I Hear You

I used to be uncomfortable whenever there was a lull in a conversation. I used to jump in and fill it with ANYTHING rather than just let any silence be there.

I am noticing that I am a lot more comfortable with silence now.

I am learning how powerful it is.

When someone stops talking and I don’t jump right in with a response, but instead just let there be a gap of nothing for awhile, weird shit happens.

Either the other person gets really quiet and seems to listen to the startling echo of what they just said.

OR:

They rush right in and stuff the uncomfortable gap with a wad of verbal padding.

I used to be a verbal padder. Now I am becoming more of an echo appreciator.

Today I found myself telling a friend about this blog, and how I have been  blogging since Ash Wednesday and have kept it going, daily, up to this point, and today is my 100th consecutive post.

As I was talking, he was eating, and seemed more absorbed in his food than my narrative. I got the feeling my story was tiresome to him, but I felt powerless to stop it now that I had started it. I needed it to end, yet I prattled on, wondering why I had even started down this path.

I wanted so desperately to stop, mid-sentence, and  let the whole narrative die, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

When I finally finished, I wanted some silence to happen. But it didn’t.

Instead, he jumped right in, changed the subject, and flew off in another direction.

Some conversations could really benefit from air traffic control.

 

Today This Is How It Rolled

This blog is my platform. Every day I step up on it and I say something.

I sort of “busk” on it. I don’t have a hat, but I do make a bid for your attention. I make an offering. I put something out into the world. Some small thing. Most days less than 1000 words. (A lot less, hopefully.) Just a little word-song played on my keypad. A little expression, lightly edited. Then I hit the “Publish” button.

Then tomorrow,  I will climb back up, take the mic again, say another 4 or 5 hundred words, then step back down. 75 people listen to me every day. Sometimes what I say resonates with them and they drop a “Like” into my hat.

Sometimes one of them will feel moved to say something in response.

Then the question becomes: “Why?” Why do I mount the platform everyday? And: “So what?” What’s the point of this?

If I could figure that out, it would be cool.

Do I blog to register my existence? To fulfill some in-born inclination to express?

Nobody asks the dandelion, “What’s your point?” Nobody asks the bird why it sings. It just does.

Is that why I write? Just because? Just because I feel like it?

Why so hard, then? Why does it feel like such an act of bravery, of trust? What’s all this resistance?

Why can’t I just open with the sun, and fold inward at night like the dandelion? Why can’t it just be what I do? No expectations, no hand-wringing, no nervousness, just a daily moment of expression to say, “Hello fellow humans. Good morning (or good evening). Today my offering is this. Today I am thinking about this. Do you ever think about this?

Is my telling you how it is for me opening a door or a window or a mirror for you?

Does my life look like yours?

Is the way I  look at it like the way you do?

Did you ever think about it this way? Is this way of thinking about it interesting? Or boring? When you read it do you think, “So what?” Or do you think nothing at all? Or do you think, “Huh.”

Is it like seeing a dandelion and registering, “dandelion” and moving on? When you read someone’s blog what do you hope to find?

Somebody like you? But also somebody a little different? My favorite bloggers make me think of things in ways I don’t usually think of them. I think, “Huh, that’s interesting. That’s a way of thinking I would have never thought of.” Is that what I want to give to my audience?

As I approach this platform every day all I want to say is, “Today, this is how it rolled.”

Namaste

Crazy Puppet Blogger

I need to figure out what this blog is about.

I am writing it everyday, which is now up to, what? some 70 days in a row? But it still hasn’t found its niche or its voice yet.

I feel like a puppeteer. I can give voices to different parts of my personality. I have an earnest self and a snarky self and and a silly self and a funny self.

I get into moods.  Like yesterday. I was screaming at the world from the car. G and I were driving to Lowes and I screamed at Wayne’s house that he should finish the electrical job already!

I screamed at stupid drivers. I screamed at a guy using a hose to sweep dirt off his driveway instead of a broom. “We’re in drought, you asshole!!”

I screamed at the frackers for sucking all the water out of the aquifers so now we’re in a drought. I get into these screamy days.

Then I have my stoic days. Then I have my “It is the way it is” days.

Then I have my “Everything is absurd but funny” days. Then I have my “Everything is absurd and I want to kill myself —and you“ days.

Then I have my “How the hell can I live in this place?” days. Then I have my “Life is good and I love everything and everybody” days.

