Monday, August 27, 2012

Why I do this

There is always a moment.  Every time I visit.

Sometimes it is just a moment where I can feel the present moment stretching out for an eternity in front of me and an eternity behind me, and I'm just right here sitting with someone in the middle of it.  It has always been like this.  It will always be like this. Here we are.   It lasts an eternity. It lasts mere seconds.  It snaps away as quickly and mysteriously as it arrives.  But oh, that moment.

Sometimes a word is said or some small gesture, and my heart breaks open and this emotions fills me and runs through me. How can I love this stranger so impossibly much?  How could I not?  Who knew that you could feel this intensely for another human who is not a part of your "family"?   To experience the fullness of this other human being in whatever state they are in and to stand in awe of the perfectness of their existence.

Four hours a week seems such a small amount of time in the big picture.  But what can happen in those 4 hours is such good work.

It has been 4 weeks. I do not know how many more weeks I have with this family.  Last week it seemed like it could be months.  This week, I left wondering if I would see them again.  This family who was labeled as "challenging!" is so full of ease and is a source of respite for me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

hospice stories

I was sitting on the deck watching the light hit the lake and the hummingbirds and sweat bees feeding on sugar water while my patient dozed off.  I could faintly hear the sound of a tenor singing inside.  I stepped into the living room--there stood my patient's husband, transfixed in front of the television.

"Mario Lanza.  Oh, his voice.  So beautiful.  I love this aria," I said.

"He died so young. Why did he die so young? I always cry when I hear him. I don't know why. I just cry."

And so we stood there for an eternity.  Listening to Mario Lanza with tears streaming down our faces.  Because it was so beautiful.  Because we were all young once.  Because death is on its way.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


So, I have this friend. And he isn't maybe even my friend although I hope to know his girl better (and maybe be her friend. or not. I don't know. I just like these people).

I can't figure him out.  I don't want to figure him out. Sometimes I think "Shit, dude. I can't get down with your nonsense.".  Other times I think "right on and keep on keepin' on".  And either way??? That's all just me. Agreeing with him, disagreeing with him--all my projection and has nothing to do with him.

I've never met anyone like him. I don't know wtf his agenda is. Maybe he doesn't have one. Maybe it is easier for me to believe he has one.   But sometimes I want to dap him. Sometimes I want to smash his face and wash his mouth out with soap.   And you know what? I love it both ways about him.  The shit I like  and the shit I don't.  He's just him. In his entirety.  And he isn't consistent and he can hold conflicting ideas in his head and regardless of my politics, that is a thing to be admired.

A bit ago I was telling another one of my pals about him. And she didn't get it.  She said, "why don't you just delete him from your FB when he posts stuff you don't like?"

And I said to her what I'd say to him or his girl. "Why would I? I want to hear what he thinks, even if I disagree?

And then I went on talking about this dude. And he is a dude that on one hand, is a total stranger to me.  On the other hand? I trust him completely.  Without reservation.  There is a small, almost non-existent group of people that I trust like him and his girl.  But I do with both of them.  Without reservation.

And like I told this 3rd party:  "When you know that someone has your back, it doesn't matter what their politics are or if you like the same music or arts or if you can even share interests.  None of that matters. When the shit gets real, I absolutely know they have my back.  I have theirs. It doesn't need to be tested. It is. They are part of my tribe."

If I could offer a word of advice, it is this:  the people who truly would have your back are few and far between.   When you find those people, do not let them slip away. Even if outward appearances don't make it so obvious.  
I've been thinking about a woman I met this weekend who got her pilot's license simply because flying terrified her.  I hope I run into her again because I'd love to get to know her better.  I was thinking tonight about how much I admired her, even how envious I was of her.

And then it finally hit me.  "that was me".  Not really because I haven't had anything so intense like a fear of flying to overcome.  But event jus 6-8 years ago, I was a much more daredevil person than I am now.  And I miss her.  I think of her a little bit when I think of my goal of sky-diving when I turn 40, but really I have nothing between now and then.  I lived my whole life before becoming yoked as one big dare to myself. And now I dare nothing and just work, sleep, mush, repeat.   I barely remember the girl who says, "ah, fuggitt--why not??" And yet, I have been that girl for better or worse for most of my life.       And not in such a healthy/good way either but that is for a different venue.

