A Sunday Brunch Meditation

Over gluten-free waffles, green juice and coffee Misty, Vince and I talked about role models, and how if it weren’t for our friends’ families, we would never have imagined that parents could be nice to one another, and to their children.

So if you have a half-way decent family situation, you should open your home to your children’s friends. You should let them see how you operate.

If I had not seen my friends’ parents, I would have never believed that it was possible to live in a calm, sane, rational, loving  environment, and I learned this morning that I’m not the only one.

Misty, too, studied the families of her friends, just like I did.

Vince said that the people he hangs around with now  are astounded that he cooks.

He is baffled by this.

I said, “Nobody cooks anymore, let alone buff, single, 32 year-old personal trainers. So that’s why you need to continue to invite people over for waffles.”

(A lame bid to be asked over for waffles again.)

We are all watching each other. That’s why we read blogs, and FaceBook and are entranced by “Reality TV.” I used to love to walk around my neighborhood at night and look into the lit homes that hadn’t closed their curtains yet.

I saw Mr. Ross reading the newspaper. (Nobody read in my house.)

I heard Mrs. Lynn crashing around in her kitchen. (I grew up eating TV dinners.)

My friend Glenn had to come home and practice the piano for an hour every day before he was allowed to go out and shoot baskets in the driveway. (I didn’t take lessons of any kind.)

Joanne Harrigan had a strict curfew on weekends. (My mother always got home way after me on weekends no matter how late I stayed out.)

I took a lot of comfort from these families.

I wanted my friends’ lives.

Everything I learned about being responsible and caring and intellectual, I learned from the parents of my friends.

So if you are sane, and loving, and rational, invite a kid over for waffles. It could change everything.

Writing is such a head game

I was tired. I didn’t feel like it. It was cold. I have been breaking my “No Humans Before 11 AM” rule by switching my workouts to 9 which is NOT GOOD..

Vince had me do a million squats today. And lots of ab work, and the hated pull-ups. And burpees. And what I call the “Mr Roboto” exercise for the delts.

Oh, and the hammer, which I hate.

“What’s wrong with you today?” he asked. “You getting enough sleep? Good food?”

“I dunno…”

Did I mention it was cold? 46 degrees on the bank thermometer.

I got home and crawled immediately back to bed. Put the heated mattress pad on, even.

When I got up, I knew I had to work on the book. Oh lord. I did not feel like it.

Since I have been writing in my Moleskine for the past 2 days, I thought: “Why don’t I just transcribe my scribblings into Scrivener and call it good?”

And that’s what I did. But then, about a half hour in, I got into it, started tweaking and fixing and at the end of 2 hours I had figured out my tone, decided on point of view and written my Introduction. Boo-yah.

So the lesson of the day is this: When I don’t feel like writing, just start transcribing pen writing into the computer.

Writing is such a head game, man.

34 Pounds of Flour and Waffles

Yesterday we cleaned out the freezers. The one attached to the fridge, and the chest freezer in the basement. In the process I discovered I had 34 pounds of flour.

And I rarely bake. What am I doing with all this flour?

Oat flour, quinoa flour, Pillsbury Unbleached while, Bob’s gluten-free baking flour, Superfine rice flour, coconut flour, King Arthur’s Flour. Arrowroot, and yellow corn meal.

I must have acquired all this flour during my IIN training when every week I was trying a new way of eating. I tried Vegan and Macrobiotic, and Paleo. I tried Vegetarian and Pegan and Atkins and Whole 30 and Clean. I tried every diet known to human kind. That must be why I have quinoa flour, and spelt flour and teff flour.

The other morning when I was complaining to Vince that breakfast was hard for me because I am allergic to eggs, he gave me his gluten-free waffle recipe to try.

(He’s kind of obsessed with waffles.)

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Yesterday he posted this on Facebook about consensual sex.

http://magazine.good.is/articles/tea-never-looked-so-good

And then he commented this:

Waffles are not tea. But waffles are waffles. And waffles want to be eaten.

I do not assume that everyone wants tea who once wanted tea, but waffles are for the world. The world needs waffles.

I don’t know what “Waffles” represent here, but his recipe turned out great.

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6 Things That Made Me Happy Today

1. My yoga studio. How crazy is it that I own a yoga studio? Sometimes I just cannot believe it. I walked in there at 7 this morning to do my personal practice, all bleary-eyed and tired, and walked out all energized and ready for the day.

2. Vince, my trainer. I write about Vince frequently here, but here’s the thing that made me happy today. Vince likes what he does, and it shows, and it makes me happy to to be around him, (even when he makes me do stuff that causes sweat to drip off the end of my nose.) What if everyone felt that way about what they do? Can you imagine? Can you imagine if everyone LIKED what they do for a living?

3. Making Turkey Goulash. Dicing onions, cutting mushrooms, measuring spices, tasting, stirring, and making the house smell amazing.

4. The James Altucher Podcast. Today (as I was making the goulash) I listened to his interview with Chris Hadfield. It was so good. Hadfield talked about becoming competent. It made me want to be competent, too.  Chris Hadfield is famous for this YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9danxNo 

5. Having Owen in the house. G’s dad arrived today from North Carolina. He drove 12 hours straight through. They are going fishing in the morning. (And that’s why there are worms in our fridge right now.) We ate the goulash and watched Survivor. He is such a happy person to have around.

