Thursday, September 25, 2008

the dip by Seth Godin - a review

  • quick read
  • good reminders
  • awesome quotes and one liners

his blog is interesting to read too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

you're the key...

when it all hinges on your decision, your action, your acceptance or denial, you could at least allow yourself the humanity of making a mistake. it will be easier to decide on action if you just allow that you may make a mistake - and that the world will not explode and you will make it through.

you're already allowing yourself to walk the option you want. there's no purpose in making yourself feel guilty about that. if it ends up being the right thing for you, then more power to you. if not, then you can always find your way toward an abandoned path.

go, do, explore, find your way. i'll be right here celebrating you, no matter which way you travel.

Monday, September 22, 2008

i needed that run

running on adrenaline all day through lunch wore me out today. i needed that 4 mile run to just unwind. i pushed myself tonight and ran ran. i felt like a little steam engine just mechanically moving at a good clip and in-sync. it really felt good to just hammer out the long day. i went out for the 45 minutes before the kids went to bed and made it home in time to read to them for a half hour.

there is something physically fulfilling about the running off the mental energy and then slowing down to just spend time reading them to sleep. they go into sleep so peacefully when i read to them.

i am going to leave the work i brought home parked by the door. take a long, long hot shower. and tuck myself into bed early with a book to read myself to sleep.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

cowboy bebop - first impressions

okay, when someone says anime, i'll admit that i think sexy, nubile, mostly naked, girl cartoon characters with breast implants and long limbs that are disproportionate...

not so much here. limbs are still too long, but not overly sexy or weird.

i'm intrigued. i like how the main character is glib and talented. perhaps he's the best in the business, but something always gets in the way of him collecting. (so far anyway) i admire the pluck. the violence is more than i expected. and the language is funny - lots of "son of a bitches." there are some repeat minor characters that look like dried-up zombies that so far appear at the location of the central action scene bitching at each other.

spike (the cowboy) has a heart and a light-hearted whistle. so far he's accumulated a stray corgi and a spit-fire gambling chick.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

cowboy bebop

this came very highly recommended.

initially, i turned on the subtitles and was immediately confused by the audio commentary. it must be the genre - like Mystery Science Theater 3000 where you don't really watch it for Attack of the 50 Foot Woman or whatever - you watch it for the obtuse and funny commentary.

i turned that off. i figure, like mystery science theater 3000, this must be for those who have some idea of what is going to happen or have seen it a hundred times and who are now bored with it. i need to just watch it once without the commentary to just figure out what this is about....

cowboy bebop has like green hair, not unlike the joker, and everyone smokes. (hey, this is was made in Japan in 1998, and before the midwest's craze with removing smoking from every public space.)

..... back to watching ....

Friday, September 19, 2008

what did we do in art today?

i was so jazzed about the interaction... i forgot to describe what we did today!

depending on the class (because i was able to tailor it more to the age groups) we worked on review of last spring (straight lines, curvy lines, shading, outlining, drawing without looking, color layering, object layering), then the watercolors came out! we hadn't been able to work with them last year because the kids were just not ready and the distribution/cleanup for 50 kids with 10 minutes between classes was not possible...

so the oooo's and the aaaah's were pretty impressive. we were reminded that water, paint, paper is the order we needed to work in while in our school environment. we didn't put our fingers in the paint, and how to rinse and squeeze out our brushes.. then let the fun begin. we drew 'something that had a circle shape somewhere in it' and then filled it in with paint.

then we painted a background/backdrop for our 'something.' emphasising that backgrounds do not need to be perfect - in fact, many backgrounds look wonderful all messy and blurry because our eye's are busy looking at the 'something' that is most important. we got both pages done, lots of questions, lots of water and paint. both pages dried and all but the last class had time to cut out their 'something' and glue it to their background.

of course we talked about the meaning of terms like background, foreground, constraints (has to have a circle shape somewhere), drawing utensil, painting implements, ...

wow! so totally fun

and i'm here tonight reliving it a little as i blog about it and was surprised to check the date/time on my pc thinking that friday was wrong because today was saturday - it felt so fun that it must not be a work day... =)

day of teaching

teaching was incredible today! i am so energized by spending awesome quality time with these brilliant kids!