I obviously don't like myself much these days.

I see glimpses of her, but I sort of divorced her.  I don't know why.  Like there was no more room for the girl who just started to just jump into things she was ill-suited for once I got hitched.   And she was still sort of new to me. She only came on the scene a couple of years before I coupled up.  I liked her. She sucked at stuff but she didn't give a fuck and just kept doing it poorly and still kept doing it because 'why not'? .  It was awesome.
I'm not the only one who has noticed this, I'm sure.  Awesome Husband is most likely much more aware than I am. I mean, there is a reason he married me.  ". And after a decade of living in our little bubble, I'm sure he sees me more clearly than myself.  So, really--what gives?

I don't know.  I have crazy flashes (i always have crazy flashes).  I told him 10 months ago that we should run away to a 3rd world country and give our lives in service.  This week I think I am on the wrong path (nothing new) and want to chuck it all and have a totally different life.

I think the 2 months away from moving to a 3rd world country is out.  I don't think he took me seriously anyway and now he has a path (but what if I was serious about myself?  I don't think I'm ready in 2 months, but I think I'm still heading there.  Like I have been for over 20 years)

Even if it is nothing that radical, this weekend made me realize once again I am in the wrong place.  I don't know how to reconcile this.  I am still operating on an either/or, but the answer is both.  I still don't know what that looks like.  I'm still scared of the kooky part of me.  I wish I had better answers.  It feels like it is just beneath the surface.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Heavy duty weekend, probably because I've been mostly tapped out already with our trip to NY last weekend and this little introvert is desperate for a few days of downtime.  It would have been incredibly heavy even if my fuel tanks were full.   I jumped in with both feet for the training this weekend, soaking it all in, sharing parts of myself that even surprised me.  And in the moment of sharing a deep secret, revealing my grieving heart--the universe once again brought me the one person in the room who could be on my wavelength and gave me back so much more than I gave.

There is abundance everywhere. 

I am reading a lot of Mary Oliver this weekend.  No surprise.  I'm deep sea diving.

Oh how I have hidden from myself for so many years.  I am peeling back the layers, shedding dead weight.  There is a person deep inside me who I don't really recognize and doesn't really recognize me.    I think I'm a little scared of her, she seems so much different than me.  (the robot me, that is).

But this i what I said this year is to be, no?  The year of me? Well, I guess a part of that is to figure out how to become less fractured and more authentic.  Today I feel like a dandelion, a big puff of air has dislodged the seeds and there is nothing to do but watch as they float away, see where they land, and what germinates.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

letting things fall apart

5 minutes after the start of the first hospice training, I wanted to put my head on the table and let out huge, shaking sobs and I can't really pin down why.  Or maybe there are a million whys that are all tumbling out at once and I am unable to find the correct words.

There is relief, there is fear, there is a big sigh, a feeling of coming home, a self-doubt, a recognition,  a shock , a wonderment, a bump, a putting down, a realization.

There are words I have forgotten that once applied to me:  service, calling.  It was a joy and a tremendous fear to hear them again.

I have taken away my luxury to idly decide on when and if I'd like to tear down my walls, when and if I'd like  to stay Spock-like in my spirituality. When and if I'd like to focus on self-care.  When and if I'd like to stop bullshitting a bullshitter.

 The work is here. To be done now. It's right in my face and I chose it.  And I am relieved and scared.

Everything is about to change.

That was the first thought I had, the one that was going to reduce me to tears "Everything is about to change".   And not necessarily that everything is going to be Awesomesauce Times. Oh no.  I just placed a giant mirror in front of myself that I can no longer run away from and  I just stepped back on the path that forces me out of my head and into my heart.

In other words: shit just got real, dog

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I've been trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up.  I'm making progress on checking the things I need off my list, but I haven't actually done what I need to do--sit down and figure out what the end point is.  What does my "perfect life" look like?  (And I put that in quotes because I know it won't be perfect, but what are the aspects I want in my life). It's difficult to see the forest through the treInes at this point. I'm setting myself up nicely for what comes next, but there is a wild card in my life that keeps everything from feeling like I'm on a stable path.  I'd like that path, please.   I have vague ideas, but nothing concrete these days.

