Friday, April 4, 2014

The ART of Living...

I am on a sabbatical as of today, April 4, 2014.

"If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, "He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone." - Epictetus 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

En Route...

As it sometimes happens, I was seated next to an especially chatty man on my flight from Seattle to Salt Lake City. At the end of the flight he leans over and asks me if he had talked my ear off. I shook my head no, even though technically he had, as I secretly enjoyed the craziness of his life story. For starters, I learned he was a Mormon missionary in Chile during a hostile political coup in 1972. He saw trucks full of dead bodies and even participated in a revolt. One of his daughters was kidnapped, while another daughter had beaten Lymphoma cancer and she, along with the rest of her siblings - four sisters and one brother - ran a marathon in Ireland which raised $26,000 to aid in fighting the disease. Once the plane landed and we parted ways, he turned to me and said, "You come visit me and my wife in southern Utah now! I know ya'd like her. She talks to trees and reads books just like you." We laughed and resumed our diverging destinations.

I'm currently in the middle of a three hour layover. A young woman with long iron curled hair, a buckskinleather jacket and high heels is sitting next to me. She is fumbling through her bag, uttering words of frustration in a manner and volume that suggests an invitation to curious enough onlookers to engage her in conversation. My hunch was confirmed when my simply looking in her direction was all the opening she needed in order to share the following unsolicited information with me. She explains how she failed to bring the correct charging cord, and that one of her nails, "which I just got done yesterday," chipped. I reply, "Wow. Sounds pretty rough?" in an attempt diffuse her razzed state. Instead, she pauses, fixes me with a curious, sideways look, not dissimilar from an excitedly attentive though unsure dog, and says, "Yeah, it's because of manicurist incompetence."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cold as Ice...

Last night, while visiting with a friend, the topic of comfort came up. We discussed how efficient and comfortable our lives are and how it might not necessarily always be a good thing. Henry explained how taking a daily cold shower decreases stress and lowers a person's body temperature. He explained that Russians believe lowering one's body temperature by one degree can equate to ten more years of life.  

I remembered our conversation just as I went to step into the shower today. Instead of turning the nozzle left like I normally do, I turned it right instead. Since there was no need to wait for the water to heat up, I took a deep breath and stepped in. The initial discomfort was so great I only wet my hair for a few seconds before moving my body as far away from the shower head as possible. I used the dripping water from my hair to wet the rest of my body in order to soap up. When it was time to rinse, my desire to make the water warm was so strong, but I decided against it in an effort to follow through with giving the Russian theory a fair shake.

It's been forty-five minutes since my shower and I'm still cold and I want to put a coat on. However, utilizing a mind over matter technique, I found that despite being uncomfortable, I feel refreshed and focused. I guess there's truth to, "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" because even though it felt like I was dying, I'm still here to tell the tale. 

Here's to crazy Russians and cold showers!     

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Stay the Course...

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill

Early on I was taught that if you commit to something, you had to see it through. One of my first head-on experiences with this was after I joined the high school basketball team. A few weeks of unbearable practices had me wanting to quit. I asked my dad what I should do and he explained how important commitments are, not only to the person keeping the commitment but to anyone else involved. Although his answer didn't get me off the team, I ultimately knew he was right and kept going.
I suppose if I hadn't had such a great coach in my past, or experienced the feeling when a challenge is overcome, I may not have the willpower and resiliency I do today. In the future, I know there will be times when I'll be faced with the desire to give up, however, in the same moment, I'll remember my commitment and keep going. 

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek." - Mario Andretti  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Boom Boom Boom...

My Puritan-esque introduction to the birds and bees; my mom uncomfortably walking into my room, handing me an outdated book, then wordlessly leaving my room, made the topic of sex a very difficult road to travel throughout my life. Until now.

Sexuality used to be a little mouse in the corner, out of my grasp, however, I am at a point where I want to claim my sexuality, but my initial reaction is fear due to seeing it as a larger than life project. I think, just like anything else, the key is taking it one step at a time, one day at a time. And, even though I may be conservative with my words, this is a big step for me and I'm boldly going where I've never gone before.

“The greatest feminists have also been the greatest lovers. I'm thinking not only of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, but of Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and of course Sappho. You cannot divide creative juices from human juices. And as long as juicy women are equated with bad women, we will err on the side of being bad.” 
― Erica Jong

Enjoy the ride!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

On the Road Again...

In less than four days I leave for another adventure on the road. This time a 26- foot-long school bus will be my humble abode. I don't know many of the trip's details, other than I will be with my friend Peter (purple hat), and that we will be wading through rivers, taking dips in hot springs, and riding bikes on the Venice Beach boardwalk.

There is nothing like the feeling a blank slate of possibilities invokes. Nothing.

I'll leave you with a thought from Jurassic Park author, Michael Crichton, "Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. There is no mystery about why this should be so. Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of food, your closet full of your clothes -  with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That's not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating."  
My soon-to-be bed.