it’s an ephemeral life

into the fog

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.”

~ Pema Chödrön

When I discovered that Friday’s WordPress photo challenge was the word ephemeral, I knew I wanted to post some cool photos I took one foggy day. Then I started to think about fleeting moments. Then impermanence. Which led to the pondering of Buddhist concepts. And finally, my head burst into flames.

(My head is always doing strange and unpredictable things, like the time it fell off and rolled around on the ground. Well, I don’t need my head to write this post. Truth be told, I was barely using it for my previous posts anyways.)

I don’t consider myself a Buddhist. I believe and don’t believe in a lot of things. I simply decide what feels right and then try to apply it to my life. Intellectually, I get the ideas within Buddhism, but they can be difficult to practice for someone who likes permanence. When Joy enters the room, I want her to stay awhile. I ply her with wine and chocolate and the gyoza she likes from Trader Joe’s. But she always has somewhere else to be. She has a very busy schedule, that Joy.

i heart fog

Enter, Gratitude.

Photography is a wonderful way to practice gratitude. If you’re like me (oh, lucky you! the sweet realization!), you capture these moments in time and then – everything changes. You feel gratitude because what you saw and experienced will likely never happen the same way again. And if you’re like me (oh, dear. poor you.), you get secretly giddy over the fact that while you were living in the moment, you captured it and made it permanent. Take that, Buddhism!

In case you’re wondering, Buddhism can take this kind of ironic taunting.

Joy, pain, gratitude, disappointment…they flow in and out, in constant motion, and sometimes they are tangled up together. I suppose that’s what happens when you stay open – you allow more of everything to enter. It definitely helps to keep your sense of humor and perspective intact. So that’s why I’m going to end with the photo below, because photography also causes you to notice things in a different way, which is, like, totally awesome, Dude.

If you’re like me – twisted, easy (…careful…), head falling off all of the time but knowing how to play it off, and willing to laugh at yourself, then…Joy!! I proclaim that we can be friends!! Because honestly, this has all been a test of our potential friendship. Okay, okay…here’s the photo:

when trees photobomb each other

when trees photobomb each other

 

the past is present

 

rising moon

 

“…the nature of perfection is always mutating. What constitutes
enlightenment today will always be different tomorrow.
Even if you’re
 fortunate and wise enough to score a sliver
of “enlightenment,” it’s not a static treasure that becomes
your 
indestructible, everlasting possession. Rather, it remains
a mercurial
knack that must be continually re-earned.”

~ Rob Brezsny, Free Will Astrology

The other day I wrote about all of the different voices that arise when blogging. I forgot to add a voice. My mutant voice. The ever-changing one.

As I had mentioned before, the blogs I like to read are homey and friendly, where the writers are brave enough to share their honest emotions. They write about what they love through cooking, their creativity, their family life. And it comes from their heart. You can feel it. That’s when it hit me: I have the hardest time doing this.

About ten years ago I started to post random thoughts on the blogging site Xanga. In those days, I wore my humor like an overcoat. On top of three other layers of coats. When I took one off, I immediately felt a chilling breeze and I would quickly slip on the heavy layer again.

My main voice was sarcastic, snarky, and glib – towards others and myself. Sort of a more aggressive, on-steroids version of my current writing. I’d get comments here and there after I wrote these types of posts. Occasionally, my heart would write what it wanted to write*, but people didn’t respond to those posts. My learned Pavlovian response?: stop doing what you’re doing. people don’t like it. do something to gain favor. must perform.

My humor, such as it is, is my best weapon against invaders. But I’ve also employed it to connect to some of the most curmudgeonly people and the shyest of shys. It diffuses situations. It helps me shrug off the things I really don’t need to worry about. And, I have to say, I do like making people laugh. Still, I don’t want to hide in it.

Gah. It’s a bit painful to read some of my old stuff. Granted, I think some of it is hilarious (I do say so myself), but I led with my humor so much, you couldn’t see me. But that was the point. I didn’t want to be seen, at least, not my real self.