the image above is from one of my 4th grade students during last spring semester. it was during our 'continuous-line-without-looking-at-our-paper' drawing sessions. you can tell that the artist did peak during the timed session because of the breaks in line on the body sections. but i say 'who cares?! this rocks!' i am just blown away by this quality of work coming from such small folks! i've been in college classes with individuals (art majors) that couldn't pull something this concise together.

i think it has everything to do with inhibition. that is something that i feel is oober-important in working with anything artistic or creative. whether it is drawing, painting, music, programming or problem solving, we have to be open to all ideas. we have to be willing to try something. we have to be willing to start something before deciding if it is the right thing for us.

we work on this in class by remembering at the beginning of each class that we're all different. that being different is okay. that our art will not look like our neighbors' art. that we are doing art for ourselves. what we draw or how we work on today may have constraints to work within, but everything else is up to us.

i was very surprised at the start of the sessions last year how very tight so many of the kids minds were with regard to how to do something and how many kids seems afraid to start something. 'what do you mean drawn a straight line? should it be on the bottom of the page or on the side? do we start at the top or the bottom?' the beautiful thing is that you get to decide. where do you want to start? where do you want to end? how big or how small or how wide do you want the line to be? should you use a marker or a pencil or a crayon?

i think that this is very liberating for children. and it is very moving to what the transformation after working together. how much the kids and i look forward to our time together. how much more open they are to making their own choices when it comes to materials. it stirs up some powerful emotions for me to watch kids learning to take control of their choices and feel terrific and proud about what they've done.

at the end of each session we engage in a little critique. the idea at most levels is two fold - allow the rest of the class to see what the others were doing and to encourage appreciation for other people's effort (even when it doesn't look like ours or maybe it's 'not for us,' we can still clap and smile and encourage others).

this year we changed up the sessions from 2 classes of 50 kids to 5 sessions of 25 kids. and i am able to teach in the homerooms instead of the cafeteria. the acoustics are so much better, that just that improvement would be worth it. but the kids are in an environment where they are used to being, learning, and listening. it is also much easier for me to distribute supplies and give directions. i also really love that i get to spend more time at each table of 5. we get to talk and enjoy each other more this way.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

sitting here having a martini in your honor

perhaps Guinness would have been more appropriate...

i am here tonight near where we met. here where we became friends. i went to IKEA holding my breath and hoping/expecting to see your ghost by my car upon exiting.

instead, i am here watching twins and rays and some college football, eating a slice of vanilla bean cheesecake, drinking an espresso martini, and toasting to you, the little choices that we make, the winding road, the straight road, and all the life left to live.

studio work

i haven't carved out time to post about my whole studio re-org. and i'm slamming this post up before quickly running out the door of the office to my purpose seminar talk thing.

but i'm making progress. i have these neat display deals from IKEA that string up like a little metal wire and it has clips on it for display. i measured the one for my hallway and the one for the studio and realize that i need more pieces to make it work. unfortunately, i can see them online, but not purchase them online, so i have to drive all the way down to the IKEA store by the Mall of America tonight after my purpose session to get these 8 little pieces.

then i can mount them this weekend. i hope i can get there before it closes at 9pm. if not, i guess i'd swing by the MOA and do a little memory walking of my own. i haven't been to MOA in a long time. the last time i was there the walking number of people on a saturday made the floor sort of feel like it was moving up and down. quieter time tonight likely.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

okay. well not the most successful studio time i've ever had. the only 4 x 4 inches of salvageable 'color study' is this chunk. i'm being generous with the term salvageable.

toss in a couple of the painting area of my studio. i started that studio organization posting, where i can move these later and add the other sides of the room. but i'm actually tired enough to fall into bed now - mission accomplished.

oh, and this was just on my camera from earlier in the summer when the peonies were blooming. when i saw them i just knew i wanted to paint them - all those subtle pinks and whites and creams.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

boot to the head!

okay, i have to pull back some kick-boxing moves. breathe in, breath out and jab. jab jab, left hook. breathe in, breath out and jab jab jab, right hook, breath in, breath out and front kick, pivot, side kick, side kick.

i am kicking my own ass over the sad pathetic that i am.

this will get easier with time. am i afraid of letting go of this and not torturing myself by holding so tightly? yes, sure. fear - definitely.

