Archive for November, 2006

Riding the Bus

November 30, 2006

I showed up at a coffee shop about 45 minutes from where I live last week and ran into a girl I know. She looked up at me and said, “How did you get here?” I really had to laugh. I showed her my bus pass. Some people don’t think you can get around without a car.

I was one of those to some degree, but my friend, Terry, helped fix that one for me. I remember he called me at work one day last summer and said, “Hey, can I come hang out with you at lunch?” I asked where he was. “Oh, I’m at home.” I asked how he would get there. “I’ll just ride my bike.” He was a good 30 minutes from me . . . by car! That’s Terry. He also supplements the bike with the bus. I was in awe of the way he just gets up and goes. It gave me the courage to do that when I lost my car to that wreck.

I rode the bus in the snow for the first time today!

It was really cool, if you’ll pardon. There were a lot more people riding because of the snowy streets, and near the CU campus the bus was totally full and couldn’t stop for anymore passengers. I’ve seen that once before.

I’ve noticed that people have varying stories (in The Work of Byron Katie sense) about buses.

Some people have ridden buses all their lives. Maybe they lived in New York or San Francisco where that’s been a normal and necessary mode of transportation for decades. Maybe they had to ride a school bus or were bussed across town for integration of the schools in the 60’s and 70’s.

Other people, and this was me until a few months ago, have almost never ridden a bus for anything. I remember one time trying to take a bus to work from the TCU area of Fort Worth, Texas into downtown in the heat one day. I felt very motion sick and I never did it again.

Now, I have taken a few tour buses since then. I did San Francisco, Savannah and hmm… seems like there’s another one. I really loved the tours! Because of the Savannah tour guide, an animated Sage woman, who included mention of the famous spots in “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil,” I went straight out and bought the book. Loved it. I don’t remember any motion sickness.

So, when I got a bus pass and started riding the bus regularly a few months ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It wasn’t bad. I tended to sit up front so I could see when my stop was coming. Otherwise, I’d miss it.

But in Ireland, we took a bus to a couple of our afternoon sites and again I experienced motion sickness. Why the difference?

Well, my roommate, Aubrey, kindly told me. She said, “Sit in the front and you’ll have less motion sickness.” She was absolutely right. Now I regularly ride in front.

When I was a little girl, I was told that buses were dangerous. People got stabbed on buses. And I am old enough to remember when the civil rights movement had not corrected the awful attitudes white people once had toward black people, or “coloreds” as my paternal grandparents called these beautiful chocolate brown human beings. It wasn’t that long ago.

So, basically, I was given to believe that little white girls shouldn’t ride buses.

They were wrong.

Now, maybe buses in LA or New York or somewhere are just as dangerous as my grandparents feared they were, but not here in Boulder, Colorado, aka a few square miles of utopia surrounded by reality. I love that one, of course. But I won’t deconstruct the ideas of utopia and reality and what makes it so right now. That, as they say, is another story for another time.

Right now I’m just all amazed at the experience of riding a huge box on wheels down icey hills and back up them, crammed in with maybe 50 other people on their way to school, work and beyond, who shared a few miles of street together with the kind bus driver who waved us on and waved us off with a very friendly, “Have a great day! Watch your step! Thank you!” at every stop.

It’s a miracle, isn’t it?

Love,

Stacy

Too Much?

November 29, 2006

I ran into one of the other NaNoWriMo participants at Whole Foods yesterday. She said “hi” back, but I had the definite sense of being avoided.

It’s funny. She’s a very outspoken person and I would have expected her to be the type to say, “I’m in a hurry and can’t talk right now.” That may indeed have been the case. I don’t really know.

But of course, Monkey Mind doesn’t accept the face value simple answers from us. Of course not! That’s why we call it Monkey Mind.

So, Monkey Mind has now made up this silly (or is it?) story. It goes like this:

I posted a few hundred words from the first part of my first attempt at “Ann’s Tale: There’s Another Mile to Go” on the NaNoWriMo page. What if she read it and was offended? That would be easy to do. There’s a naked body (mine) on the first page.

Who knows?

More to the point: Whose business am I in when I think that thought?

Love,

Stacy

*** There are 3 kinds of business: God’s, someone else’s and mine. It clearly is not mine.

Writing

November 29, 2006

Hi,

I’m confirming something I’ve known about myself for some years now. I am not so much a writer in the sense of a craftsman. I don’t crave the art of it. I don’t revel in the mechanics of it. Not one bit. I know Kurt does. He’s studied this stuff his whole life. I enjoy listening to him about it. I don’t feel motiated to do what he talks about.

