Friday, February 8, 2008

The grounding, Part III

My head feels like it is completely bubbling over with all the great stuff I've learned this week. I love how life continues to throw me curve balls and sometimes I flub them and sometimes I just hit them out of the park, but regardless of the outcome I'm always learning something. One of the biggest things I've learned this week probably should have been obvious -- although those are the things that usually take me longer to figure out -- which is that grounding is an ongoing process. It's not like getting a tattoo or something where you can see immediate results and there's not a significant amount of maintenance, you have to work on it a little bit each day. And there's not a magic tonic that will always work -- you have to find balance even within the act of grounding.

While Wednesday was all about getting organized, yesterday was about Abundance and Nature. And yes, those are capital-letter concepts for me. I was absolutely thrilled because I finally got my first freelancing check. Phew! I've been biting my nails for a few weeks now, anxious because while I absolutely did not want to put a single penny more on the credit card, the cash on-hand wasn't enough to cover our expenses. Yesterday's check was for three weeks of work and I felt such a flood of relief pour through me as I reviewed our financial situation. I did what I'd been putting off doing for a while now -- I shined a light on our expenses and put together a plan of where our money is going for the next couple of months. The whole time I was doing it, I could feel my center getting more secure, I could feel the concept of Abundance flowing through my body, and I felt so steady, so stable, so . . . grounded. It was like a lightbulb went off in my body that said, Eureka! Feeling secure about my finances makes me feel grounded! I know, Duh! But it was good for me to see the truth of it and to really feel it through and through.

The other thing I did was to take a lovely 3-mile walk at the reservoir. I'd had plans to go with a friend and when she had to cancel, I could feel myself start to think about the other things this would open me up to do at home that afternoon. Thankfully, an inner voice rang out loud and clear reminding me how important it is for me to get outside while the sun is shining, to connect with nature, and to be active in the process. Riding high on this concept, I also made plans with some friends to go to the beach next weekend (I really hope it doesn't rain), knowing how walking alongside the ocean is both necessary and something I never do often enough. I don't know if it's because I'm a water sign, but rivers, lakes, oceans, ponds, even puddles speak to me deeply. It's always been interesting to me that the two places that ground me the most are the desert and the ocean -- the presence and absence of water, yet both teaming with life. I can feel my energy shift in their presence.

Ah, I feel very content this morning. I feel like I am opening up, like this experience of grounding has made it possible for me to connect more deeply with myself, with Source, and with those around me. And I feel such FLOW happening -- I registered for the Avon Breast Walk and people are already coming out of the woodwork to walk with me, I have an interview lined up for Sunday, and I even feel short story ideas beginning to bubble up. Yes, please! I love this process, I love the learning, I love the living of it. Namaste.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The grounding, Part II

This process of grounding is truly a process. While I did finish the task I set out to accomplish yesterday, it did not leave me with the feeling of relief and order that I was hoping for. The good news is that I can now be lazy and not have to look for things (ha ha ha). The bad news is that it seems the whole apartment needs this type of overhaul. Our place is pretty small and our hobbies tend to take up a lot of space. The office bears the brunt of this and until we have more room in which to set up a system of organization that can actually be maintained, order really needs to be restored fairly regularly or we just have to live with the consequences. Office aside, the kitchen really needs to be tackled, and then when that's done, I should really do something about old magazines, and then go through the paperbacks to see which ones can be donated to new homes, and then there are closets that need some reorienting, and then . . .

When does it end? At what point does getting organized become just being a perfectionist, or only seeing what's wrong instead of being able to see what's right? Or is that just "all or nothing" thinking, where if one thing is organized then everything else should be, and if one thing is disorganized everything might as well be? And what about Nietzsche's discovery, "You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star" -- where is there room for my creative chaos?

As with everything else, it seems, I need to find a balance here. Order enables me to be still, to reduce distractions, to see clearly, and chaos enables me to mix things up, to get silly and crazy and messy and see what happens. Order provides the grounding so that when I am open at the top, truly connected to that divine creativity that is calling me to expand, I can be stretched yet maintain my connection to the earth. One of the reasons I love Yael Naim's Far Far so much is that she's talking about that birthing process, praying for something to happen to her, feeling the beautiful mess inside and recognizing where it will lead. "I guess I'll have to give it birth / To give it birth / There's a beautiful mess inside and it's everywhere." Sometimes things have to get messy before we can get clear, but that mess needs space in which it can live and breathe and feel safe once the birthing process is complete.