i wonder if i need to explore that? afraid of what exactly? am i afraid that all the things i loved about you weren't real if i don't try to keep them alive by remembering them daily? okay, sure. am i afraid that i am somehow not a faithful friend because i let go? definitely. am i afraid that i value you less by not obsessing over this loss? okay, yeah that too.

where does this get me? does it bring you back. nope. does it change the circumstances? or the reality? nope. do i choose to mope around about this or walk the talk of compassion to myself? (boot to the head is only metaphorically speaking) i'm going through a loss. i will keep walking forward and not back. (even if i need to lean on this blog to get my thoughts out where i can see them and say to myself - "this is ludicrous." "quit torturing yourself." "do what you set out to do; make something positive; remember, savor, respect it; don't turn it into some obsession." )

i am going to my studio to paint this out. do something positive with this consuming energy before it eats me alive.

remembering and excuses

over the weekend and this week, i have been remembering so many little details of my dear friend. i knew that on thursday night i would be especially feeling the loss. i booked myself into a purpose seminar session that evening to ensure that had something productive to do and would not go driving around wondering.

i've been working on a project that especially reminds me and that has been very distracting. i keep wanting to use the project as an excuse... an excuse to be bummed out and an excuse to encourage visits to my memories.

school conferences tonight, no daycare tomorrow afternoon, seminar on thursday, and teaching on friday. the week will be gone before i know it. i ruthlessly scheduled myself to the hilt this week to provide myself with an escape into activity and activity to keep my mind from wondering. *sigh* my mind is wondering anyway. and i am here logging that i wish i'd left an opportunity to walk down memory lane.

Monday, September 15, 2008

good run = my moving meditation

what a good run today. beautiful seventy-degree afternoon and a light cool breeze. sometimes when i'm running i look at the ground in front of me. it helps me to just focus on one foot in front of the other. my mind kind of blurs and i just concentrate on the movement. i don't look around, just breathe, form, movement.

other times during the run, i look around. i enjoy the late afternoon sun shining on the soy beans or corn in the fields. the way the dirt road stretches out in front of me - a road to anywhere. life is like that - some days i've got my nose pressed so close to the grind stone that i hardly notice who is walking by me in the hallway or if it is raining or sunny outside. so focused on the task at hand that i don't notice where i'm going with it or how time is flying by. other times, i can see [picture] the data structures, the dependencies, the inner connected systems all around me, and it is a beautiful thing to behold.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

what a weekend

the kids have been a lot loony today. running around, kicking the wall while supposed to be napping, throwing toys, whining... ey yi yi. you would never know that they were old enough to know better.

things have calmed down now. the four-n-a-half-footer is in the bathroom having a bubble bath. he oscillates between turd and fact encyclopedia - "mom, did you know that those tanks that divers use to breath underwater can run out of air? they can, you know." "yes, sweetie, that is why divers wear special dive watches so that they can know how much air they have left and when to swim to the surface..."

the four-footer (3 years junior to the four-n-a-half-footer) runs around screaming and waving his arms like a lunatic and pauses to hug me and say "mommy, i love you too."


art lessons starting again - yippee

my grade school teaching sessions start again this week. hurray! i am excited about working with the kids again. i volunteer teach at my sons' charter school. i started this last year and taught roughly every friday during january, february, march, and may.

at that time [in march], my teaching was abruptly interrupted (by some emergency tumor removal surgery - i am fine). now that i'm back to 100%, the staff has asked me to return. i love doing it but my 'real job' schedule is murderous this fall/winter so i cannot do it every week as i would like to do.

instead, i still get the opportunity to work with them one friday a month. the awesome thing about this round versus last time is that i will have single classrooms at a time - last time i had 80 kids in each of 2 classes at 45 minutes a pop. it was a little hard to plan for and the multi-ages of the kids made it sort of difficult to tailor the class.

this year i will get small classes of single age groups. i will have 6 classes to teach instead of 2, but it will be much easier to work with them. i think all the kids will benefit from this new arrangement. it will also allow me to take the whole day off instead of just the afternoon - so i will really be able to focus on them and be in the moment; instead of walking out of a rushed morning addressing server issues or whatever at work. i will have more time to catch up on my paper grading between classes too.

i like to scan in at least something from each session done by each child. at the end of the year or unit, i put together a slide show of their work.

