Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Forcing Choice or Focus Doesn’t Work.

 

Maybe, I’ve been watching too much Grace and Frankie on Netflix. Maybe I’m homesick but don’t know which home I miss. (I hate that the computer is the only place all of my loved ones exist at the same time, floating on Cloud.) I am tired of “maybe” in my life.

Maybe, we could live in Mexico full time.

Maybe my husband and I could be limited enough that we won’t be  able to move at all.

Maybe I could write a book that contributes to developing damn good leaders and wonderfully productive, vital workplaces that are good for customers and the people who serve them.

Maybe I could write a memoir. I have had an interesting life, funny and poignant. People are always telling me I should write about my live when I tell them a story that a conversation triggered for me.

Maybe I could read my self to death—until death. Every moment reading a book is worth it.

Maybe I could devote myself to grandchildren, far and wide and give that piece of impact to the world.

Maybe, I could work harder to disseminate I PRAY ANYWAY: Devotions for the Ambivalent (with it’s guidebook coming out in April) and do some good and help soothe souls that are aching.

Maybe I could focus on enjoyment only or on making my health a full time job.

I wrote the above yesterday. I was turning possibilities into a burden. Today, I find it embarrassing.The list is one of wonderful options. I was trying to make myself choose and choice is always involves a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’. I was assuming my timeline to create and produce was limited. It could be. But what I say to clients is, “Let the universe say ‘no’ to guide you, but never say ‘no’ to yourself.

I was trying to make myself say “no”. . Here’s what shook me out of this stance. My soon to be 83 year old husband just published his first column in the San Miguel newspaper, La Atencion. The title is Old and Joyous. It will be a bi-weekly article. He says, “yes”.

Speaking truth always helps and this blog is dedicated to TRUTH Burps. What is my truth now? “Clarity will come. Keep talking. Keep moving in many and all directions. You are exploring while producing. Congratulate yourself. Onward.” Think I will let go of forcing focus and choice and, as a friend said to me, “Let it simmer.” Thanks Carol.

 

 

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Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Stewing In “Maybe”

Truth burps 1/20/18

Wow. Maybe Whaaaw! Maybe, I’ve been watching too much Frankie and Grace on Netflix. Maybe I’m homesick. (I hate that the computer is the only place all of my loved ones exist at the same time, floating on Cloud.

I am tired of “maybe” in my life. (Hey people, I am burping truth today!)

Maybe, we will live in Mexico full time.

Maybe one of us will be limited enough that we won’t be able to move at all.

Maybe I want to write a book that contributes to damn good leaders and wonderfully productive, vital workplaces that are good for customers and the people who serve them.

Maybe I want to write a memoir. I have had an interesting life, funny and poignant. People are always telling me I should write about my life when I tell them a story that I have totally forgotten about that the conversation triggered.

Maybe I should read my self to death—until death. Every moment spent reading is worth it.

Maybe I should devote myself to grandchildren, far and wide and give that piece of impact to the world.

Maybe, I PRAY ANYWAY:Devotions for the Ambivalent (and its guidebook coming out in April) can do some good, can help soothe souls that are aching.

Maybe I should focus on enjoyment only and on making my health a full time job.

 

 

Maybe sucks. Being stuck stinks Living becalmed on the surface and roiling below is debilitating Knowing that I may only have five truly productive years left is like a very harsh deadline. Living as if  I do only have five years lift to create is self-limiting. I want to widen my focus and impact not limit it, so the question is, HOW to do that, not “IF” I should do that. I do know that pessimists test as being better predictors of events. I do know that optimists make things move and open the energy for different That means I’m not so good at reality predictions and they don’t interest me.

Mmmmm. Speaking truth always helps and this blog is dedicated to TRUTH Burps. What do I say to myself? “Clarity will come. Keep talking. Keep moving in many and all directions. You are exploring while producing. Congratulate yourself. Onward.”

My answer is, “OK.”

 

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Saturday, January 13th, 2018

De Quejando a Celebración–from complaining to celebrating

 

I am in San Miguel de Allende Mexico.
Many of you know this. It is an exceptional city. Great restaurants, great cultural events amid colonial architectural beauty. It is an UNESCO heritage site. I sometimes wonder what people envision when I say I am in Mexico for the Winter. Margaritas? Pool side lounge? Tiny village with burros?

I could be doing most of that, but I LIVE and work from here. So
right now my computer connection is weird and unreliable. I tried Facetiming a friend in Maine and ended up speaking with a woman in the Netherlands by the same name—and not a common name. Actually I’m more weird and unreliable technically than my computer is.

I spent three hours two days ago in the bank figuring out how to transfer money to pay Mexico bills. Lots of acting out the word for “withdraw”! Picture it. “Success”I think until I get home and get a call and have to go back to pick up a receipt that means nothing to me but the bank seems urgent about it. Everything is uphill or downhill and mostly cobblestoned so I take a Taxi. I look rich in pesos and poor in dollars. Makes buying confusing. I hold back when I should spend and vice-versa.

I go shopping for groceries in a modern supermarket, then come home to forty concrete steps to reach the kitchen. This is the price we pay for a great view of the city if we take the twenty more steps to get to the roof top and remember how the door can slam shut and lock you out above food and bathroom and help. Yes, I did do that. And the night watchman for our cluster of houses is deaf. I ended up throwing tiny pebble at him from a planter. Took lots of tries and when I first hit him, he just waved.