Hospice volunteer training is in a few weeks. I should have my first case by July, I suspect.  I am both calm and over-thinking it at this point.   I have a few weeks to get myself centered a bit. At least, that's how I'm viewing it.  A reboot to the soul.  It isn't going to be easy but it will be full of ease.  Mostly because that is how it has to be.  I am yearning to return. I am ready for this.


In work news,  my role is changing to something bigger, but I'm not quite sure how this all manifests.  In some ways, it takes me away from what I love in research.   In some ways I wonder if this taking away is another sign that I am in the wrong place. OTOH  It is  sitoo good of a thing to pass up in terms of getting connected in what happens research-wise and starting to know the players of the consortium.  While I am wholly disinterested in what this particular thing is, I am wholly interested in who I can potentially meet.

There is a marriage between what feeds me intellectually and what feeds me emotionally/spiritually. I want to find it.  If there is an ever an opportunity to figure out what that is, it is here.  It may not stay in Seattle, but I believe in the depths of my heart that it all starts here. I've believed this for 15 years of diversions and side-tracks. But it is here.  And I am closer to it now than I was musing about it in a rental car on the coast of California fifteen years ago.  It is the same musing, but not at all.  It is an ever-widening spiral.  That I know will make sense, I just need to be in the right place.  But that is here.

I need to marry my loves somehow.

I need to marry my loves and still get out of the heart of the city so I can marry another part of my love to all of this.  I still need some land and some water.  A little land. A little water.   A  little garden. A little music. A little books.  A little nook. A little fire.

I want such a simple life and it feels so far away from me, such  a total pipe dream.   Me, a calling, books, music, bees, garden, rabbits (not for eating!), sheep, chickens.  (you don't see goats anymore, do you? no you don't.  and not that I don't love goats), instruments, laughter, friends, community.  so simple.  so complex.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Just when I'm getting to the snapping point today of having to bear witness to yet another extremely long, difficult struggle to death--I get the phone call that I've been waiting for that soothes my soul.

The volunteer coordinator at  a local hospice called.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I'm at a breaking point of one person's death and thrilled to get the call for me to spend my free time with more death.  Intellectually,  research is the best manna ever.  Emotionally, I feel emaciated and depleted.

 There is a difference between watching and being present. The watching grinds me down.  

Between that and some sage words of wisdom recently given to me, well, it's time to go back.  My life feels like it travels in a spiral.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I can tell the season is changing by the foods I crave.  Fresh greens.  That's about it. I just want fresh greens--maybe lightly steamed but mostly raw.  Specifically, asparagus and lettuce and peas and radishes and baby spinach.  I'm thinking about fresh fava beans lately too (which I think are probably almost in town if not already here). It isn't that I wasn't eating greens all winter, but I'm so over kale and collards at this point.  I want tender leaves!!  Spring is most definitely here.

Funny how when you start to eat more seasonally, you start to crave seasonal things.  Even funnier is how I thought this was all a load of crap just a few years ago.  I'm trusting my body these days and if I want to spend my evening chewing leaves all night--well then that is what Imma do.
I really screwed up with the cover crop.  I found some other person's blog and they turned over their cover crop like in Feb when the plants were wee.  Tomorrow I dig the last of it in, but I mean--it's going to take forever for it to decompose down there.  I'll see how much compost I can put on top of everything.  Such. A. Bad. Idea.

OTOH--my soil is rich and dark and I imagine if we are still here next year, I'll have really made a difference.

Just checked on the squash and melon starts. Some of it has popped up.  Some of it is still dormant.  I'm a little worried my seed is bad.  I believe the cucumber is up and the zucchini.  I think the basil is still dormant.

Still fighting the biggest garden pest--the dog.  While I don't really wish we owned this particular house, I wish I owned something to feel comfortable putting in a real fence to keep him out.  He's slowly decimating the carrots.

I'm going to buy the summer plant starts next weekend. I gotta figure out how to carry all the tomatoes and peppers. I need a wagon.  Seriously.

In other news, husband turns 40 in a couple of weeks and Imma rock his face off with fun.  I am the most awesome wife ever.  No lie.

May is turning out to be one exciting weekend after another.  Can't wait!

"Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day."

-E.B. White

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