i will dig up some of the work from last fall and post it. i was amazed at the quality of work from these small artists. so much of this is tied to the ability to let go of inhibitions and just try things. these little visionaries do great work!

this week we will spend 10 minutes at the beginning of class reviewing the techniques that we learned last year, and then free draw, and then re-visit the critique at the end. i was so surprised how well the kids critique. it is important to give appropriate and positive feedback to other artists and they did a great job last year participating and staying positive.


i watched the rest of the Flight of the Conchords first season tonight. i cannot believe there isn't a blog titled FlightOfTheConchordsFanBase! i almost registered it, but thought i better leave it for Mel - well maybe i should have looked for CrazyDogggz...

okay, i just went and looked - and there is a site at that address. it is not related to FotC, but funny none the less. i read that and thought "Oh, my, that sounds like my boys! it really doesn't get any better... " *laughing* kyle's feedback: "a day in the life."

editor's notes

i've noticed some grammar corrections or other clean-up (and redaction) that i would like to make a run through the posts of the last month. if you're a RSS subscriber, sorry, you will probably see a small avalanche of posts that you're already seen, come over as new. please, just ignore them.

i did move some more sql stuff over on the other site, because it didn't seem to go here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

road trip

it seems now that i may need professional assistance on the reports i've finally carved out time to work on, the window of opportunity has closed. this is unfortunate, as i have the standards for the group to generate, the master project to mind, plus sql and ssrs reports to construct... but there is a group to form and motivate into helping me within my time constraints. so i guess i have every excuse to say i don't have time for a road trip.

career windfalls

it is pretty cool when you've been eyeing up a cool project and then you actually get assigned to it. that's definitely reason to celebrate and helps put some motivation back into jumping out of bed in the morning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

quotes worth knowing... and keeping

i will be adding quotes on the main area to keep them fresh. i tend to come across a lot of things i like and find interesting or inspirational, because i read a lot. well that's typically how i come across them anyway. i'm sure you've got your own way of stumbling onto good ones.

These are organized with the earliest posting at the bottom.

"'Twas but to bless these hours of shade / That beauty and the mood were made; " - Thomas Moore

"Dear, I do not live to piss you off." - me

"Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, under any conditions, will I give a vendor administrative rights to a server." - me

"You're Astonishing. How dare you waste it." - Seth Godin

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao-tzu

"Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one's liberty." - henri frederic amiel

"The lesson is simple: If you've got as much as you've got, use it. Use it to become the best in the world, to change the game, to set the agenda for everyone else." - seth godin

"To be truly and wholly present even for the briefest moment is to be vulnerable..." -lin jensen

"Love must be free to flow and recede, flirt and retreat, and grow and rest in cycles as timeless as phases of the moon." - unknown author

"And even the lie was ... not without honor." - Eddard Stark, A Game of Thrones, GRRMartin

quotes and books

goodness, i am going to need a book list page and a quote page soon.

i just updated my book list this morning with all the little nuggets that i'd piled up in my to do list to add to it. holy! i just added 34 books to the list. i think it is safe to say reading as a life-long passion for me.

you know i wouldn't mind writing a book here or there. that is one of the reasons i didn't take a consulting job at a particularly good firm - the employment contract stated that anything i wrote like a book, article, etc at any time while i was employed there (whether on-the-clock or not) belonged to them. screw that.

as it is, enough of my ideas are thrown into the dog-pit for people to fight over. it's fine at work, because that is how problems are solved. if people contribute to an idea or bolt on their part, it doesn't matter whose it started out to be - collaborate, grow, fix, and improve. i'm free with that kind of idea-kumbiya.

admittedly, it bugs me when there was no collaboration and someone flat-out tells their supervisor that something you did was produced by them or was their idea when it is clearly in no way possible and even documented differently. ey-yi-yi. the desperation of some people knows no bounds.

outside of work, my thoughts are my own. don't get me wrong; i thrive on input and feedback as one thing leads to another. that is how organic, creative ideas take root and turn into something awesome. it is very exciting to come to a cool place and be able to look at someone and say, 'wow, that is really something! was my idea or yours?' when you can see an idea grow with attributes of both, the idea is better for it, you're better for it, the world is better for it.

