonight. It feels hard to write. It actually works much better to write during the day when I'm not tired. I know I will feel better after I write. I always do. It is very energizing to write this blog. It is theraputic to share things here both for me and because I imagine what I am writing may be benefitting you. I wonder who is reading this? Feel free to write to me at to share feedback with me about this blog. Is there anything you'd like to hear more about or less about? What has been useful to you? What has impacted your life?
Wednesday I taught my yoga class at noon at Whole Yoga( It was the best yoga class I have ever taught. I am teaching in a circle now and not mirroring. I am no longer saying"raise your right leg" while raising my left. It is an enormous relief to be letting go of that. Trying to mirror was very trying. Letting go of trying to mirror acknowledged that the trying was draining. Giving myself permission to do what I can do, I felt more relaxed and had more space for creative energy to flow through me. Let's hear it for honoring limitations. My critical voice was mostly quiet and I got to enjoy teaching and my students. Being present teaching yoga is quite blissful.
I listened to Barack Obama give his talk after getting enough delegates to be the democratic candidate for president. I was moved to tears by his passion and clarity and presence. He seems like a very humble, smart, spiritually developed person. A friend has a cousin who is a makeup artist who did Barack's makeup when he spoke in Denver. She said that most celebraty types whose make up she does treat her like she is part of the wall paper. When Obama was done giving the interview he gave as she was applying his makeup, he took time to speak to her as a person. She said he was very present and focused and genuinely seemed to care about her and to be interested in her as a fellow human being. I am excited about him running for president. I want to do something to help. I'm not sure what yet. I figure if I really want him to be our next president it's important to do my part to make that happen. It's very heartwarming to see how many young people support him. It's as if they have found a place in our political process that didn't exist before now. I remember the young leaders of my precinct caucus and how inspired I was after that meeting.That was when I decided to support Barack Obama. It gave me hope for the future to see these young passionate commited people who were willing to focus and do the work that needed to be done. Barack Obama just kept showing up even though in the beginning the odds were so against him. I respect that. His energy seems to be fully behind his intention. Barack Obama isn't trying to run for president, he is running for president. May the force be with him.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I am trying to write a blog about trying. That is very trying. Notice an object next to your computer and try to pick it up. You either pick it up or you don't pick it up.You can't try to pick it up. What does trying to do something mean? It means that I don't believe I can do it. The energy of, I am trying to write a blog about trying and I am writing a blog about trying are different. I have been trying to stop picking my cuticles and trying to stop reading and eating at the same time for many years. I can tell that I am trying because I am still doing both. What shifts something from trying to doing? What happens inside me when my energy is behind my intention?What makes me ready to do something or to stop doing something? When I am trying to do something it is an acknowledgement that my energy isn't fully behind it. If I tell the truth, I'm not ready to stop picking my cuticles or to stop eating and reading at the same time. Even though I know that both behaviors would be healthy to stop, I'm not ready to. I can tell because I haven't. When I am ready to do something or to stop doing something I can tell because I do. It would be more accurate to say that there is a thinking stage and a doing stage. The thinking stage comes before the doing stage. Sometimes the thinking stage can last years. Some people have a shorter thinking before doing stage than others. Most people have longer or shorter thinking before doing stages depending on what they are thinking about doing. I have been picking my cuticles since I was a small child. My whole family picked their cuticles. In some family pictures we are all doing it. When I am anxious that's what I do. Right now I am pausing from writing to pick. What is it that makes us ready to change a behavior and do what it takes? It seems to me that I have to be willing to be both mindful and compassionate with myself. I have to notice when I am picking and be kind to myself about it. I have to want to stop and be ready to stop. What would it be like to feel the anxiety that comes up before I start to pick my nails and to say to myself, "I can understand that you feel that way. I care about your suffering. May you be free from suffering? Then I could breathe deeply and go down into my body and feel the sensation that goes with wanting to pick my fingers. As I do that I am aware of tightness in my chest and the words, I can't. Picking is what I do when I am afraid I can't do something or I can't do it right. It also happens when I don't know what to do with myself or I am afraid that how I am doing something is wrong. It is all about fear. I am ready to be with myself about my fear and to soothe myself. If I say to myself I am here for you with your fear, it is comforting. I am ready to pay attention to wanting to pick my nails and to be mindful and compassionate with myself. That feels different than saying I am trying to stop picking my nails. I am no longer trying to write a blog about trying. I am writing a blog about trying. Now I am done. What are you trying to do? What is more true about what you are ready for?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Excuse me

Does it make sense to write this and feel rushed or to wait until tomorrow? What does rushing do to the quality of my creativity? Is there an option to write now and not rush? Gary is here and it is so challenging for me to do anything to take care of myself. He just barged in here and without saying excuse me started talking to me about the parched condition of the flower basket he bought me for mother's day. I am in my flow writing, girl interrupted,and got really defensive assuming that he thought I was killing the flowers with neglect. How can I do what I need to do and be in a relationship? He said he was really hungry and wanted to eat and would eat alone if I wanted to finish. I stopped writing to eat with him. Now I have eaten dinner and Gary is doing the dishes so I can finish writing.
The answer to how I can be in a relationship and do what I need to do is to communicate what I want and need. When I clearly and directly ask for what I want Gary is good at hearing me and responding with his truth. I can't expect him to read my mind and magically respond to what I want if he doesn't know what it is. Being defensive and unkind creates walls- setting boundaries allows me to keep my heart open. I let Gary know that I'd like him to say excuse me when he comes into where I am writing if he wants my attention. He is willing to do that. Now he came in here and stood behind my chair and made a monster pose over me not saying anything.He said he was just being playful when I reminded him that he agreed to say excuse me. I guess this is going to take some work. I am so used to being alone and having only myself to consider. I admire couples who have been together for twenty years and have in their own way worked all of this out. Maybe it isn't always by communicating clearly and directly what they each want. If I am aware of drawing my circle around me and setting boundaries there is much more chance that I will take care of myself and take Gary into consideration. When there is unbalance either because I am losing track of honoring myself or because I am losing track of honoring Gary
it seems important to forgive myself or ask him for forgiveness and return to my circle. This is a learning experience and the benefits are healing the pattern of taking care of myself when I am alone and abandoning myself when I am in a relationship. This is a challenge. I will think more about this and write more later. How do you take care of yourself when you are with other people?