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What is it about squares? The evenness, the stillness of a square. Predictable. Measurable. Intense. There are no questions. It's form is brilliant. Circles bore me with their never ending curve and whining - while squares stick to their point, end on time and dream wicked, raunchy dreams. Squares get a bad rep. No one should be called a square, they need to be crowned as wise royalty and taken very, very seriously. I could care less about a rectangle or a triangle. They have nothing to say and trip over themselves with their stubbornness. Squares sit, solid with absolute confidence.
Parliament and True Cigarettes. Inhaled regularly. Certain times were mandatory. Bus tops. Always after a meal. First thing in the morning. Inhaling Kool's. Occasional Marlboro's. Benson and Hedges - light. Ah, the comfort of the nothingness. Doing nothing, but moving hand to mouth and breathing. They were my friends. I lit them up and they simmered me down. Sitting at the end of Frank Court leaning up against the brick bulkhead, watching the boats in the creek, watching the ripples, simply breathing was enough as long as I was breathing in the smoke that circled itself in and made everything okay.
Here on Jefferson Street sitting at a wooden table, cricket sounds, breezes through a cracked window, chalk board with no public notices and a baseball trophy. Just a few observations of many, many things. Melted candles, the top of a broom, a tape measure. Things. Endless amounts of stuff to trip over, mentally and literally - but if these things were taken away, I'd miss them. I'd miss the rug that gets in my way, and the lizard that holds open the door, the dirty laundry that could dress all of Wisconsin, but more then that, yes, I'd miss this man.
Leaves fall and die. Seasons end. Labor Day is really the beginning of a new beginning. Sharpened perfect pencils. Loose leaf paper. Notebooks pre-doodled and fresh with just a name. No love letters or penmanship. Waiting on the first spelling word. Braids and ribbons in the hair. Crooked bangs. Five sets of clothes laid across a table. Plaid dresses and shiny shoes. No more barefooted feet and wearing the same clothes 7 days in a row. No more summer knishes and italian ices and dibble dabble. It's done. Only three months of ninety-ish days and it's over. Over.
Rushing and speeding around needs to be documented. What we look like when spinning from one event to the seemingly important next is simply ugly. Brow perplexed, body tight, lips pursed, driven toward the future instead of in the moment. Even though sun shines, health ripples through our bodies, peace exists somewhere in our day - we still feel compelled to speed things up, trip over what is present to get to what is ahead. We leave books unread because we'll get to them on Tuesday, letters unwritten because tomorrow is coming, i love you unsaid, trips not taken, life unlived.
V for victory in Vermont in spite of the familiar and repetitious mind. Sweet memories linger though: the swing, rocking chairs, tent loving, garlic clove girls, "why are there no peppers in my mouth right now?" Eat, Pray, Love philosophical chat. Eminem rap dance. Spanish music tango in the kitchen cooking pesto chicken with peas. 10 mile bike ride and car ride to East Dorset. Granny smith apple pie, a night of theatrical skits: Vermont in 30 years, laughter, aging. The morning pack up and road out of the driveway past the "for sale" sign stuck back in the mud.
The difference? No signs for tag sales, not to mention hay stacks and the occasional cow and horse in a field. Rarely does one come across a pond, a quarry, or tents - even mosquitos. Owls hooting.. crickets calling, stars glaring. Sometimes an ambulance resembles the sound of....nevermind. So vacating that metropolis of, well, mild madness is simply sane and soulfully invigorating. One big soul stretch. Hearing yourself blink and breathe is a necessary prescription to take with a cool glass of water at least 52 times a year minimum and the daily dose of Manhattan becomes palatable, even precious.
Snapshot: I spend more time in the office then in my own living room. That's why red fluffy pillows are on a window sill, an elegant water pitcher that makes me want to drink from it, 15 minute hour glass timer, a photo of my man, a birthday card of bright orange flowers from my boss with gift of an Exhale massage, two half marathon walking metals, a fan, calendar art of three squares a day, an exercise ball, dumbells, post its, hand cream, yoga mat, magazines, a love spoon, a banana, frog magnets, tea - oh, and some work too.
Dimensionality - loving this word. Instead of showing just one side of the self, it is a greater gift to reveal the full dimensions, the mascara dripping, the scattered side, the fog, the fullness and the darkness. Too often editing rears it's masterful sword and theatrics are tossed into the mix and it's too much of an inauthentic game. Overall, full dimensions are beautiful with their colors, emotions, the highs, the lows, the perplexed brow, and the bliss and glee - but, Moms fall off beds, brothers lose toes, neighbors die, love hurts and we are all the better for showing it.
