I want to know what other people’s morning rituals are, so as an invitation to share yours, here’s mine:
[I should clarify: this only happens when it’s summertime and neither my kids nor I have any real responsibilities (because I’m a teacher and they’re out of school). So, in other words, our true nature is coming out.]
I like to stay up late which means I get out of bed late… although I tend to wake up early. Like 5am but then I put my eyepatches (eyesleep mask? There is no good word for this thing that is so helpful in the early morning after a late night partying with friends) on so I can sleep longer. I sleep maybe another hour and then – sorry, but it’s true – I check my facebook and then go back to sleep. And I do that a few times before actually getting up. Sleeping, facebook, sleeping, facebook. Annnnnnnddddd eventually I’m up.
Then? I really want a cup of coffee in bed but alas there is no one to make it for me but me, but I also don’t want to get up and disturb this Zen state of mind I have so I just give up wanting coffee and get back into bed. I read various things but eventually I pick up my favorite book (now by Amy Krause Rosenthal) and after a few pages of her inimitable writing (that is like reading my own mind at play), I have to write too. And I write and write and get crazy ideas about social experiments or digging up my past for other people’s entertainment and then…. I get up, make coffee and see if my kids need anything.
While I’m making coffee – which lately just involves a pour-over where I have to stand there and wait for the water to sift through the grains — I do my kegels because making coffee is the only totally predictable part of my day and so since it’s inevitable I figure I should include the kegel ritual for good measure. (I know – that was probably TMI but it gave me a laugh so I figured maybe you’d laugh, too. Plus maybe you’ll start doing your kegels in the morning. Come to think of it, shouldn’t men be doing kegels, too? Why the hell not, right?).
And then after some more writing and coffee drinking on an empty stomach – well, sometimes I grab a potato chip or some nuts but I don’t want to spend time cooking anything – I’m sitting at the kitchen table writing more. The morning is my most creative time. I reserve other parts of the day for random, sporadic meaningless jokes and observations that hit me but I reserve the morning for what my unconscious, inner life beckons me to write down. There. That’s it. What’s yours?
preaching to the choir (which is myself) moment #45: is it all about getting what you want all of the time? nope. is it all about getting what you want some of the time? nope. is it about seeing what you have and accepting it unwittingly? nope. is it about making the most of what you have? kinda. is it about seeing something better and staying open to it? closer. is it about having a sense of humor no matter what happens because in a moment you could get hit by a bus? yes. is it about being totally selfish and not taking care of yourself because it’s all about living in the moment? nope. is it about having a long term plan some of the time but living in the moment most of the time? yes. the end.
i want to know the etymology of the term ‘BenGay.’
procrastination is the single greatest contributor to my creativity.
you know those male ballet dancers who stand there while the ballerina does all the pretty and graceful moves? that’s how i feel as a parent of teens. but come to think of it, that in a way is what all relationships are like. it’s just that when you get older, each person takes turn being either the holder-upper or the pirouetter. back and forth. but it’s all good. it’s just my turn to do what somebody else did for me once. the end.
brilliant idea #544353498573490: last night, going through the drive-thru at taco time, we came upon a vision of the future. one day there may no longer be fast food restaurants where you buy food that is then put in a bag and handed to you. maybe in the future, you’ll just drive up and there will be a steel tube that reaches out to your car window and you open your mouth and they just shoot the food paste into your mouth. more efficient, n’est-ce pas? less wrappers, less time, pre-masticated…
whenever life gets to be too much – too boring, too stale, too stressful, too stupid, too cheap, too expensive, too nonsensical, too logical, too blech, too bigahsldjgalk, too too – i look at my hands and think how lucky i am to have hands and then i start playing with my hands and i remember being a kid playing with my hands and how i’d construct little plays out of nowhere with my fingers. and then i’m back in the present again.
The reason why spotting a penny is lucky is bc it indicates that your mind is peaceful enough to see it.
Less drama offstage. More drama onstage. That is my current philosophy and I’m sticking to it.