Right now, we have no hot water and are short on lights due to no light bulbs (focos) because the Supermarket does not sell them. The hardware store is far away. Somehow, a renter locked the closet door  and it has the heavy blankets in it. (Yes it is cold here too right now) The electric heater blows the fuse so the choice is heat or light.I know. I know. I am very very lucky to be here. But it felt good to “complain and explain” the difference between living and visiting in a wonderful place.

The counter balance is
We have Chichimecan Indian neighbors who include us in their family.
We have a rich culture to explore up close and we learn more every year about Mexico from the inside out. We are challenged to learn a new language not as a luxury but as necessity to buy light bulbs and not insult every Mexican person we speak to. We can walk to town in twenty minutes (“very down” to town and “very up” to return) and have street food or go to a very sophisticated restaurant. We can have adventures. Tomorrow I will visit a “curandero” (an Indian healer) to help me breathe in such high altitude with asthma. Why not? He is easily available in the gorgeous courtyard outside of Starbucks. People will walk by and I will have a cure or maybe only an adventure.

This week the local paper says I can go a Playwrights Winter Showcase, a Mexican/Canada Co-Opera-tive opera, a documentary film on the history of Mexico at the bi-lingual library, see Tango Nuevo at a local restaurant to benefit the Mexican Orphanage, go to hear lectures at the Center for Global Justice or to a concert of the Macondo Chamber Players, a piano quintet.

Writing this highlights for me that we” live” here in our community of Valle del Maiz. We are grounded here with all the normal irritations of householding. We can be tourists in San Miguel when we choose. But we are never on vacation.  Living and visiting are two very different experiences. What’s a little cold water? Asi es la vida.

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Monday, January 8th, 2018

Shining Moments

I wrote about the holiday blur that occurs as holiday time becomes pressure cooker compressed and we are not ‘in’ the celebration but are managing it and trying to endure to the end of the race intact to then be smacked by the cultural demand for New Year’s resolutions.

And yet, I had my shining moments in the midst of it all. They stand out and last past the moment. I used to ask my kids for their mental snapshots from their day. Here are mine are mine from Christmas 2017.

—One moment was my daughter Megan singing with her friend Sara in concert in Portland a few days before Christmas. The first big snow of the season was in full force.  They opened singing acapella, both dressed in long white dress, facing one another singing a Christma carol–In the Bleak Midwinter. The stage was adorned (adorned is the exact right word) with white pine trees. Behind the audience, the huge window was a diorama like scene of snow and colored lights and bundled up people walking by. The two women looked like burning candles candles as they stood absolutely still, singing this holy song. This Friday night audience ready to party were stunned listening into a silent, holy night moment.

—A week before Christmas, I did a reading/conversation of the book I wrote I PRAY ANYWAY: Devotions for the Ambivalent. A friend hosted the gathering of about twenty-five women. After wine and chatting and food we gathered around the fireplace and fell into a great conversation, talking informally and intimately about God and prayer and modern religion and our personal beliefs. We laughed a lot and wept a little. It was what connection feels like. We left with “comfort and joy”.

—I was happy to have my granddaughter spend Christmas Eve night at our house. She sleeps in an alcove off the master bedroom.i. At 3:30 Iin the mornng I heard her call me. She couldn’t sleep. I took her into my den and we had a Christmas Eve party. She unwrapped a gift, a book about the Nativity that had flaps to open (always a hit) and we had a cookie and and an orange and she sat in my arms and we talked and opened flaps. We headed to bed at 5 am, happy and sleepy.

—A few days before Christmas, late at night, I was alone in the living room. I had stubbornly decided to put up a live garland on the stairway leading to the second floor even though it would be up only a few days before we left for Mexico for the Winter. Putting up a twelve foot garland alone takes—well, contortion is what it takes. But I had done it every year. It was close to midnight but I hung the darn garland. I plopped down in my  usual arm chair triumphant but grumpy. . I turned off all of the lights but those of the tree and mantle and garland . I picked up my iPad for one last game of Solitaire and instead went to Pandora and chose Christmas music. On came the Alleluia Chorus. Up I stood (headphones in place) and I conducted the chorus wildly swinging my arms while I sang through the entire Messiah. It was (and I am minimizing) exhilarating!! (I would love to have a recording of me belting out The Messiah totally out of tune but with grand abandonment.)

I like the ritual and planning for the holiday season. That’s one of the reasons I put up a long garland alone late at night. I had always put up a garland and I was going to do it no matter what. My Oregon daughter called to say she was making ritual food from our Christmas’s. My Seattle daughter-law called to say she was thinking of us as she put food on the back porch when her fridge was full, which I always do in Winter. My Portland Maine daughter made my mom’s favorite cookies and my Portland Maine son had the usual liver pate and country bread. My California kids who met us in Mexico told stories to their daughters about Christmas Eve at my house and exactly what the ritual was, from food to timing to activities.

I honor the holiday rituals. They hold us together beyond geography and, even, time. But my shining holiday moments were not planned.Still, they would not have happened without the customs (demands?) of the season. I’m reminded again and again that preparation is done so the unexpected can happen.

 

 

 

 

 

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