Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One Car Family

Yes, my dear hubby and I have made the switch. We are now a one care family (well couple).  He sold his beautiful Lexus and now we are relegated to my 2001 gold Nissan Sentra (snazzy).  We call her Rum Toddy.

Why, you might ask, did we elect to do such an egregious thing as lose a Lexus and keep a Sentra?  Well, we are pragmatists. And, we are savers.  The Sentra simply made the most financial sense.  (As tragic as it was seeing the Lexus -- which we affectionately called Pearlescence-- go). Sigh.

It was not my idea, it was my husbands actually. Over thanksgiving break he read a book of mine called "How to Live Well Without Owning a Car".  It is a great book. Financially very convincing. So convincing in fact that we decided to make a go of it.  Well, we decided to have only one car for the two of us. 

The key to not owning a car is that you have to be able to reliably get to work without a car.  Everything else can be figured out.  And, by NOT having a car, you have more money to do exactly that and in fact live a better/ higher standard of living and happiness as a result.  A compelling argument to say the least.

Well, the hubby has only to walk about 200 yards to his office everyday so there you go.  We meet the essential criteria for NOT owning a car.  But, the effect has been interesting.  For one, we have already become better planners, and that is a very good thing for me.  We talk about how we can both get places we need or want to go.  Often there is compromise and on his part because I will have the car at work all day on some days, but the benefits exist and have been wonderful.  My favorite benefit is that we get to talk to each other more. We get be in each others presence as we carpool in one direction or the other.  It is actually really swell.  Car time can be processing time, play time, and quiet time listening time.  We don't ever hold "deep" conversations or try to address conflicts in the car, it is just time to let ideas come and go. We get to share with each other in a relaxed way, safe from other household disruptions and distractions.

Our car talks are  a form of enjoyable decompressing.  We get to plan our next meal together or make plans for the rest of the day or evening.  We get to be close to each other and breath a little.  We notice things like hawks flying overhead, funny cars, crazy antics of other drivers.  It becomes processing time and bonding time.

The financial benefits of course will be felt more long term, but for now I am really enjoying it.  Of course I am the one who has the car the most.  Sure I should probably do more of the driving, but he often offers because he isn't driving his car all day long!  So far, I am very happy and will keep you posted as we venture forth one car at a time.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

If I were a poem. . .

If I were a poem I would probably not rhyme
not even slant
because its just too much work to give up the right word just so the sound can rebound
But I might have a groove, a rhythm of sorts.
Long short long,
short short short long,
long, long, long
Whatever it would be, it would most definitely be awesome.

If I were a picture, I would probably be in color.
Frustrating for me because
My most favorite pictures are in black and white.
This would bum me out because I would never be able to live up to my own black and white standards
Still, I might be a landscape, with tall trees
Or I might be a portrait of a girl on a swing.
it's hard to tell. . .

If I were a film, I would 100% be a short.
Even though I am tall, I know for sure that I would be a short
Maybe as short as 3 minutes.
20 at the max
I would be filmed in long steady shots, maybe even one shot.  One long image developing its way across the screen and into the hearts of the audience.
People might marvel at my beauty, but the key to me would be the poignancy of it all.  Some might call it elitist, erudite or pretentious. But,
It would undoubtedly be powerful and people would notice. 

If I were a postcard, I would be sent from Australia,
Not that I've been to Australia, but the dry earth and clear sky would mimic my fair, sensitive skin next to my blue-grey eyes
Plus, it seems like a jovial place, and I like being jovial.
Also, I love space and from what I have been told, there is a lot of it there. 
I would read G'Day and include an image of a rocky land formation
I would be sent overseas, to Spain or Germany

If I were a dance, I would mostly likely be an unpredictably eclectic blend of Modern and Jazz
People wouldn't know what to call me. 
So they wouldn't, and instead they would describe me as charming and fun.
Or they might say they liked the humor (aka complete ridiculousness of the whole work) and the costumes. 
I would wear sneakers or go barefoot unless the floor had splinters.
However, if at all possible, I would spend a good portion on the floor
rolling about in ways that were essentially meaningless and largely uninteresting to watch but were fun to do.
People would sit through these patiently, waiting for me to get on with the theatrical, funny stuff.
I would take my time rolling but feel guilty about it the whole time

If I were a short story, I would have only 4 characters, a girl, a boy, an old man and a dog.
The dog would go with the boy.
Most likely.
Or the girl, if she had short curly hair and went by Jo

If I were a house, I would be two stories, and spend all my time upstairs where the warm air collects on cooler evenings. 
I would have a garden, but feel sad when the alternately hot summers and cold winters burned the edges of the plants.
I would beg for new paint, but miss the paint chips that had collected at the corners
and the relocated family of Opossum that have been living below me happily for three seasons.  They are a sweet bunch, quiet and nurturing to each other.

If I were a piece of furniture, I would not be a couch, nor an ottoman, nor a rug, nor table, nor lamp, nor coffee table.  I would have to be a outside rocking chair because I love the flow of going back and forth and back and forth until I fall into the mists of dreams and memories, or fantasies of my life. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Challenge of Doing Less

Sometimes the solution to a problem is not doing more but doing less. But, Uggh! Why is not doing something so much harder than doing something? 