ssrs project underway

on another front, i made extraordinary progress today - maybe i feel that way because this particular ssrs project has been difficult to initiate and move along because the model is complex and most of the report-writers are not SQL people.

huge decisions made and progress initiated. admittedly, i'm pushing some of it along because having naming standards (however minimal) and a project/folder structure, a master report project for our group reports will make the most sense.

i've got 25 tasks/next action steps to work on and a weekly conference call setup to keep progress moving... now if we could just get the requirements nailed down... we're working on that too. it should be an exciting fall.

primary elections are primarily over

well, so far so good. i'm home from primary elections support. i was on-hand to test out the new data import process that i am building for the elections data to be displayed on our web site. i did the design for the elections web site, but with the limited development time i get, i had to out-source the actual coding (fun part). well, one of the fun parts.

the other fun part has been getting this data out and parsing the ascii files it generates, and creating a whole data validation rule set around it, error handling with email notifications, and checkpoints throughout the import process.

i expected to have errors this dry run, because i was guessing at the parsing a little. but one character adjustment to one field and starting value adjustments for each of the fields after that and voila! the second try i was importing data right were i needed it.

i have some work left to complete and test the validation routines and throw in the extended stored procs to enable me to send SMTP email messages; so far, amazingly good. i thought i would be there all night tonight, but i was able to leave by 1 am and that included working on the validation after all of our data was received.

rock on!

Monday, September 08, 2008

i lost my keys and then found them in the darnedest place...

you know, when you lose something important, it can drive you sort of wild for a while as your mind just keeps coming back to the thing you can't find. you ask yourself, 'now where did i put that?' and your brain keeps showing you little visual vignettes of where it remembers seeing your keys before.

you stroll into the kitchen for a drink of water or any common thing; suddenly your brain pops up a mental picture of your keys sitting on the counter right in front of you - except you know full well that your keys haven't been there for at least a week... your brain's just trying to help you jog a little. this can become extremely irksome. if you're a visual beast like me, you run to the nearest location and check it. sometimes that leads you to think of other places your keys could be or what you were doing at the time you set your keys down over there...

my usual next step is to mount a full scale search of every crevice, pocket, shoe, bag, surface, cubby, pocket, and bin between the car, my door, and my desk. if i've failed to find my keys at this point, my next step is usually to abandon the idea of searching and just go back to boiler-plating it for a while. after a week of using up mental energy on such a pointless thing, i sucumb to having a new set made or a new key ordered.

at the point between letting go of the search and the arrival of the new key (or in one particular case a household move from one place to another), you find that key you lost. i found a key today. it wasn't to my car or house, but something vastly more important. i found the key to moving on from this loss and i know i'm going to be alright.

i'm done tipping my brain upside down and digging through the past. i'm going to be alright in my life and my work, my place and my conscience. i have a lot of work ahead of me to follow my purpose and define my true balance, but i just know i'm going to be able to do it.

the dip

i've been thinking about my newly defined purpose. this needs some refining and remodeling, but it is very close. i initiated a new blog last night to address the 'other half' of my life - programming. but i haven't put anything in there yet. maybe i like this one too much or maybe i'm hesitating because more and more i like the idea of bringing the two (professional and personal) back together and mixing them up. perhaps that is one way to help acheive a balance between them... so we'll see if that other makes the cut or gets cut.

here's my draft purpose:
My purpose is to re-ignite the fire of joy in others by helping individuals overcome obstacles and solve problems creatively with business application development and visual expression.

that deserves a pause.

go back up and re-read it. (don't create an endless loop... one re-read is enough.)

again, it is missing something or needs some editing, but it is closer than having none and it is very close to being right for me.

i have several books that i'm reading and will read (e.g. the 4 feet on my book shelf of to-be-read) and many, many, more books-in-waiting on my to read list. i was paging through The Dip by Seth Godin on the way to read from my current bedtime stack last night.

this goes along with my new purpose - here's a few lines from seth godin - priceless.

"You're Astonishing

"How dare you waste it.

"You and your organization have the power to change everything. To create remarkable products and services. To over deliver. To be the best in the world.

"How dare you squander that resource by spreading it too thin.

"How dare you settle for mediocre just because you're busy coping with too many things on your agenda, racing against the clock to get it all done.

