So Close (and yet…)

 

My sister, who just moved across the country to Los Angeles seven months pregnant with her second child to take a job with Hulu, sent me a text saying she’d met a woman who knows Jimmy.  It’s one of her new co-workers at Hulu.  At almost the same moment, the woman texted Jimmy a selfie of herself with my sister, saying: “Guess who I work with?”

My sister and my mom were very baffled by this, by the “small world” factor I suppose. I wasn’t phased though, for reasons that don’t totally make sense, and that even contradict one another.

One is that Jimmy knows a shocking amount of people. And like, not like the way most people “know” other people–he has deep, substantive connections with a shocking amount of people. So is it weird that my sister would encounter one in a different state and city? Not really.

Another is that, like a great many of the people he knows, this woman went through the program (about a decade ago). This made it especially not-that-surprising.

Why? Well, I intend for my sister to do the program. So, of course she would find herself magnetically pulled toward people who have done it, because lord knows she’ll never listen to ME about it (but someone she barely knows, now that’s a different story – that person may actually have credibility with her, and at the suggestion of someone like that is the only way she’ll ever do it). Because I believe I am a powerful person, it’s not that surprising the planets would align in this manner. In fact, maybe this chance encounter was the entire reason for her taking the job with Hulu and moving across the country.

But, I also believe the Universe likes to taunt me (it comes from my inflated sense of self-importance).  So, it’s almost like this connection happened for the sole purpose of the Universe being able to say to me: “See how close you’re getting to this thing you want very, very badly? Now watch how it doesn’t happen.”

My sister, by the way, doesn’t think much of Jimmy, and it doesn’t seem like that opinion will ever change. So how, you might ask, did she and her coworker even discover this connection? Why would Jimmy, a person she would like to forget exists in her life, ever come up in conversation with a new acquaintance?

Well, she had shown the woman a picture of the boys, as Baby Batman and Baby Superman. The woman instantly recognized them. “I know those babies,” the woman said, and then was incredulous when my sister said they were her nephews and that she and I were sisters.

Facebook is weird, right? This woman has never met our babies, she knows them only from Facebook. She had met me before, though, while I was pregnant with the boys, which she told my sister. She said she had met me at a going away party, for someone who had also moved to Los Angeles. I told my sister I didn’t at all remember meeting this woman (pre-baby memories are really fuzzy, sleep-deprivation is a powerful thing), but I remembered the going away party — it was for Stephen, one of Jimmy’s groomsmen at the wedding.

My sister perked up at the mention of Stephen’s name. “Nate loved Stephen,” she said. Nate is her husband. “They were like, best friends at your wedding. Why didn’t you tell us he had moved to southern California? We are trying to make new friends here. Give us his number!”

I said well, I didn’t know you had connected with him, but yes, you should get in touch – he has a daughter that is exactly your daughter’s age.

So she excitedly got his contact information — from Jimmy, because I didn’t have it, and I presume they’ll make arrangements to hang out together soon. And I want to feel good about this, and encouraged, and even excited,
because both Stephen and his wife are program veterans and program believers, but, I can’t.

I can’t shake the feeling that it’s just the Universe, taunting me again. “See how close you are to your sister finally accepting, and even liking, your husband? See how close she is to becoming open to the program? Now watch how it STILL doesn’t happen.”

I don’t care anyway though, so, whatever (you think if I play it cool, things just might end up working out…?).

The Teeny Tiny Lasagna

I was working form home one Friday and I made myself a microwave Lean Cuisine lasagna for lunch.  It was very tiny.  One might say:  teeny tiny.

Upon looking at this teeny tiny lasagna, an image (or daydream sequence?) suddenly came to mind.

What if I were to tell Jimmy’s family that I was going to make a homemade lasagna for the first time ever for an upcoming family function?  They make fun of me for not knowing how to work an oven, so this would be big news, and it would be this whole production.  I’d start a rumor about how my amateur lasagna was even better than his sister’s, how we were going to invite everyone to come stand around the oven for the big reveal, how it turns out I’m a spectacular cook, I just hadn’t really tried yet.  We’d tell them about how I started preparing to make this lasagna weeks in advance, studying recipes, gathering the best ingredients, doing trial runs only to start all over and do them again.  Then, the day would arrive.  We’d have the entire family standing in the kitchen, gathered around the oven.  I’d put on my brand new oversized pink oven mitts.  I’d waltz over to the oven with a prideful smile beaming across my face.  I’d open it slowly to build suspense, reach in, and carefully pull out:  a teeny tiny Lean Cuisine lasagna.

So, again, this was a super random, and completely unprovoked, daydream-type sequence that came to me as I was eating a Lean Cuisine lasagna.  Jimmy came into the kitchen to find me laughing hysterically.  I could not stop.  I literally had cracked myself up, to the point where I was having trouble breathing and tears were streaming down my face.