6. Em and Scott got an offer on their house. This is my daughter’s first foray into the world of real estate. The Portland, OR housing market is crazy! Houses sell hours after the listing goes live. It took 48 hours to get their first offer and they were so nervous. But now they are in negotiations. *fingers crossed*

What made you happy today? Care to share?

Stronger This Year

In the mornings I am reading Thinner This Year. This is dangerous for my health coaching client because this book is scaring me. It pulls no punches when it comes to laying out just what happens when you eat crap.

My client eats crap. My client doesn’t exercise enough. Today he proudly told me that he went to the medical supply store in town and picked up a long gripper stick, fitted it out with some foam rubber, and now he can  pick up sticks in his yard without bending over.

My client is a year older than me. He shouldn’t have to use a long handled stick for yard work. Not yet. (Maybe not ever.) Then he hands me his Food Log and it is nothing but white food.

Because I had just been reading about the wreckage that kind of diet does to a body, I told him he had to “Warrior up.” No more excuses. I hope it’s not going to take a bad diagnosis from his doctor to get his diet and life cleaned up.

Then I went to my personal training session with Vince. After a lower body and ab workout, we went out behind the gym and he took some pics of the 2 of us, messing around on the grass. He posted them to Facebook, and now people are saying really sweet things in the comments.

Here’s the pic.  Vince.  My trainer and friend. He’s adorable. And he’s making me so strong!

Vince and Kath, April 21, 2015

The Way I Wish To Be Seen

Today after yoga was over and most people had gone, Vince, my trainer, stopped by to say hi and to give me a letter. As it turned out I had a card for him, too. It had the Rilke quote on it about living the questions.

He sat down in the Poang chair and read his card, which didn’t take long because, what I am going to add to Rilke, right?

But his letter took me a while to read. It was on a piece of notebook paper, ripped out. It was a gratitude/reflection letter in which he expressed how much he values our friendship. It was eloquent, as well as heart-felt.

I don’t think we can ever know how we show up to other people. I don’t think we can see ourselves as others see us, as much as we would like to.

“Do you SEE yourself??!!

I think I have some idea how I appear to others, I think I know what my personality is like, but then I get a letter like this, and I think: Oh, this is very different from how I feel inside and how I think I present in the world. It is extremely flattering though, and I wish I could identify more with the person he is describing in this letter, because these are very admirable qualities, indeed.

Or, alternately, I do recognize a piece of my personality in what they are praising, but I don’t see it through their particular lens.

They see me as finished, accomplished in the things they are admiring—things like my self-discipline, or my serenity, or my ability to pay attention, yet, in truth, I am always working to cultivate these attributes.

For example, Vince said that he admires how I resource myself before I meet with people. He was referring to my need to allow time between appointments to eat.

On Tuesdays I have a 1 o’clock appointment and our session doesn’t  usually finish up until a little after noon. I am sensitive to the time on Tuesdays because I really do need to go home and eat before I meet my 1 o’clock client. If I don’t, I can’t be fully present for him because I am distracted by hunger.

The other thing he said about me is that I am quiet. This is something I continue to struggle with.  I don’t think I am quiet at all! But I am working on it. In particular, I am working on being more comfortable with silence, and letting  big gaps of silence grow in a conversation without immediately trying to fill them. I am trying to be patient with the  awkwardness of long conversational lulls.

We drove over to the Health food store in Wellsboro together last week, and since I really didn’t have anything to say, I just drove for quite a while.  He looked out the window and hummed along to the music.

Eventually conversation resumed, and when it did, I enjoyed it even more, since there had been that quiet gap before.

I do a lot of self-work: reading, meditating, taking notes, writing, doing yoga, staying conscious in relationships, and I must say it is gratifying when someone makes a remark that leads me to believe I might be making some progress.

And this is what happened today. Someone saw me the way I wish to be seen. It felt both exhilarating and humbling.

Namaste.

Grappling

Today did not go AT ALL the way I thought it would.

I walked into the gym expecting an hour of sit-ups, pull-ups, squats and other torture at the hands of my handsome and wise trainer, but instead found myself in deep dialogue. Today we worked out together. Today’s workout was to understand and articulate. Today’s workout was to hoist aloft fear and disappointment and failure and look at it. Today we both attempted to  deadlift our body’s weight in vulnerability and empathy.

He challenged, I answered. I challenged, he answered. On and on, over and over, set after set, first high reps and low weight, then high weights and low reps. He daring me to to pick up heavier and heavier things: pain, suffering, happiness, disappointment, despair. Me daring him to watch and deal.

At the end, we were both crouched on the black gym floor, eye to eye, and I held his head in my hands, and offered everything. And took everything.

We had spent an hour and a half grappling the only thing worth grappling: life and its endless conundrums. There was no winner. Winning was never the point. Artistry was. And friendship., And deep abiding respect.

As I left, the cruel, cold February sun flooded the space..

He sat happily spooning gobs of pumpkin pie into his mouth. I floated out humming Boddhisatva by Steely Dan.