Men need a fancy store to buy special underwear and it should be called “Victor’s Secret.”
i am determined to seek out magic wherever and whenever i can… and where there is no magic, i am walking away.
you know how they have those videos of people who take like the same one second shot of something for a year and then compile all the shots together? if i had balls (instead i have ovaries… which are really the same thing…just inside), i would take a photo of myself as soon as i wake up every morning and post it each day as my profile pic.
if you ever find yourself in middle school (or a similar social dynamic in your life), when someone calls you a dumbass, just call them a smartass to get them back. a perfect riposte!
Can u be alone without feeling lonely? Yes I can. More and more. And here’s how I do it. I walk. I notice the pavement under my feet. I hear the birds. I go a new direction. I think about my legs and how good they feel to move. I think about how it’s not winter anymore thank god. And I can be outside without dreading it. And I think about the interesting people in my life and I hear remnants of our conversations. And I realize that I used to do this as a kid. I didn’t need much to entertain myself. I can do that again.
I can’t handle it when strangers are nice. Well sure I can. It just always surprises me.
i’m extremely intolerant of judgmental people. hmmm. let me untangle that a moment…
i’m extremely intolerant of judgmental people. hmmm. let me untangle that a moment…
Just saw a woman wearing a button that read “Porn produces pollution.” Ummm. The world gets a little weirder every day.
My dog Gizmo puts his paw on my leg.
The air smells sweet again this morning.
I feel empty and yet complete. I see the bigger picture and I’m fine.
I realize that you need to listen to the whistlings of your soul and my whistling is singing a tune that says ‘Sit. Relax. Draw. Daydream. Do a little work now and then. Doing nothing sometimes is the best something.’
And when you’re ready to be your silly self, the person who can easily forget herself and get lost in the moment, the person who can laugh at herself and not lose herself, the person who loves to help people laugh at themselves, too, the person who doesn’t care if she does push-ups in the classroom as long as it gets people to loosen up, the person who doesn’t care if she dyes her hair black because at least it’s a fucking change, the person who takes risks, the person who has been through all kinds of shit and still lets go of the bad and lets in the good, the person who would rather sit down in a restaurant and watch people than watch TV, the person who thinks about ‘the end being nigh’ every day not because she’s morbid but because she wants to live life to the fullest Buddha way, the person who is going to keep writing about her life because she is still trying to accept self-love and she’s going to keep doing this until it doesn’t feel so awkward and weird… and when you’re ready to be that person, then be her.
no matter how up or down or around or sideways a day has been, i go outside and i smell the air and i realize there is something bigger and better than all of the petty little concerns that can take up too much space in one’s brain at times. i smell campfires and grass and leaves and moss and i feel the cool air on my nostrils and i realize i’m more alive out here than in a house and life is wild and when you connect with that then it doesn’t matter where you’re at. it doesn’t matter who you’re with. it doesn’t matter if you’re alone. you’re already a part of it all and that’s just fine and dandy. and the trick is to stay open no matter how much circumstances conspire to close you up. stay open. and free.
why do i write so much gobbledyguk about my past? because i’m a woman in a culture (in a world) that tends to want to define me before i have a chance to define myself. for all the good in religion (and there is some – for example, i learned about karma or ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’), i also absorbed that stupid notion that self love is a bad thing. so between culture trying to tell me who i am for years and a religion telling me that i have to put everyone else’s needs before my own all the time, i have a lot of self actualizing to do.
beautiful moment #1: driving down a road in sequim that i’ve never been down before and realizing that this place has nooks and crannies that still surprise me.
beautiful moment #2: realizing that my strategy of grading a small chunk a day (rather than waiting for it to pile up and then i start hating life) is paying off and actually do-able.
beautiful moment #3: the feeling of freedom is awe-inspiring, scary, and magical.
beautiful moment #4: slowing down is what reaps in the magic.
beautiful moment #5: getting reacquainted with my favorite pen.
beautiful moment #6: freedom means carving out your own destination/destiny.
beautiful moment #7: people will always buoy me up if i’m around them long enough.
When I am – not to get morbid here but I guess I will – laying on my deathbed, there will be two memories that stand out. One is, the day I discovered Natalie Goldberg.
