life of m

Sustaining the Self and Beyond


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Chickens live sometimes, too!

Just before leaving Arizona, I joined my sweetie on a short walk with his husky Blue. We followed the usual path, starting along the dirt road that leads from his house toward a field that lays open between two large, rocky outcroppings in the area of boulders around his home called the Granite Dells.

As we headed back toward the house, we saw something dash across the road in front of us, skirt up and over a boulder, and disappear.

“He’s alive!” I cried out, overjoyed. “I can’t believe it.”

“I thought I had heard him crow once this morning, but I didn’t want to say anything until I heard him a second time,” partner confided.

“But he didn’t crow again, so I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to get your hopes up.”

We walked around the rock, and peered in. The rooster was right there and very much alive as only a chicken can be.

“I wonder if he has been hiding out,” my partner mused.

“Do you think the hens might be in there? Maybe, he is protecting them. That is a rooster’s job, you know.”

“I guess that sometimes, chickens live after all,” I said.

“For a little while.”

“Well, that is all any of us can hope for right?”

I felt happy and hopefuly as we headed back to the house. I have always anthropomorphized (given human characteristics) to animals, both stuffed and living, and I know that I have watched too many movies that do the same. Yet, I felt strangely proud of these chickens living out their lives according to their own design.

I can learn from these chickens. I can live by my own design, for a little while at least.

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Bonne année

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
~ T.S. Eliot

Another year begins anew. I have been reading online posts of New Year’s resolutions. Thus far, my favorite is from a friend in France, who wrote:

“En 2014, pour faire original, je prends des mauvaises résolutions.”

Translation: In 2014, to be original, I will make bad resolutions.

I know this is meant to be tongue in cheek, yet considering how quickly I break my own vows each year, perhaps this is the way to go?

Every year I vow to stop biting my fingernails and typically fail within a mere few minutes. I could attempt to set myself up for success for a change.

These past few years, I have been making changes in my life that seem to be leading me toward a more sustainable existence. Thus, I think for this year I will continue what I have started trying to do:

Listen to my inner voice.

Believe I am valuable and have something to offer the world.

Avoid rolling my eyes when given a compliment.

Give away my possessions.

Simplify.

Pursue my passions.

Be patient with the universe.

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2013 in review

Thank you all for your love and support this past year! I will “see” you in 2014.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Free to be

A friend recently complimented one of my blog posts. He told me I had courage for being so open about my life in my writing.

I have been reflecting on the comment ever since. It made me happy. I love a compliment, and I was honored to learn that someone was reading my blog.

I have been struggling with the idea of me being courageous. It is not the first time someone has told me this.

I can clearly recall taking a walk in Juneau with a friend and colleague while we were waiting for a flight to Gustavus after high seas kept us on board a cruise ship all the way to Ketchikan.

She told me she thought I was brave to leave my husband and move to Alaska alone in December. I told her that had I known how difficult the move would be, I was not sure I would have made the same decision.

Deep down, I could not imagine having made any other choice. I was on a path.

I do not consider myself a particularly brave person.

I am more determined and stubborn than brave. Maybe my stubbornness has been confused with courage? When my mind is set on something, I am not easily deterred.

I am beginning to think of courage as a form of self-acceptance. The more aware and accepting of my self I become, the less I am willing to hide that self or pretend to be something different.

It has taken most of my years on this planet to get to this point, and I still have a long way to go.

There is a delicate balance between self-acceptance and arrogance. Somewhere along my path, I have learned to make disclaimers and statements that communicate an apology to the greater world for the kind of person I am.

It is so strange. I hear the words come out and think to my self, “Why am I apologizing?”

At the same time, I worry that if I show confidence, it will be seen as bravado. And what if I am wrong? What if my confidence is perceived as false?

I will keep writing and ruminating. I will continue to listen to my own inner voice and try to align the inner words with those I share with the outer world. I will continue to work on giving my self permission to be me, no apologies or disclaimers.

I have found that my mind and body do not fair well when I try do be something different. There are realms of my life where this is necessary, but it is my hope that I can eventually disentangle from them. This kind of practice is unsustainable and unhealthy.

It is my hope that in sharing who I am, I may give others the courage to accept who they are and to share that beautiful person with the rest of the world and with me.

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Jews and Soup

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“What is it with Jews and soup?” my friend asked me.

We had barely walked in the door of my parents’ house, and my mom was offering us homemade asparagus soup. My friend looked at me and mouthed the words, “Larry, have some soup.” It was a reference to an episode of Orange is the New Black where one of the main characters, the Jewish son, is seated at the dining room table of his parents’ house. He is asking his father, a lawyer, for advice. His mother is making forays between the kitchen and the dining room.

“Larry, have some soup,” she tells him in a thick, Jewish accent.

When we watched the scene in Orange, we both laughed. “Ok, my mom is not like that.”

After a glimpse into my freezer, I realized that maybe she was. My freezer is regularly packed with homemade mushroom barley soup, chicken and matzo ball soup, onion soup, asparagus soup, and the list goes on.

The difference between these two moms is that mine is real. For this, I am grateful. The food my mom provides is filled with nutrients, the most important being love.

I often wonder if at some point in my life as a woman of Jewish descent, I will wake up one day and speak with the same accent, my transformation complete.

Already, I mimic the accent, feed people, and search for bargain deals wherever I can find them.

Stereotyping? Why yes, I suppose I am. I stereotype mostly in jest, but there is some truth to the banter.

Maybe, being a stereotype is not such a bad thing. I mean, couldn’t this term easily be exchanged for another. I am a product of my own lived experiences, which includes familial, cultural learning.

If only the problems of the world could be solved with soup and love. My family would be certainly be doing its part.

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The Final-Shutdown Days 15-16

Can it be?

Will this be the final shutdown post? Every day of October has been a shutdown feature, and I can say that I will be thankful to write about something new.

I will be leaving the volume on my cell phone turned up tonight so that I may hear the call to ranger arms in the early morning hours. It seems that I may yet be donning grey and green once more.

This shutdown has been invaluable in offering time and space for my creative voice to take precedence. I am reminded of how precious this kind of time is more songwriting in particular. I was gifted hours upon hours to immerse myself in another person’s story.

I love being an interpreter.

I love writing songs from stories.

More and more, this is what I feel I have been called to do. I just need to find a way to follow that calling.

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Enough-Shutdown Day 14

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The longer the shutdown endures, the less inspired I am to come up with clever titles for these posts.

I do, however, continue to be inspired to write.

Today brought the same amount of angst-inspiring fodder—continued rant and threats from crazy ebay lady, increase of monthly mortgage payment, student loans looming on an ominous, financial horizon. The list goes on.

Yet today, I was tired of giving in to anger and emotion. The past couple of weeks—save the three and a half days my sweetie was in town—have been emotionally taxing and draining.

While I am disappointed with the government and continue to be concerned about my financial future, I think I am finished with letting it suck me dry of buoyancy and love for life.

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Instead, I am envisioning my life, as I desire it to be. Rather than focusing on what is and might be, I am sending out my intentions to the universe and focusing on my hopes and dreams for the future.

In this, the best of all possible worlds, I am tending my garden. In my own mind, body, and spirit, I can and will raise remarkable fruits from my labor.

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