Friday, March 30, 2012

A day I'd do over...

March 20, 2012 is a day I'd choose to live again.  It was a breakthrough day as several things came together for me.  I've been working on some new behaviors/responses over the last several years and on this day I watched myself actively put them into practice.  I was confident, yet teachable, present with the frustrating circumstance.  I weighed choices, made some decisions and implemented them.  I asked questions when I didn't understand, requested clarification, and repeat instructions when needed.

These behaviors have been very difficult for me especially when asking for help.  Growing up I would push away my fears and "negative" emotions.  I would move to a place of "observing and watching" overwhelmed and paralyzed by tension, yet not able to name or acknowledge the myriad of feelings.

Back in May 2009 I enrolled in Susannah Conway's eCourse, Unravelling: Ways of Seeing My Self, but did not finish.  During Week Two on Reflections, I had a health scare.  It turned out to be nothing, but the fear overwhelmed me, tormented my thoughts, and twisted up my emotions for several weeks.  Facing the fear and "Unraveling" at the same time was too intense.

I wrote ferociously in my journal, sobbed buckets of tears, but during that time I faced the tormenting fear of receiving a life threatening diagnosis.  I like to say that I faced DOWN the tormenting fear and learned I could be present in the fear without it overwhelming me.  I learned that the fear came in waves, but would soon go back out.  I learned I could get through each wave.

During lunch the next day with my dear friend, I shared the health news (still undiagnosed at the time).  I asked where the fear comes from and why it comes.  I was in tears and feeling the fear again...feeling each moment of the tormenting fear.  But in the safety of her friendship I could acknowledge that the wave would not kill me.  In that moment my feelings, thoughts and observations were integrated and "with me".  I didn't push away the fear, but let it be present in the same room with my thoughts and observations.

This was a new behavior for me and brings me back to March 20th and why I am so proud of myself.  I almost gave up something I enjoy very much, but in the discouragement and frustration I took some courage and asked for help.  It seems kind of silly for it to be about snow skiing, but I'm okay with that.

I grew up skiing and skied regularly through college, but over the last several years (after a 15 year hiatus) I could only ski 3 to 4 hours a day.  My thighs would be completely shot for the rest of the day.  I blamed it on being out of shape (which is true), but recently something made me wonder if maybe my technique needed help especially since skis now days are shaped differently.

So on our most recent trip to Taos I decided to take a lesson.  My ski instructor was wonderful and I could tell an immediate difference.  I relearned how to turn, to allow the skis to do the work and not muscle each and every turn myself.  I skied the full day and my last run was an absolute blast.  With arms raised in sweet victory I finished my last run with a huge grin on my face.

I heard something revolutionary (at least to me) from a friend about ten years ago about emotions.  She said we can pay attention to our emotions and understand the signals they send without being controlled by them.   It's taken me some time, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Connection to my Grandfather

On our recent trip to Taos, we stopped at a Texas rest area just outside the OK-TX border.  I took the camera with me, not even sure why.  I'm sure glad I did.  Inside the ladies room the walls were tiled with an interesting mosaic of the North Texas landscape.

The tile work triggered a special memory of my grandfather.  He and my great uncle designed a number of buildings on the University of Wyoming campus and one in particular has a special place in our family's lore.  The story goes that the inspiration for the Classroom Building came from one of my mom's casserole dishes.  The exterior of the building is quite stunning and for its time was forward thinking in the amenities for classroom instruction.

UW Classroom Building (center) - Photo courtesy Wyoming_Jackrabbit
via  Creative Commons copyright
My grandfather and great uncle envisioned four mosaics in each of the directional corners to represent the state of Wyoming.  Each mosaic was designed by an art professor at the university.  As a little girl I remember my grandpa sharing about the project at their dinner table and I remember seeing the mosaics for the first time.  The building was dedicated in 1971 and underwent significant renovations in 2007 to bring it to current standards.

Several years ago at the suggestion of one of my husband's friends, B and I got copies of the architectural plans from the UW archives (American Heritage Center) and put together a beautiful remembrance for my mom and dad.  We spent several hours looking through boxes and settled on a few drawings.  It was a sweet treat to watch B in the archives, a place where he's spent many hours.

Here is a picture of my dad after opening the Christmas gift.  I know that gift touched a deep place in his heart that day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

4 pairs of gloves

Somehow I ended up with four pairs of gloves on our trip to Taos. I needed ski gloves and wanted a pair of light gloves in case it was too warm. I also wanted my driving gloves and on the first day I found a pair of gloves in my pockets. So between the two of us, B and I had maybe 9 pairs.

At first this felt very uncomfortable to me and a bit extravagant. Perhaps it is, as I am well aware that many people have no gloves.

I could feel myself tensing up and becoming critical toward myself and toward B. I realized something, though, as I started listening to my thoughts. I realized that the four gloves are kinda how we live life right now. It works for us and when we let go of how we "should" be living, we are more comfortable with how we are living.  We are at peace and more open to others. No justifications, no defensiveness, no comparisons, just our delightful selves.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Today's Smiles

* Venti half-caff one-percent latte

* Lunch with my best friend who happens to be my husband

* An email from my mother-in-law about her great visit with one of her grandchildren (one of my nieces)

* Nuzzling with my kitty, Molly

* Looking out my front window at our beautiful daffodils and pansies

Friday, March 02, 2012

Waiting for me...

When my husband calls from our home phone this is the image that displays on my phone.  It makes me smile.

When I leave in the morning I see a similar pose when I look back at the house.  This view breaks my heart, but the good news is I often see this pose when I pull into the driveway.  Usually she's sitting on the couch and then jumps up when she sees the lights of the car.

As soon as I open the front door her wiggly body makes it clear she's glad I'm home.

I'm glad, too.