So I will continue to ground myself, to get organized and nurture myself and my family. And I will continue to reach out into the stars, to let things get a little messy and see where it leads, knowing that I have laid the foundation that makes it possible for me to find order and clarity when I need to. Namaste.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Little Wonders

I bought another song from iTunes today. I know, I'd say this explains why I'm short on cash, but I used $0.99 of a gift certificate I've had for over a year, so it wasn't actually a large investment. It was a song -- Little Wonders by Rob Thomas -- that I've been hearing on the radio on and off lately, but I'd never really listened to.

I was struck tonight by the simplicity and the truth of its lyrics. "Our lives are made / In these small hours / These little wonders / These twists & turns of fate / Time falls away / But these small hours / These small hours still remain." In other words, our lives are now, our lives are in the little things, are lives are always happening, and while we're waiting for the big stuff to happen, our lives are really made up in the little wonders we usually deem inconsequential.

Wow, good stuff. Now from what I can tell, it's only on the Meet the Robinsons soundtrack, so iTunes may be your best bet. Then again, Rufus Wainwright is a lot of fun . . .

Song: Little Wonders
Artist: Rob Thomas
More information:

Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don't you know
The hardest part is over
Let it in,
Let your clarity define you
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

Let it slide,
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine
Until you feel it all around you
And i don't mind
If it's me you need to turn to
We'll get by,
It's the heart that really matters in the end

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

All of my regret
Will wash away some how
But I cannot forget
The way I feel right now
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
These twists & turns of fate

Time falls away, yeah, but these small hours
These small hours, still remain,
Still remain
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These little wonders still remain

The grounding, Part I

I have made such a mess. As part of my grounding work, I decided it was time to tackle a project I've been putting off since I quit my job -- the filing cabinet. Now, it wouldn't be that big of a deal if I already had a filing cabinet that just needed reorganizing. Taking something that was once organized and making it organized yet again is right up my alley. This undertaking is much larger, and more daunting, hence the postponement. Since we replaced the furniture in the office last spring, our files, as well as just about everything else that was in some sort of drawer previously, have been living in moving boxes underneath my desk. Add to that the utter chaos created by thoughts like, Oh, I can just figure out where to put this when I organize the filing cabinet, and you've got a pretty big mess. And cleaning it up makes an even bigger mess -- the floor of my office is now completely full of little piles of stuff that need homes to be found.

My flight responses are kicking in pretty hard. I'm thinking of all the other things I could be doing right now -- physical therapy, clothes shopping, applying for jobs -- stuff that usually I'm incredibly resistant to that now sounds like the most fun I could possibly be having. I gave myself permission to take a break, to do a quick post, but then I'm diving back in.

The good news is that this is a wonderful exercise in ordering my life and my mind. I had to file some of the easier stuff, just to make room on the floor, and with it came a sense of calm. I can imagine what finishing will feel like, and I feel the beginning inkling of joy with those thoughts, but that can be distracting too. In the meantime, I have to just keep focused on the task at hand, keep plugging away at throwing things out, sorting things into piles of like concepts, seeing the order in the midst of the chaos.

I know that this exercise is part of my grounding process, but it feels like you have to completely unground first in order to find your center, to locate even ground on which you might ultimately find stable footing. It's a little disorienting, but I trust in the end result, and in my ability to see Truth behind appearances. Glad I honed that skill ages ago -- it is definitely coming in handy now! Namaste.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I can't wait to make dinner tonight. I was really enjoying cooking healthy meals there for a while, but I got off track along with everything else. I'm excited to get back into it again! I've been a believer in "all things in moderation" for a while now, and collect cookbooks and diet books aimed at this concept. My latest favorite is Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less by Mollie Katzen and Walter Willett, M.D. I love Mollie Katzen and her Moosewood cookbooks, so already this book had something going for it, but it's got a simple, informative, understandable style that makes food consumption akin to common sense. Go figure. Plus, the recipes are all Mollie's and they're wonderful. Some are super easy, others a little more time intensive, but all of them are yummy. Plus, she makes it easy for me to adapt meals to accommodate both vegetarians, like me, and omnivores, like my husband. Very cool.