Then I have my “I am wasting my one wild and precious life” days. Then I have my “I am doing good work in the world” days.

I have my “Healthy food is the key to happiness” days. Then I have my “It’s okay to eat gelato for lunch” days.

And in among all this I decide that  blogging is a good idea, but that this blog has to have some consistency and some predictability, but I am neither all that consistent nor predictable.

I get depressed when I go back and read my archives from 2009 and 2010. I think: You were a MUCH better writer back then, Kath. What happened? Are you losing it? Are you getting boring because your life is so…what?  Comfy?

I wonder if I need things to shake up a little. But then I think: A shaken life isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

So I don’t know.  I don’t really know what my mood is today. I am happy that it is May that’s for sure. Currently the sky is blue and the temperature is 81. That’s what I’m talking about people. That’s what I’m talking about.

There is a nice strip of sun on the deck calling my name. I need to get my shorts on and sit in it for awhile.

And read Resilience.

Wondering Why I Blog

This blog is still such a mystery to me. I wish I knew what I was doing. I wish I knew WHY I write it.

I think one way I try to look at blog content is through the lens of: What can I help you with today? What is a problem you are currently having with your work or with relationships that I can help you with?

(Because Freud was right. There are only 2 universal concerns: love and work.)

Then I have to look at my particular skill set. What do I know about work/vocation/purpose that might help you? If your problem is that you don’t know what kind of work will sustain you fiscally and spiritually, I can suggest the strategy that worked for me.

What do I know about love and relationships that might help you mend or deepen yours? What worked for me was writing my manifesto, listening more than talking, and learning non-violent communication skills.

Now that’s all well and good, but I don’t want to just tell people what they should do. I want to show them what might happen if they tried it out.

But  I don’t want to be an advice blogger, or a “How To” blogger. Nor am I much of a story teller.

I want to figure out where my personal life and the personal life of my reader overlap, and then focus on that place in the Venn diagram.

Here’s an easy example: my yoga students. We all value yoga. We might value it for different reasons, but at the very least we share an interest in this practice.

And a big part of what I think yoga is, and what I try to teach, and what they come to my classes for, is to learn how to fall in love with their own life. However it shows up. The hard, the impossible, the intolerable, the frustrating, and the exasperating.

Life is disappointment and heartache and cancer and loss and grief.

Life is also  success and elation and good health and abundance and joy.

The trick is to learn how to fall in love—or at least in like—with all of it, or at least tolerate, with some amount of grace, the struggle.

Now if I could tell, or better yet, show the people who read my blog how I manage to do that, that might make writing this blog a helpful, and worthy endeavor.

When I am with people, in the flesh, I think I help. I listen more than I talk, for one thing, and I think listening is one of the lost arts.

I think people really need to say their life out loud. Then they need to be heard, and to hear themselves articulate their own thoughts. This cuts a very quick route to clarity and self-knowledge.

The listener is not there to advise or fix, but only to receive and reflect back to the speaker their own words.

Most of the time, even the reflecting back is not necessary. Just being an empty vessel into which another person can pour their soul is to be of service.

If I can be a big enough container to hold my own struggles and joys, and also have enough room left over to hold yours too, well, that is the definition of a big life.

When I am with other people physically I can be that vessel. And I strive to keep my own life clean and struggle-free, so that I have that kind of room.

The problem with writing a blog is that it is an act of  “speaking” rather than listening.

Nature listens, that’s why nature heals and consoles. Nature just receives, it doesn’t advise or even reflect. It simply receives.

Trees and mountains and oceans receive. Flowers receive and rocks receive. We can pour our hearts into them and their sturdiness and their constancy console us. I sit on an outcropping in Yosemite and feel the immensity of what I witness, and that immensity dwarfs my own struggle, and amplifies my own joy.

I can run along the beach and howl my pain into the surf, but the waves just continue to crest and trough, the seagulls  continue to soar and dip.

I think the question I want to answer is:

How can I receive on the blog? How can I translate what I do in person, into blog writing? And is this even possible? Is it possible to write in such a way that the writing becomes a place where the reader feels heard?

How many streaks are too many?

I want to start another streak. A yoga streak. I need to get my personal practice back. Bad.

The other day I subscribed to Udaya so that I would have lots of classes to choose from and no excuses. My pre-streak started today when I woke up, took a hot shower, slathered myself in coconut oil, put on my yoga togs and walked to Sandy’s class.