I was visiting this older lady named Maude. She was very small, very old, and she had a beautiful horse and she lived alone in a tiny studio apartment and she drank a shot of tequila every afternoon. She had lived with an abusive husband for years, but she eventually divorced him. She had a nice son. And she was happy with her life as it was with her horse. I don’t know how it came up but she handed me this book Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and it was one of those books in my life that I couldn’t put down until I finished it. Like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.
I loved it for many reasons but mainly because it finally gave me permission to write. Write my drivel. Write whatever came out of my brain. But write. Up until that point I knew that writing could lead me in positive directions. I had intuited this on my own. But to hear this come from another writer was spectacular. And writing has become such a huge healing part of my life since then that I would not be who I am if it weren’t for that day.
The other memory is an exercise she wrote about in her book where she asked a classroom full of kids to each unwrap one Hershey’s chocolate kiss and put it in their mouth and close their eyes and only open their eyes to write down the sensations and thoughts and feelings that came over them as they let the chocolate melt (don’t bite it!) in their mouth. I loved that image and I use it from time to time with my students.
Savoring the little moments since that’s all we really have. Knowing what you love. That’s all that really matters.
Even at the age of 13, I was obsessed with cats. And a lot of other things, too.
At this age, I was way into dieting, Scott Baio, and being preppie. My cousin and I attempted the Scarsdale Diet. It was awful. Like you only got 750 calories a day. I remember lasting about one day. All I remember eating was boiled chicken, unbuttered toast, and plain grapefruit. About a day and a half of self-imposed starvation later, I dramatically lay immobile on the couch. I was convinced I was going to die. Barely able to lift my head, I was determined to last more than a day, but I just couldn’t so I remember crawling on my arms and legs to the kitchen to make myself a bowl of forbidden oatmeal and break the fast.
Scott Baio was my next passion. I used to peruse my cousin’s collection of Tiger Beat magazines and see his angelic cheeks (face!!! Face cheeks!) glisten across the glossy pages. His sweet grin would send waves of happy zings in my belly as I gazed into his eyes and melted to Air Supply’s “All out of love” tantalizing my eardrums. If I had a new picture of Scott (or if I hadn’t looked at him for a long time) and I had the music timed just right, I could close my eyes and literally feel Scott Baio holding me in his arms. Not a harmful passion per se, just a tad unrealistic.
And being preppie. I discovered the Preppie Handbook with the help of my friend, Margaret, in Connecticut. I had to have the khaki pants in order to complete my outfit one day, so I remember giving my dad the cold shoulder treatment in the car for a long time until he agreed to buy me a pair. I must have acted morose until he pulled the truth out of me.
“What is it, Lara?” Silence. “Come on – what’s going on?”
Finally, I replied, “Oh, I don’t know. It’s just that… well… nevermind.” (sigh).
“Come on, now.”
“It doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about it…. It’s just… oh, you’ll never buy me these so it doesn’t matter…” I got the pants, but I also got a good dose of guilt since I still remember that fateful day I lorded it over my poor dad.
One thing I’ve realized now that I have teens: the teen years are all about passion. Highs and lows. Extremes. I’m kinda glad I’m not there anymore. The drama is a bit much. Passion is fun but I think the trick is figuring out how to be passionate about healthier stuff. Like it’s probably better to be passionate about exercise versus snorting cocaine. Or being vegan versus gambling. I guess Scott Baio and Preppiedom weren’t all that bad. Scarsdale and his diet though can suck it.
I hold my cat usually every morning. Lately I play Putomayo world music and she lays there with her fur in my face as I pet her head and her head falls back relaxed. They say that petting cats and dogs lowers your stress level. I believe it. I feel the bubbles of tension in my stomach slowly soften like when a massage therapist works on those little nodules in your neck and shoulders, pressing on them until they pop and melt away.
It’s not bad tension really. There’s a bit of excitement mixed in. Not knowing what will come my way. When I start moving around and dissipate the energy, it goes away and I care less about what curveballs come. Being immobile and overthinking is what doesn’t work. That’s why I type. At least my fingers are moving, dissipating the energy. When I was a kid, I was excited every night for what was to come the next day. In the morning, I bolted out of bed ready to jump into the day. I am ready to get back to that kind of excitement.