I’m not really sure why the teeny tiny lasagna was SO amusing, but, this is actually one of the results I’ve gotten from the work.  I cry a lot easier in front of other people (often in public) — but I laugh a lot easier, too.  Something takes hold and laughter just bubbles out involuntarily.  That may sound like a really small thing (or like something that is or should be normal), but for me it’s kind of huge.  I think sometimes when we talk about “vulnerability,” we think of people sharing things that are really difficult for them.  But sharing and showing joy is pretty vulnerable, too — at least it feels that way to me, in large part because of the household I grew up in (laughing and showing joy or excitement was seen as being or looking silly in my family, and being or looking silly was a very bad thing).

So, I share this story here both to just share the thought that it brought to mind, and also to memorialize it for myself.  I want more moments like this — of joy, silliness, and easy laughter — and less moments of stress and overwhelm.  I declare creating that for myself this summer.

Quick running post

Tonight at work we met with the trainers who will guide the marathon. I left really inspired with the desire to get my pre-training training back on track.

By the time I got home I nearly lost all my motivation, so before I had zero I quickly changed popped in my contacts and headed out for a run. 

Along the way home I was emptying all the videos and pictures from various WhatsApp groups as my storage are starting to run low on my phone. No offense to my dad, who is a fantastic person and father, but he’s overweight and he has no butt, so all his pants end up falling below his waist with his belly hanging over.

Those pictures of what could very well be my future give me additional motivation tonight to really push it as a challenge myself and the Harlem Hills. 

Despite the elevation, I got in my best time for 2 miles in while – a long while – and it felt good to feel that burn again.

I’m excited for the training that lies ahead and to be pushed by the athletes I’m training with who are in better shape than I am. 

Last blog of the cycle

Last week reminded me of what makes my soul happy, traveling. I struggle with routine and sitting in an office day after day. I’m more productive when I’m away, making sure that the work gets done so I have time to get out and explore.

Unfortunately I got bad news when I got back from my cousin Lorna. She was been in remission from ovarian cancer but her cancer markers have increased one the past few months. This week she told me that there is not much more they can do and has started talking to a palliative care team. I’m having flashbacks of my mother’s last months of life and although I know what is ahead, its going to be hard.

Lorna is the only cousin that I have who has been a consistent part of my life. I don’t have sisters, she was the only female family member I knew until I met others when I was in my 30’s.  I’m now trying to see when I can get up to Toronto to see her this summer.

For the goals, I find that I slacked on the photography challenges I set up for myself, but the opportunities that came up with being out of the country were rewarding. I know I will continue to grow with experience and feel that during the past two cycles I’ve made great improvements.

Over all well being had a set back. Being away with a colleague from London in a location where the food was amazingly good and wine was cheap. I over indulged. I’ll be working the next few weeks to fix the damage.

I’ve been inspired by the meditation goals others did and am considering pushing that as my primary goal.

For the final photo share of the cycle, here is a shot from the light show at the Veliko Turnovo castle. They had different color lights going off synced to music. I set up the tripod and tried different focal lengths, but tried not to focus too much on the camera. I wanted to enjoy the show with my own eyes and not just through a camera lens.

 

Veliko4

Veliko5

 

I am a fish…

Having grown up in the Great Lakes State I would swim for hours until my Mom would drag my skin-turned-prune self out of the water because it was time to leave.  I love the water….there is something so calming, joyful, peaceful, fun, blissful, refreshing, detoxifying about being in the water.

We are still getting to know our little village and we haven’t really established a foothold here yet, but one of the big reasons for the village we chose as well as the specific house we chose was so that we could have quick access to the beach.  Our village has a ‘little slice of heaven beach’ called Sea Cliff beach….it looks straight out at the sun as it sets on the horizon and is such a serene and peaceful place to watch day turn into night and to really connect with the natural ebb and flow of our planet.

sunsetMemorial

 

Tonight I took one of our kayaks out on the water.  My husband loaded the kayak into the car for me and he took our daughter for one last hurrah around the backyard and then took her up for her bath.  I took the kayak to our boat slip (we were able to get two slots on the beach for the summer) and then out onto the water.  I was surrounded by moored boats; huge sailboats, boats where you can sleep aboard, some incredibly beautiful and massively huge boats…..the sun was setting and several sail boats lay a ways out on the water between where I was in my kayak and where the sun was setting over Larchmont in the distance.  It was cool to be connected to the sea, the deep dark waves sloshing around me, the large boats moored all around and little ol me in a small kayak present to this day coming to a close….so directly connected to the planet and nature.  We will never again see today….it is over. Gone.  Done…..  We are lucky enough to have another beautiful day that will present itself tomorrow, the sun will light up the earth as it rises turning darkness into light.  The sun will be up in the sky all day tomorrow whether we can see it through the clouds or not.  It will again set, just like it did so beautifully tonight.  How many of these days will it take for us to decide to take action on our dreams and desires…..to get serious about freakin making what we want to happen really happen. To get out of our own way and choose to step left.  What will it take for us to do this.  For ourselves, for those closest to us…..for the world?  I feel myself waking up in many ways and I hope that I can choose to be brave and make these days matter….not let them slip away….unseized. Even if it is a couple of baby steps each day.  I hope the same for you too…..what would it freakin feel like to have that life you dream of.  To be sitting in it right now staring all around you at what you have created for yourself…..can you really connect to that?  For me I would feel peace, joy, fulfillment, love, openness, connection, pride, and accomplished.  I hope tomorrow between the rising and the setting of the sun that you get several steps closer to the life you dream of for yourself.  That you choose to be brave, to be committed, to be focused on the time you have been given to create something wonderful.  I wish the same for myself.