The whole "less is more philosophy" is certainly a principle I fully embrace in my choreography, but as I have been explaining in past blogs, it is something I have been struggling to embrace in my daily life.  And, now I see the same epidemic in nearly everyone around me. It seems everyone is doing too much and has a hard time accepting that not doing something is the healthier more balanced option.

For instance, a student came to me with an injury (the 3rd in a list of recent injuries) wondering what else she could do to help it heal.  I had to explain that her body wasn't hurting because it needed her to do more for it, but rather than it needed her to do less. To give it a rest and allow it to heal on its own.

But, when you are a busy bee (like this student and I are), you are used to taking an active role in all aspects of your life. Therefore, choosing to refrain or become passive is a tough pill to swallow.  If only there was a real "tough pill" to swallow!  That would be easier than suffering doing nothing at all.  Because then, at least, you would be doing something.

So, I asked her when she had time to rest. She said Saturday she had nothing. . . only three hours of rehearsal.  ONLY 3 hours of rehearsal?!? What is the world coming to that 3 hours of challenging dancing is nothing? 

You can't rush healing, whether it be physical, emotional or psychological. Yet, if you are like me you want a quick fix (or at least a guaranteed fix), like "take this supplement 3x a day and you will be better, do this stretch before and after each class and you will feel like new in approximately a day and half."  But, instead, the prescription is to stop, quiet yourself, listen and wait. 

Meditation is exactly this. The practice of doing less.

Next time you feel imbalanced ask yourself: Does this concern call for doing more or doing less?

Chances are the harder option (whether it be more or less) is probably the right one.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You are My Witness

Part of blogging for me is about getting ideas organized and out of my head.  Sometimes they are sweet, fun and joyful other times they are thick, heavy and soaked in my mind's slop.   I started this blog because I felt I had something to say, about teaching, dance, meditation, life, whatever. I didn't really know at that point what I was going to write. I just knew I had to take the leap and put my words out there.  But, I didn't want to impose my thoughts on people; so, a blog seemed like a harmless way to put my thoughts out to the world. People could take them or leave them at will. No personal offense taken either way. And, this blog still serves this function.  But, I have since learned it is something more. You are something more.

You are also my witness.

By writing things out, I not only sort them out for myself, but I am held true to my word because I have you as my witness. Although, I may not know all my readers by name. I see that people are reading and this is powerful stuff for me as a mindfulness practitioner. 

In describing my experience of the world to you, I can better see things as they are. By putting my experiences down into this blog, they become more real, because they are real not only for me but now for you as you share in this experience.  I feel bound to be honest because I am honored that you take the time to read.  I know this isn't a new concept, and I am sure there are thousands upon thousands of blog entries saying exactly this (with different words).  But, I am now saying it to you.  I am experiencing this internet sanga for the first time in the first person, and I want to say thank you. 

You give me the gift of being my witness, through the joys and through the shit. 

Life really is like a road trip: always more fun with friends.


Checklist (a boring title for a boring topic) ugh!

So, my checklist practice has been an interesting one. I was feeling so very good about it all, until, then, in the very next moment, I wasn't.  As a practice, it is something I think I will keep (for the time being).  Checking one more thing of my list before I head to bed is a good practice for me, because (in general) it lets me sleep better with the knowledge that I am not a complete failure.

Of course, I have many successes in life. I see those. And, no, I don't really believe that I am a complete failure (at least most of the time). But, it seems that if anything can get me down, it is the feeling of being overwhelmed.  It crashes upon me, and I drown in my own mucky slop of self pity and indecision.

I want to be everything to everyone.  I care what people think of me. . . and the checklist, well, it is a good thing. But, it taught me that I have a hard time disappointing people.  And, the fear of disappointing someone is seemingly just as guilt producing.  I see now that a checklist is more than just a boring old checklist. I now see it as a list of symbols of commitment which is a much larger issue.

The checklist is just the tip of an iceberg that is my issue of over commitment. Those who know me and are reading this are snickering right now with "I told you so's".  Because, I never take a real break. I might take a day or maybe two.  But I never have nothing to do.

But, that is the norm right?

"Come on! Everyone is doing it!"  (Read with the inflection of childhood taunters)

It's hip to have your fingers in a million different pies and to celebrate that you were able to accomplish so much without dropping one of your spinning plates.  It's cool to be stressed. And, if you aren't, then you are not doing enough! Aren't we evolved beings who know how to time manage with perfection? Aren't there entire TV networks devoted to being the perfect multi-tasker, family woman, professional, friend, cook, etc. etc. etc. . .

I got conned into thinking I could do it all. That I could look perfect and be perfect and have a gazillion things on my mind while keeping my cool.

Well, news flash. It doesn't work that way. At least not for me.

I am surprised at how much recuperation time I need.  A LOT!  I see other people go all day long without a dip in energy (or, at least it appears that way to me) but my bio rhythms dance to a different drummer. I am up and down, powerful and vibrant, then slumping and sleeping.  I am not the tortoise; I am the hare in this children's story of life. I sprint then rest, then sprint, then rest.

Why do I feel like everyone else can sprint all the time?  

I am productive.  But, my overcommitment is taking a toll on the quality of my productivity.  I am ready to shift away from breadth and into depth. One thing on the checklist that is really worth committing to.

Just not sure which one that is yet. . .