The Witch of Portobello, interestingly enough, has just a couple of paragraphs about diet, but I loved them. Almost as an afterthought, the main character, Athena, talks about diets as both unnecessary and unhealthy. Mostly she talks about the struggle to remain thin as we age as a battle that can consume energy that would be better invested in spiritual labors. My favorite part is when she says, "Eat in moderation, but take pleasure in eating: it isn't what enters a person's mouth that's evil, but what leaves it." Oh yeah. So I am taking pleasure in eating my three meals a day, and taking pleasure in preparing those meals as well. It feels so self-nurturing, a practice that I can always do more of.

I'm actually making quite a bit of food tonight, however we'll just be having a little of everything. I expect the leftovers to be yummy. We'll start with Ten-Minute Tomato Soup -- I haven't tried it yet, but it looks simple, garlicky, and delicious. Chicken and Quorn (a vegetarian chicken) cook easily on the grill. I'll bake a couple of sweet potatoes-- SO good and good for you too! I'm going to chop up some broccoli, putting some aside to have in a scramble for breakfast and sautéing the remainder for dinner tonight. And finally, I'm making a grain dish with cashews for a little extra protein and some whole grains. It should be relatively simple, even though with 5 dishes included it's something I never would have thought to have tried when I was working. The extra time is such a treat as I experiment with new recipes and find ways to incorporate extra servings of vegetables throughout the day.

This is part of the re-grounding I've been doing today. In addition to doing a little grocery shopping, I cleaned up, preparing the way to do some organizational tasks tomorrow. I was told today that while it great that I am opening up and connecting to Source, I have to remember to ground myself before I float away. So this is what I'm doing. We shall see how it dovetails with my goal of achieving balance this week, but so far everything I've done has felt absolutely essential. What kinds of things do you find grounding? Perhaps I can add them to the to-do list this week. Namaste.

Post-dinner note, 9pm: That thing about getting grounded before you float away is true. While my intentions were good, I kind of forgot to plan things, which meant I hadn't read all of the recipes all the way through or in a couple of days or whatnot. The gravy took twice as long as I realized and the broccoli ended up getting cold. I completely forgot about the sweet potatoes -- we'll have to have those another night -- and I didn't realize the grains needed to cook for 90+ minutes, so I improvised with some rices and the nuts. The grains actually turned out superb, by the way -- adding nuts is an excellent (and yummy) idea. The gravy was also excellent -- I threw in a little Marsala towards the end, which rounded out the flavors nicely. The soup was a downer -- it would need to be heavily edited before I'd try it again, I think -- but the broccoli was simple and tasty. All and all, I would say this would be a great meal if some of the work was done in advance, along with a lot more planning. But it was still a pleasure to eat. :)

DaVinci Quote

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

~Leonardo DaVinci

Far Far

I just downloaded this song, Far Far by Yael Naim, from iTunes -- it's one of the free discovery downloads for the week. I've already listened to it five times (make that six while I've been typing) and I can tell it will quickly become a favorite, partially for the talents of the singer-songwriter with her angelic voice, and partially for the lyrics that speak to where I am in my life. Many, many thank yous to Frannie who pointed it out to me this morning. All I can say is wow!

My favorite phrases string together like poetry: There's a beautiful mess inside . . . Take a deep breath and dive . . . I guess I'll have to give it birth . . . Deeper than you ever dared . . .

So the only place I've been able to find her eponymous album is on iTunes. She does have a single import on Amazon. She's French-Israeli, and she recorded her latest album in France last year. Apparently she participated in the Yes, We Can video supporting Barrack Obama's campaign -- maybe she's the one singing in another language? And that would be the sum total of what I know.

Note, 2/7: Apparently this import is available on Amazon now so it's possible to pick up the actual CD.