As the Blues Travelers song goes - "Look Around" - if all else fails, and words are at a loss, write what is smack dab in front of the gaze. Flip flops on a wooden floor, Simba at the end of the couch, flowing curtains and a September breeze through a window. A plate with a red heart, ashes of a deceased Nala, and a meditation chair. A new book "Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire - 101 Luminaries Ponder Love, Death, Happiness and the Meaning of Life." How often the tender details of the moment get buried in the darkness of a worried mind.
Beams of light surrounding and illuminating ground zero embracing the lives of the innocent. Going about their business on a normal day and they never went home. Today standing under he beams of light on top of a parking garage, seeing the crystal misty rain under the beams pointing to what appears to be a heaven - even if there is no heaven, it's hard to deny the force of these lights and the comfort it gives to the viewer. Shining light on what is missing, but lending hope to the heartache - and mixed with the light, a gentle cascading rainbow.
How fragile sparks of inspiration can be. If we allow others to be the determining factor on flickering flames of ideas it surely extinguishes. Sometimes good ideas are best to grow quietly. Best to protect and share carefully or practice not sharing, practice simply doing. Even if that means the one closest to us is left on the sidelines. Usually it is the one closest to us that may without even knowing it, hurt us the most. It doesn't matter to others, as much as it matters to oneself. Just because it's shared, doesn't make it real. Lower the volume.
Lightness is contagious. Such an ease to be around people who take themselves lightly. Going about life with enormous intensity can repel people instead of draw them in. It's exhausting. Make that choice each day, light or dark? It's the luxury problems more often then not that take over the mind. If basic needs of life are met: health, home, friends, love, family - there is nothing to fret about. Put on a light comfortable frame of mind, music, clothes that cause no thought, stay focussed on simplicity and the gentle touches of life, and spread it lightly throughout the day.
Dazzle and fluff. The surface is such an easy place to land, yet it is dreadfully transparent. It's clear to others when there is not a solid foundation underneath an act, a gesture or a deed - but more then that, it's clear to oneself. In certain environments it is necessary to hang out on the edges, the weather, the outfits, hairstyles - but important to come back to the center and the place within that is real. An exercise to remember when greeting someone is to say nothing about their appearance, have no agendas and to really ask how they are.
Simplicity of a cat. That's the way to live. Lay back, take it all in, yawn, eat when hungry. Ignore the people who are annoying and make too much noise and fuss. Meditate in the sunshine and occasionally do a downward dog pose. No pressure since laying on the corner of the bed all day and night is totally permissible. Walk away when your name is called. Spy on neighbors for hours. Stalk a bird through the glass and chase a spider. Purr endlessly and purr loud. Rub up against a leg and roll over, spread eagle and spread joy.
We are told that love is blind, but is it tone deaf? Sarcasm and barking can leave permanent scars. As much as there might be love - deep, familiar love - if words are said in a mean, hurtful way, that harsh tone is like a drill that chisels away at love. Tone is an important force in a relationship, especially in longer relationships. So, not unlike the hundreds of cell phone tones, there is a moment, a single moment before we speak, when we can switch the tone to the one that chimes more pleasantly and is easy on the ear.
If given a choice, is it laughter or intensity? Not as easy to gravitate toward the giggle, but intensity gets stale. When laughter is chosen, the overflowing washing machine is ridiculously funny, a delayed plane is obscene and a cat wiping her butt on the floor is visually hysterical. It's a pleasure to hang around people who laugh and take it light. Easy to forget that all it takes is simply turning the annoyance or trouble on a different axis and inviting in a fresh perspective, shelf intensity and remember it's a damned choice... oops, a loving choice to laugh.
Are relationships tit for tat? Is there ever equitable distribution of energy? I give 50%, you give 50%. That would be the proper mathematical equation, but that's not factoring in limitations and life circumstances. Not factoring in the inequitable distribution of expectations and reality. Expectations 98% vs Reality 2%. Most of the time that is the equation of life. There is the giver, and there is the givee. However, if the giver's resentment rate is too high on the balance sheet of life, then it is time to sit back, re-calculate and re-evaluate the value of the relationship.
When it comes to the value of family - just how important is it? Well, there have been countless boyfriends and love filled, lust filled adventures. Friends met in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Ireland, Canada, tribes in California, troops in Bali, Sacred Centers, Meditation circles, University sisters, a Mellon & Lloyds, 3-star restaurants, major newspapers, award winning magazines, recovery communities, meditation communities, community of communities. There have been droves who have come, some for a season, some for years. But, if today, news came that life would only allow just one more day, seeing family, yes, family would be my last desire.
An exercise in determining what and who is most important in your life? Do your last will and testament. Plan the music at your memorial service. Where would it be? Who are the attendees? Are you an organ donor? Is there money you are leaving behind, who gets it? What objects stand out, who gets them? This is not just a gift to yourself, but to who you love. Write a list of the people that matter most. This list will illuminate social priorities today. This difficult exercise will reveal volumes on how to live fully, frivolously and fabulously today.