Witnessing a past You certainly can inform the present You.

What I want to do, what I really want to do, is start from the heart and go from there. (With a few non-sequiters thrown in for good measure. I can hardly stop this as I can my sense of what is funny.) I tried way back when with one of my old Xanga posts that I’ve added below. Ironically, I was reflecting on a past Me, much like I am now. Reading it made me feel a bit sad for both of the girls who didn’t feel safe continuing down that road. It’s not too late though, you know? Never too late to wander down a new path or even revisit an old, overgrown one. The kind of path that takes you back yet propels you forward at the same time. Because, deep down, you know you have to cut through that overgrown tangle of weeds to see yourself more clearly.

So, I take my own shyest of shys and share my younger self, sharing my even younger self. Taking a coat off…

[the post below is unedited. it’s awfully difficult to post it without wanting to tweak it over and over again like i usually do. there. another coat off.]

As I was cleaning/clearing my desk at home, I found a journal I had written in four years ago and starting reading a few of the entries.  I was struck by one of the comments I made:  “So I’m sitting in the back of the car, looking at the Big Dipper…and just feeling like giving myself over to it…I saw myself swimming in the ladle…These are things one can only do in silence, in the quiet space of one’s own thoughts.”  This may not seem like much, but I think I used to give in to my imagination more, I remembered my dreams more, I took a moment in the moment.  Don’t you think we spend enough time during our day making sense of things, getting things done, and using the left side of our brain?

We weren’t living in L.A. at the time I wrote that entry – we were living in a place where we could drive a few miles and be in the country, where I could stare out the window and see truly blue skies and green rolling hills, where you could gaze up and see a million stars at night.  There were creeks and cows and trees and vineyards.  When there is beauty and peace around me, it reminds me that there is more to life than just navigating it – I actually FEEL life.  I had a glimpse of it this morning while on my walk.  It was a beautiful morning in L.A. – rare blue skies and puffy white clouds – but I was bombarded by those things I mentioned in my previous post.  If Mother Nature was attempting to give me a peace offering this morning, L.A. just took it away by its very nature. (9/26/05)

Our voices are ever-changing. That’s the beauty of writing. It moves with us wherever we go.

*this reminds me of Woody Allen saying “the heart wants what the heart wants” to explain his affair with his now-wife. I am happy, very happy to find out that it was Emily Dickinson who first said in writing, “The heart wants what it wants…

I Blog, Therefore I… (aka I Blog, Therefore I Hear Voices)

…Am…

…who am I?

I just started a blog workshop run by Susannah Conway called “Blogging from the Heart“. It’s caused me to think about my own voice. When I hear it, it sounds nasally, low, calm (though I’ve been told it can sound like I’m depressed) and bright and full of bubbles (overcompensating for those that think I’m depressed)!! My perception of my own voice – vocally and writtenly – is that who I really am? I feel like it’s one of those cases where I am too close to myself, therefore it’s difficult to see myself. No matter how I try, I can’t look down and see my own chin. But I know it’s there.

The blogs I like to revisit are the ones that are homey, welcoming, friendly, honest, and heartfelt. I want to write this way. But I continually want to make jokes. With a side dish of old-man humor. I find it very difficult to stop this way of writing. George Burns keeps knocking down my door.

In no discernible order, I tend to write with a/an:

unconfident voice – hi. no, not hi. i’m not here.
uncertain voice – where am i? who am i? where am i going? do i have to make a choice?
loving life voice – helloooo!!! look at your beautiful/handsome self! isn’t it all wonderful?
sure voice – i can do this. you can do this. we’re going to get there. we’re here, right now.
old-man humor/Fozzie Bear voice – waka waka, nudge, wink, didya hear the one about the…
philosophical voice – be. trust. faith. heart. it is what it is, so make room for it.