Song: Far Far
Artist: Yael Naim
Album: Yael Naim
More information:

Far, far, there's this little girl
She was praying for something to happen to her
Everyday she writes words and more words
Just to speak out the thoughts that keep floating inside
And she's strong when the dreams come cos' they
Take her, cover her, they are all over
The reality looks far now, but don't go

How can you stay outside?
There's a beautiful mess inside
How can you stay outside?
There's a beautiful mess inside
Oh oh oh oh

Far far, there's this little girl
She was praying for something good to happen to her
From time to time there are colors and shapes
Dazzling her eyes, tickling her hands
They invent her a new world with
Oil skies and aquarel rivers
But don't you run away already
Please don't go oh oh

How can you stay outside?
There's a beautiful mess inside
How can you stay outside?
There's a beautiful mess inside
Take a deep breath and dive
There's a beautiful mess inside
How can you stay outside?
There's a beautiful mess
Beautiful mess inside

Oh beautiful, beautiful

Far far there's this little girl
She was praying for something big to happen to her
Every night she hears beautiful strange music
It's everywhere there's nowhere to hide
But if it fades she begs
"Oh lord don't take it from me, don't take it," she says

I guess I'll have to give it birth
To give it birth
I guess, I guess, I guess I have to give it birth
I guess I have to, have to give it birth
There's a beautiful mess inside and it's everywhere

So shake it yourself now deep inside
Deeper than you ever dared
Deeper than you ever dared
There's a beautiful mess inside
Beautiful mess inside

Monday, February 4, 2008

Getting back on track

Routines. They feel both so restrictive and so necessary -- the ultimate in not being able to live with or without something. I often find them stifling, like they get in the way of my ability to get anything done. Or when there are too many things planned and scheduled, I feel like there's no room left for spontaneity or creativity. But when the pendulum swings the other way, everything gets out of whack. And without fail, what I don't end up doing -- meditation, stretching, writing, etc. -- is precisely what I need to be doing at a minimum in order to stay connected and centered and on track.

I've spent a substantial amount of time in the past few years trying to get my back straightened out. I'll throw my back out and spend weeks or even months working to get it into shape. Some days it will be better than others, I'll have the sense of improvement, and then wham, I bend to pick something up and it locks up again. I tend to hold my stress in my body -- I can often tell when I'm out of whack internally by how I feel physically -- and my neck, shoulders, and back are the places where this shows up the most. When I started going to physical therapy for my knees this fall, something amazing started to happen -- my back was getting better without my really doing anything. I'm sure there were a few things at play here -- for example, not working was alleviating a substantial amount of the stress -- but the biggest change, really, was that I had found a routine in which I was stretching nearly daily. My whole body responded beautifully to this, as if to say, Ah, she finally figured it out, thank you.

This month, I've fallen off of my physical routine. I haven't been stretching or doing my home exercises anywhere near as much as I was during November and December, and man oh man, can I ever feel the difference. Combine that with a weekend where I've fallen off the rest of my routine and wow, you've got a double whammy. When I woke up this morning, my whole body hurt and I felt fuzzy, out of sync, disoriented. I stretched a little bit, did my morning pages, and I can already feel my body and my energy turning around. Next up, meditation. By the time lunch rolls around I bet I'll be flying high again.

I think the key here, as with everything else, is BALANCE. I know, I know, I'm a broken record here, but honestly, nothing could be more important to me right now. I don't know how it works, I'm still figuring it out a little bit every day, but I know it is possible to have a life that is both routined and spontaneous, that is both spiritual and down-to-earth, that is both fulfilling and fun. This is my intention for today and for the week -- to find that balance, to stay connected and on track yet still have fun, to be open to the messages I receive and trust that there is plenty of time to follow where they lead. Namaste.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


What an amazing game today. There is something affirming about rooting for the underdog and then seeing them win. The Giants were a wild card team -- they were expected to lose every playoff game AND the Super Bowl, but they didn't let other people's expectations affect their vision of themselves. They just got out there and played like they deserved to be there, ultimately proving to everyone else that they did. It's an inspirational concept we can all apply to some aspect of our lives. It's kind of akin to "Act As If" -- if you act as if you've already reached your goals, everything else will fall into place to actually make you reach those goals. Good stuff.

So, my back is still not 100%, but it is healing amazingly quickly. I'm going to do my part by going to bed now and getting a good night's sleep. I don't know what it is, but this week feels like it is going to be HUGE. Keep your eyes open and let me know what unfolds for you too. Namaste.