If all else fails - and at a loss for words and magic - count one dozen blessings. Gratitude lists seem so corny, but they work magic for a quick attitude adjustment, so 1) When intolerant of brats at work, be grateful for the job 2) When freaked out about aging parents, be grateful they are breathing 3) When moaning about menstral cramps, be grateful the period came 4) When the boyfriend is less then perfect, remember the single days 5) always be grateful for health 6) Home 7) Food 8) Music 9) Autumn 10) Television, 11) Frozen Yogurt and gratitude lists.
How important is it to capture memories and moments of our lives? Nothing captures a moment more then being fully present. Nothing. There are times when it's just not possible. Photographs grab hold of time and allow the possibility of visiting it again in our minds. Hike a mountain, see a grandmother's smile, visit sixth grade and that communion outfit that made you feel like a bride. A photograph allows feelings to rise to the surface just like a song. Nothing replaces the brilliance of being in the moment, but a photograph touches it and makes the sweetest, deepest attempt.
That phrase, "this too shall pass" - how true is it? All the fretting done in the past about future events is a thief of time. The good stuff passes, the bad stuff passes. Guaranteed. Discomfort comes, and goes. Thinking about things in the past that caused fret, realizing that none of the scenarios imagined in the mind ever came true causes loss of precious time. Zillions of hours lost. When illness comes all we want is health, when worry comes all we want is peace, and all we ever really need to know is that situations come to pass, always.
Admit the truth in twenty words or less. All the tap dancing around the true feelings takes more energy then the feelings themselves. Just have them - cry, whine, stomp, bitch. Why is it acceptable to have the smiles and good news, but it's unacceptable to have the bitchy feelings. It's refreshing to be around people who tell the truth and don't put a rosy colored glass up front. Cry in the taxi cab. Bitch at the smoker walking in front of you on a hot summer day. Hate the Six Flags commercials. Bitch about the schlepp culture. Then move on.
What is it about doing a geographic? It's simply necessary to turn living on it's head and look at it through the eyes of another city, country, another person's bed, or a borough. Getting stuck in one place for too long causes cobwebs and clogged arteries. Move. Live in three or more places before death - New York City, Northern California and Burning Man - and if ever possible India or Paris. Staying too still is stuck. Every seven years or every so often don't just flip the couch to the other side of the room, get geographically re-acquainted with yourself.
Cell or no cell, that is the question. In a relationship, does it cause ease or complication? More often then not the absence of a cell response or text exclamation mark causes hurt or conflict. Do we need it? Maybe it's better to not have the date because he's late, or meant to say 63rd instead of 64th. What happened to planning well? The 21st century happened. We're swimming in plastic - maybe the ideal is not to be emotionally affected by the imperfections caused by this instrument not made of flesh and bones, but of buttons, wires and no feelings.
Ladies, what's money got to do with it? Everything. Everything. The question is, does it? The uneven power given over to this force can drain a relationship of it's vibrancy. Yet, it is a force that is a proven destructive statistic in love. Even though it's paper, it sadly determines his human value. The rescue me syndrome runs through the psyche of women until, oops, the reminder comes that men are, just that, men - a different gender, human beings with a penis and chest hair, not the prince, not the knight swooping down to kiss all our cares away. Sorry.
Feeling clogged? Trust endorphins. Minimum of 40 minutes of cardio can turn thinking upside down. All of a sudden solving that work problem is easy, a painstaking decision is made, the anger rate of 95% falls to 10%. Worry lightens. All from breaking a sweat. The "sit" in sitcom doesn't mean you can't stand - and move during 30-40 minutes. Get elliptically correct and a sweat dripping down the back. Let the music or tv show take you. Push past every bit of resistance that keeps time, and says there is not enough. Sweat transforms and cracks open the clear.
We take ourselves everywhere we go. Then why do we travel with such angst? Pre-travel is usually the most stressful part of a journey. The familiar angst of what to bring, preparing to be away from work, home and routines. Endless details of covering all the bases. There's the prep and then there's the re-entry. Ideally, it would all be pleasurable - and it can be, if we make that choice. Begins with breathing, and realizing that no matter what state we are in, physically or emotionally, always look down, and ask, in the moment, where are my feet?
"Fall back or spring ahead"? When the beginning of a new crisp month happens, its not just about the task of paying the rent, mortgage or cable bill. Its not about the renewed commitment to the treadmill or perfect 400 calorie food plan that includes colorful greens and magic. What it really is - is a wicked opportunity to move into a new "batch" of living fully and capturing the moments so there is no need to "fall back or spring ahead", but instead an opportunity to not bitch, but live fully because this "batch" of days will not come again.
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