In solidarity and in strength…..your psplife partner in crime and friend to the end…Creatrice de Bijoux.  Night beautiful, powerful, strong, committed, wonderful leaders!!

Some closing thoughts

Glad to have my running back on track. I get to meet the trainer this week, and will have a full schedule as of Tuesday. Following that I’ll start my fundraising. 

Re: side gig, $, etc. – that’s all really tied to my June 2018 vision, which gets to be its own goal. 

Thankful to the planning committee for keeping us on track; to my buddy for prioritizing our calls each week; to everyone who blogged or recorded themselves and shared their journey. 

Looking forward to the next cycle and maintaining a high level of integrity for this group. Would love to see us get involved with a community project and think we should poll people in advance to get ideas of the type of projects to which the group may align. 

Onward

I can’t believe that this cycle is coming to an end.  I remember thinking an extra two weeks is a long time and Wow! time really progressed.   Meditating really became easier at the end of the cycle.  I have become more comfortable with it and actually look forward to trying different types.  Today while sitting in traffic I thought to myself that it would be great if when I feel stressed that some meditation would automatically begin. It does not happen all the time but there have been occasions this cycle when I have stopped myself and just breathed prior to possibly hulking out on something that I found stressful (most of the time it was something not worth getting upset over).  I have found that meditating and/or listening to different meditations has been helpful in getting me grounded.

My father is currently in a rehab center participating in  intense Speech, OT, and PT sessions to get him on the right track after his stroke.  There is a lot of uncertainty right now that includes: How soon will he be able to live at home?  When he does get home what assistance will he need and what modifications will be necessary?    Honestly I have resorted to working out and meditating to help me to ease this anxiety of the unknown.  I am committed to taking this one day at a time.

I stayed commited to my second goal of reading and/or listening to something inspiring each day.  I did not read everyday but was able to make up for days I missed via reading and listening more over the weekend.  For example I found myself multitasking listeing to more podcasts and audiobooks while doing housework and/or driving.

I plan to continue to meditate and read/listen to inspiring books, podcasts, etc.

I have a few thoughts about the cycle.

I always enjoy having a buddy and always learn a lot from this relationship.  Thank you HKWeiss  for being there.  I learned a lot from our weekly discussions and meetings.  You are a true student and teacher of the work.  I know that you are on the right track to great things!

I also enjoyed my small group.  Despite almost all of us being located far from each other  I felt that I got a lot from our calls. Initially, I was worried as we were only going to have Video Conference / Audio Calls.  Due to some techical difficulties from the first meeting we stayed with the audio conference calls.  I learned a lot from our calls as I was fortunate to be in a group with such a great, honest and vulnerable group of women. The simple conference call format actually allowed us to spend more time on connecting as opposed to figuring out the logistics of where to meet and if the technology was working or not.   We even made a third conference call work this week despite everyone being busy.

I am glad that we stepped up monitoring of the ground rules via Integrity Captains.  I believe that it allowed everyone to become more aware.

I remember this from HKWeiss at the end of last cycle noting:

HKWeiss Closing Thoughts Cycle 9

“Some stalwart bloggers were hot and cold, and some other members ‘hid’ more so this cycle than previous, which limited the blog and general sharing, although it elevated the shares from those who did post for me –> sharing = caring and I’ll take what I can get from whomever is willing to share!”

and I remember  Kyla778 Vision Post

I found both of these posts as a catalyst for stepping it up this cycle.  I know there were many other conversations, regarding this.

I believe that the blog was much more active and juicy as everyone shared.  I think we accomplished a lot from this consistency.  I am speaking for myself but I believe that there were occasions that we spent too much time focusing on the people who did not blog as opposed to focusing on the people who did.  I know that I could have made more comments on others blog posts.  Sharing is caring.  Going forward I am going to make more time to comment and focus on the people who did blog.  Balance is key.

NAMASTE1234567 had posted the following at the begining of the cycle. ” If you want to reach a state of bliss, make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge.  Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time.” It’s important to be aware of them everyday. For me, the activity on Whatsapp provides a good lesson for this.  I was a bit quiet this round as I have a bit of Whatsapp fatigue.  I have been active on Whatsapp since the begining of ALP4  in December 2013.  I am communications captain so always did my best to stay engaged.   Last cycle as Inspiration Captain I would overanalyze everything that I sent.   I wanted everything to be “inspirational” and felt that I wasnt always able to accomplish that.  This is coming from being an analayzer/perfectionist.  It is for certain that I get to cointinue to work on my ego.  I know that I need to state my contract to remind myself of my power. This cycle I spent more time focusing on my goals and doing my best to connect with others directly.  I will continue to focus on direct connection going forward into the next cycle and beyond.

Thank you everyone!