Hip openers were on the menu today, and they were sweet. I so appreciate being able to take a class, and not have to teach all the time.  I took Lisa’s spot in the back corner. Now I know why she likes it back there. It’s cozy, you’re under the skylight, and you have the illusion you can’t be seen by the teacher.

(You’re wrong of course, but it’s still nice to pretend.)

I am counting today as day 1 of what I hope will grow into a 108 Day yoga streak.  But it won’t be an official streak until Day 10, which will be April 29th, just as the Yoga Challenge is winding down. *Fingers crossed.*

(I have written extensively about how to start streaks, pick streaks, the benefits of streaking, and what to do when your streak ends.)

The only way I can stay consistent with anything is if I make a Streak out of it. Today is my 60th consecutive blog post here, for example. Even if I wind up writing drivel some days, I am going to see how long I can keep this going.

I am also tending a meditation streak and this week I will hit 80 consecutive days without a break. (Previously, my longest streak was 120 days.)

I am also back to writing in 750words. Here’s what my homepage looks like today:

750 words full size screen shot

 

My longest streak on that platform was 1029 days. I have just about every badge on that platform except the NaNo badge. Next month I am going for it, which will entail writing 50K words in 1 month.

What this means is that I will be tending 4 streaks simultaneously: Blogging, Meditation, Yoga, and 750words.

I love how these streaks both structure my days, and add value to my life as they keep me aligned with my highest goals and aspirations.

But I also know the more streaks I have going, the greater the probability that I will bonk. It’s like juggling. Two balls are easy, it’s when you add the third and the fourth balls that you court disaster.

Disaster here I come.

Just a little “streak keeper” post

My eyelid is better. I think the culprit may be the moisturizing oil I use on my face. I love this stuff and I have been using it for well over a year now with great results, but I think it turned on me.

I tried not using it yesterday, and using the stuff I made myself instead.  Before bed, I put on the stuff I bought at the health food store yesterday.

It’s amazing how much better my eyelids look and feel today. Not completely healed, but close. I think I may have found the offending substance. *fingers crossed.*

The Yoga Challenge is now 3 days in. I taught both classes tonight and it was fun.

I have been thinking about will happen to this blog once my Lenten commitment ends the day after tomorrow. (Today is the 44th day in a row without a miss.)

I think I want to continue. One part of me likes the everyday commitment, whether I feel like it or not.

But another part of me wants a break and thinks posting 5 days a week would be plenty.

I’ll decide Monday. Any thoughts?

Blogging to Failure

G is coming home tonight. They dropped the last 2 games. The night before the games she said on the phone, “We need to split.”

Then they didn’t. They lost both.

(I don’t know what “need” means in this context.)

It doesn’t matter. What I want to tell her is that I am envious of her failure. That’s because failure is opportunity. There are no opportunities when you win. When you win, you just feel good, you pat yourself on the back, but you don’t learn anything.

When you fail you feel bad, but now you have the opportunity to bring your best self to the problem, to figure it out, to manage your emotions, to write down what went wrong and what not to do again. You get to practice being a  failure ninja.

If you are a true ninja you will also be able to see the loss as something to be grateful for, and bow to it.

After that,  you move on.

I don’t give myself opportunities to fail very often, if ever.

I play it safe. I am what they call “risk averse.”

It is not a good thing to be. I need to risk things.  This little book I am trying to put together needs to ship. It needs to be put out there to be seen, to risk rejection. That is the only way I am ever going to grow as a writer, a  person, and a ninja. But I resist. I fear failure.

But I am noticing that by doing this blog every day I am sort of training in risk-taking.  For a long time I let it languish, fearing that I whatever I would write would totally suck. So the fact that I am getting myself down to business every day, and then pushing “publish” is a small, but definite gain.  Still, every time I pull the trigger on one of these posts, I feel nauseous. As the days mount, and the low-hanging fruit gets scarce, I find I really have to  work to not suck.

But this is good training for me. It’s like getting used to bee stings, or doing 20 push-ups just to get to that 21st one you can’t do.

What I am trying to do here is blog to failure. I want to see how how long I can  crank content that isn’t just “what I had for lunch.”  I want to sit down and risk sucking everyday. I want to feel a little less timid about pushing publish.

I wanna be a ninja.