"The lesson is simple: If you've got as much as you've got, use it. Use it to become the best in the world, to change the game, to set the agenda for everyone else."

Yes. Yes. Yes!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

some balance restored

i attended a purpose workshop on saturday. it was an event put on by the library and lead by elizabeth craig called 'working on purpose.'

i left with a toolbox full of ideas for breaking out of the numb phase i've been languishing in for a couple of weeks. through the day's activities, i was able to spot something probably obvious to others that i had been trying to bury - that i have an imbalance in the number of personal and supportive relationships in my life.

i attended to make progress in finding my purpose and professional and life goals. i wasn't looking toward my personal life. the small group i was paired with had some helpful balance insights. and like another person at my table, i sort of know this but whether i have balance in my life - though i know i should - is debatable. (there i am again on the fence.) it is not debatable. there is not enough personal balance. which is sort of hard for me, i guess, because i don't trust very easily.

the other thing that makes relationships and balance difficult for me is that what i do is so much part of who i am and how i identify myself; it is an isolated job of information work and i enjoy the solitary aspects of it as much as or more than i enjoy socializing. this is not tied to the job i have or the location i am in, it is just that i am a programmer just like i am an artist. i just am. i cannot imagine ever not doing this and being happy without it. i have always done it. (well since i was seven anyway.)

so i sort of answered my own questions about how to proceed in the job opportunities that are becoming more available (sort of shoved at me). something that was repeated by attendees at this workshop was that "just because you're good at something doesn't mean that you should always accept that others want you to do that."

so just recognizing that and being able to continue in the efforts to pull that back in toward where i want it to be. and not to feel apologetic about it. respectful, yes, but still protecting my own interests. so, some validation that what i've been doing to limit focus professionally and maintain some order there is where i want to go with it. also, it was nice to hear that others struggle with that as well. and i'm doing pretty well at drawing the line in the sand and defending it.

husband and i talked over some of the top seven items that i like to do for fun and discussed what his were. besides each other and the kids, we didn't have any other overlaps. frankly, he is not really interested in thinking about this stuff. he says he's just fine with where he is at, not dissatisfied, and not motivated to take stock or make changes. my rock. slow moving, powerful, grounded.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

but why do it then? (thank you)

so i asked a question and answered it in the same sentence. you did it because you were listening and felt compelled to comfort me. i'm sorry for falling apart so completely that compulsion caused you to reach out. and extremely, heart-wrenchingly grateful.

i had little hope that my blog was being read by anyone. and who could blame readers for turning away when i'm falling apart from the loss here online for anyone to see ~ pathetic in some sense and very therapeutic in another.

the earth truly has felt like a cold and dead place without my dear friend. doubt about what i was mourning had crept in. i turned a corner today. or turned a page.

i've been spammed

i cleaned out my junk mail folder this evening.
then i got all choked up.
then i got relieved and confused.
then i got a little pissed and all indignant.
then i cried.
i guess spam can do that to me.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

self compassion

i've sort of been mulling this topic over for several days and started this post a couple of different times since i read an article last week. i'm no professional writer and just couldn't seem to find the right words to express myself clearly on this topic...

so i'm just releasing this one into the abyss as it is. i read something else this early evening that i want to write about, but it wouldn't make sense without this post going first. (disclaimer: this probably sounds like crap, but who cares this is cyberspace and there's worse crap out there.)

9/1/2008 9:29pm

i happened to pick up an old copy of Tricycle magazine that i had lying around in my magazine rack by my reading chair. the issue is from 2006. each time i clean out the magazine rack it stays, because each time i pick up that particular issue, it seems i read something i didn't seem to notice before. (i swear i've read it cover-to-cover a couple of times.)

i found some wisdom in an article called: 'an ear to the ground' by lin jensen. i'm just going to quote a few paragraphs and then expound on it.

"It's possible to do good and equally possible to do harm, and so we're stuck with the necessity of choice and consequence. And no choice can ever be encompassing and conclusive because the moment is a movement and requires continual adaption and adjustment. We can faithfully adhere to a precept, and yet end up doing irreparable harm. We can never trace the ultimate consequence of our choices, but it's safe to conclude that whatever we decide to do will be fraught with certain error and fall short of the best intent. [...]

