Monday, May 28, 2012

Remembrance and Intentions

I'm afforded a week to sort and finish packing (the most fun part of the purging is done and now I'm down to minutiae and trying my damndest to make sure I don't throw some hugely important document away).  It's been a long year, but do you ever notice that despite the fact that you've been looking forward to something with great anticipation, when it arrives, it's like, "oh, shit, really?  Already?"  That's how I felt on the last day of school.  I remain so completely filled with love for the students I was lucky enough to spend time with this year...and the beautiful colleagues without whom I would most likely have lost myself in teen angst and exhaustion.  And, so, remembrance--that there is no present moment that I would wish away.  Easier said than done.  I wake each day with the intention of living in the present, pausing to notice beauty, promising myself I will choose my words carefully and move gently.  And I continue to work on being gentle with myself.  It's a constant struggle, but one that will prove to be a practice worth the effort in the long run.

I've decided that I need physical reminders to keep my intentions in the foreground:  a new tattoo is in order to help me with this effort.  I will wait till I arrive in my next destination, but I need a physical touchstone that will be with me always--  reminding me to live with love and not fear.  A tiny reminder on the pulse spot on the inside of my left wrist.

I'm enjoying these last weeks of yoga practice in studios that have become my physical reminders of living with love...with friends whose presence next to me on the mat can make my heart sing open.  I walked out of class last week and realized without a doubt, that as long as I could find respite in a yoga practice, I'd be able to find my way back home to myself and to love.  I carry it with me, but it sure gets buried sometimes without intentional actions.

I will continue to refine my intentions.  I will revise my routines to make space for them to live out loud.  And I remain steeped in gratitude for the presence of those around me who, with a simple smile, a tilt of a head, a laugh or a twinkle in their eye, can surface all that is good and true throughout.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Answers are in the Data

I've hit a wall in the past couple of weeks.  Maybe I've hit a couple of walls.  All I know?  Is that the forward momentum that I would love to be seeing is at a stand still.  Or maybe it's simply incubating.  Who knows?  My fellow dissertation writers know this feeling.  All of us know this feeling.  You're moving moving moving forward and suddenly, seemingly without any reason at all, you fall flat.  Thankfully, I'm at least aware enough to acknowledge that this is not a permanent state.  (I hope....I believe...I trust...I try and remind myself...)

So, at this moment?  I focus on some concrete things that actually seem tangible.  I reflect on miniature butterfly hair clips as fashion statement, the taste of a mango-pineapple smoothie for breakfast, a moment of laughter coupled with an eye roll at a student's behavior.   I reviewed a couple of hours of video data this evening.  I reminded myself that my students and I have a story that people should hear and read.  I reminded myself that this work is all for a greater purpose than me.  I think.  I hope.  I believe.  I trust.  I remind myself.

I know there are answers if we look closely.  We can draw conclusions based on close observation.  And so I look.  I look around at what's true.  And the truth keeps shifting on me.  Do you have those moments when your true north feels slightly skewed?  When your belief system is shaken just slightly?  This is where I return to when I'm feeling this way:
Watch it.  Really. (Buddy Wakefield's "Information Man" on You Tube)

I haven't revisited Buddy Wakefield in some time.  BUT, he helps me move forward.  He helps me recognize just how tenuous truth is, and how much reality hurts, but how beautiful it all is.

"There is a distance the size of bravery"--and at moments, I feel like I am not brave enough to cross this distance.  You know that's the distance between here and now and what you have imagined as truth and where you're headed.  It's a combination of fear and loathing, and a dream of the future.  It's as simple as a dog panting by your side and as complicated as an emotional wound you can't seem to reconcile.

"But tonight, I am going to get the answer..."

Or not.  But at least I know I'm looking for one.

The beauty is knowing there is someone out there reminding me that we all have questions.  Regardless of our pursuits--research, life, love, is a question.  And answers are fucking elusive.

"Even at your worst, you are fucking incredible.  So return to yourself.  Even if you're already there.  'Cause no matter where you go or how hard you try or what you do, the only person you are ever gonna get to be, and I know it, thank god, is you."

Thank whoever you want.  I'm grateful for every single one of us.