That’s a sampling. I have many voices like everyone else. If you only have one voice, it would surprise me. Again, you would be the kind of person I would like to tag and study. I’m joking (again), but not really. People fascinate me. I like hearing and learning about their process, how they make their choices, what makes them who they are.

I love it. I love people.

Now leave me alone.

Sometimes the grumpy voice likes to get the last word.

Now go out and be who you be and do what you do.

That’s the marriage of my grammar-goes-wild and philosophical voices. They don’t appreciate grumpy voice.

I never know how to end these things.

Perhaps it’s best to be pulled off the stage and –

 

Match #1: The Chef

I’m in love!!!  

Not really.  I haven’t been on the date yet.  This is the pre-date portion of the program (I’ll be adding my post-date thoughts below).  I wanted to know what it felt like to be one of those women – I’m convinced they’re a different species – on “The Bachelor”.  You know, already in love with the idea of falling in love and then getting their heart broken by a guy they hardly know.  I loved him and I thought he kinda liked me!weep, weep, feelings of despair…  Girl, get it together.  He’s dumber than a rock.  Join me on Match.com – we’ll find a guy for you that’s as smart as or even smarter than a rock!

You know, maybe I should get a job counseling these women.  Or work as a Marketing Strategist for Match.  I’ve found my new careers.

This is my first date through Match.  I’m trying to be optimistic by starting a numbering system, but that didn’t seem to work too well with Wine Guy.  One date, the possibility of another, and then he fell into the Bermuda Triangle of Missing/Non-Responsive Men.

My profile had been public for a few days when I was IM’ed by The Chef.  I was on the site, trying to figure out how to edit something in my profile:  how do you…but I just changed it…let me try!!PING!! [IM window popping up]ack!!  what the hell?!  I nearly jumped out of my skin.  When I peered at the small message box, I recognized the photo that came along with it.  He had viewed my profile earlier.  I thought he was kind of cute and more importantly, he appeared to be normal.  With shaking hands (I know, pathetic), I decided to respond.  And what do you know…our senses of humor were kind of the same.  Sarcastic?  Check.  Self-deprecating?  Check.  Age?  Oops.  He’s 41 years old.  I’m…older.  But that’s the good thing about Match.  He knew my age, height and hm, what else could have scared him off – oh, yes, the profile itself.  He read it and still contacted me.  He’s a brave man.  I have no idea what other women are writing, but I started my profile with sarcasm.  Isn’t that the way to a man’s heart?

Post-date Analysis  

Great date.  Fun, relaxed (well, he was), easy.  A guy’s guy, not a dude.  There’s a difference.  My ex was overly sensitive and emotional, so it was nice to be with someone who seemed at ease with himself and his guyness.  Not only is he a chef, he’s an Executive Chef, which I have to admit is kinda sexy.  Not the title itself, but the fact that he is in charge and has to know how to manage people.  Our sensibilities and senses of humor matched, and I thought he was cute, so I would definitely go out with him again.  The mystery question is whether he was attracted to me or not.  I have absolutely no idea, which is probably not a good sign.  I can’t think of anything positive said in my direction except he said I was tiny, he liked my boots, and that I eat slowly, which is the healthy way.  Like I said, nothing to go on.  I made him laugh, but so could a Chihuahua with an underbite, so that doesn’t say much either.  We hugged at the end of the date – don’t worry, I didn’t overhug him – and he said he would call me.  My first generic “I’ll call you”!!  I’ve officially joined the ranks of the dating masses!

By the way, I guess the sarcasm in my profile is not the way to a man’s heart like I thought.  I was talking about my profile when The Chef said, “Guys just look at the pictures.”  But I put a lot of thought into my profile and – “We’re guys – we just look at the pictures.”  Oh.  So much for that ‘A’ I was going for in creative writing.

I sent him a message today thanking him for the date.  If I don’t hear from him again I’ll have to chalk it up to his non-attraction of my 3-D self.  There’s nothing I can do about that.  I’ll simply have to go on *weep weep despair* and try to find a date that finds me more funny and charming than that damn Chihuahua.