"Falling down is what we humans do. If we can acknowledge that fact, judgement softens and we allow the world to be as it is, forgiving ourselves and others for our humanity. The Buddha's First Noble Truth - that suffering exists - is, in itself, a permission to be human and not demand more of ourselves than we're capable of. Our compassion arises from our very fallibility, and love takes root in the soils of human error.

"Knowing that we're certain to make crucial mistakes from which suffering will follow, we seek moral redemption through sustained attention. We stay around to clean up the mess we've made. If we really want to keep the Buddha's house in order, we can't afford to hold anything of ourselves in reserve. To be truly and wholly present even for the briefest moment is to be vulnerable, for we have arrived at a point where the obstacle that fear constructs between ourselves and others dissolves. It is here that the heart is drawn out of hiding and the inherent sympathetic response called compassion arises. We cease seeking our own personal happiness at the expense of others, because we see that the suffering of others is our suffering as well, and we see that our happiness too is inseparable from that of others...."

first - wow. i am completely aghast at the follow of consciousness in that section. it expresses and validates and calms and comforts.

i have been wrestling with the definitions of love and loss in my life and still navigating that road. it is new place for me to be this entangled - well emotionally, well okay, no... i guess i am a generally passionate person when i care about something and i certainly do tend to analyze and re-analyze because i like to feel i have some understanding of what i care about. maybe it is that it happens for me more around projects, data, malleable non-human systems. i have 4 key men in my life (my boys, my husband, my dad) and 3 or 4 very close friends, a handful of friends that i socialize with and many many people that i know and converse with but wouldn't consider friends - i wouldn't open up to them or explain myself - i just don't feel like it is needed. so this whole losing someone close to me has been hard.

i want to understand the relationship and what was its meaning to me in order to understand myself better, learn from it, take something away, and selfishly preserve something positive from it... i have been going about it the wrong (?), no not wrong, just the best way that i could - and it has gotten me to this point. and here, where i am now, is finally starting to look like acceptance. acceptance. that sounds odd. i think that is a stage of the grieving process. anyway, i am more accepting this week of myself, my reactions, and the compassion that i feel. an acceptance that suffering does exist, choices need to be made, and that is the positive to take away.

so that brings me back to that i've been wondering over all the different kinds of love and how friendship is so powerful and the power to love outside ourselves is vital to humanity and all of the shapes of that and how it manifests itself... (far reaching, right.) but i think that in addition to caring for others close and distant, we don't nurture ourselves with as much respect as we should.

let's not lose sight of the compassion that we owe ourselves - to allow ourselves to make choices and mistakes... hopefully we're each allowing ourselves the capacity to be human - explore and find new paths, explore and re-assess, or explore and bring it back home.

i hope that my choices, if unintentionally hurtful to some, have been the best i could make in the moment. i hope that my willingness to have compassion toward myself and others makes me a better person.

"The Zen Buddhist does not ask what's right and wrong but rather, 'What am I to do at this moment?' She has no opinion to put forth. She has learned not to acquire answers, and so holds her question open wherever she goes."

there are only questions. the answers come only in what we can do in our now moment. live and be compassionate.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


i have crossed through a life intersection.

(was there a fender-bender? some days it seems so. maybe i escaped with my life and that's enough... *shrug* it seems somewhat vague yet - like whiplash - i may not know until some time afterwards.)

as i look back at the important people and decisions that i've met and made over the years, there are some that i think i could have gone either way on and still come back around to either the person i am today and/or the place i am today. there are others (some big and some small) that had i acted differently, or the context of my choice had been different, would have altered me or my situation significantly.

some days i'm on the fence over destiny and free will. perhaps i'm just too ambiguous for my own mind... but it seems to me that both could be intertwined. in some cases it doesn't matter, in others destiny is altered completely. perhaps it is not the end that matters, but what we do at life's intersections. you know, that whole its the journey not the destination thing... or a mix. ^_^

i feel altered. i feel changed. my choices make me who i am, but so does my perspective on those choices. full stop, this is not meant to sound like a philosophy essay.

oh heck, let's just call it like it is - all days i'm on the fence over destiny, free will, and many other topics. i try not to be 'a person of right or wrong.' (black and white, good vs. bad decisions - i try to be more of a context decision maker. e.g. Murder is bad, but if someone is attacking me, it would not be below consideration.)