What I love to do is write letters. That’s it.

I’ve alway said I write to communicate. I must have an audience or I have nothing to say.

When I wrote my admissions essays back in the mid-90’s for grad school, I couldn’t write a word until I had called the department and spoken to a human being, someone who was likely to be the reader. I usually spoke to the faculty advisor. I’d ask what they wanted in the paper, have a few minutes of conversation with them, and I got of the phone ready to write. No problem. I had an audience.

So, it has been nearly terminally frustrating to try to do NaNoWriMo.

I’m not motivated to write fiction in the first place. Nor am I motivated to write an outline, create conflicts, create characters, get characters in and out of those conflicts and show, don’t tell, in the meantime.

Argh!

Sure, the “show, don’t tell” edict still applies, but the rest of it?

Argh!

In an attempt to pander to my proclivities, I created a word document and dutifully titled it “Letters,” thinking that maybe I could make up characters that Ann would write to, based on real life friends, of course, but made up.

That document remains blank, but this blog, well, I have a real audience. You.

This “problem” turned up when I tried to write something for Eric Francis. I’m not done trying to submit something to him that he will publish, but I have been regrouping since it first came up in July. I don’t know what all of the shortcomings of my attempts may have been, but even I could see that they were forced and weren’t going where I wanted them to.

So, for a while I wrote in to the forums on his site. Somewhere in there, he wrote me a note and suggested that I not write as if I’m writing directly to him.

Argh!

Fortunately, by now I’ve read some of the other astrologers and participants on his site and I can more easily address the group, but he caught me in my biggest characteristic as a writer… I write to a specific audience.

Even more fortunately, I am of the Steven Sashen school of thought that a seeming “problem” is nothing more than the pointer to the “solution.” Every single problem we have is practically screaming the answer to us.

I might be willing to learn to write better letters.

I am definitely willing to put effort into putting my letters together in some sequence that tells a story, writing some connecting material and bringing it together to say something that is meaningful. Yes. I’ll do all of that.

So, here I am blogging in an attempt to write another 14,000 words for NaNoWriMo. It’s physically possible. It’s even probable if I write enough letters.

Love,

Stacy

Practical Joke or Synchronicity?

November 27, 2006

I just got off the phone with Marvin. I had the weirdest thing happen. I am listening to 99.5 The Mountain and the DJ, Mike Casey, announces that Stacy has called and she’s been thinking about how the holidays have their effects and wants to hear… you guessed it… Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls.”

Weird.

And when he recapped the last 6 songs, he mentioned again “requested by Stacy.”

I’d swear someone who read my blog was playing a joke!

Love,

Stacy

Self-Imposed Goals

November 26, 2006

Aren’t they all?  Really?

When I began NaNoWriMo on November 1, I have to say I was not totally commited to finishing something I hardly knew how to start. Now, in typical Sagittarius Sun, Midheaven, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Pallas and Juno fashion I am shooting my arrows toward a goal.

Yeah, that’s a lot of Centaur energy in my chart and it’s all in the 9th house. Well, except the Sun depending on how you do that. The 9th house is the house governed by Sagittarius. Jupiter rules it. It’s the planet of fortune, expansion, teaching, philosophy and more. The Sun is our Self. The Midheaven has to do with how the world sees us in a certain way.  Mercury is how we communicate. Mars is how we act. For more on Pallas and Juno, asteroids, check www.planetwaves.net or www.philipsedgwick.com. I don’t have time right now. I’m on a deadline.

Yep. I’ve made it mine. Midnight, November 30 there will be 50,000 words in a document titled Ann’s Tale or I will know the reason why!

So, folks, no more here till then.

Love,

Stacy

No Local Vertical

November 16, 2006

Thanks to Spider Robinson where I first read this concept, and then belatedly (and posthumously) to the immortal Robert A. Heinlein and his Waldo & Magic, Inc.

“Oh Great Wave, wipe away, wipe away my false face.
Awaken from my sleep the Radiant Light.
Touch me! Touch me! I am once again beyond the beyond.
I am that I am.”

sung by Scott Medina

At the end of the Quantum Wealth workshop (www.quantumwealth.com), Steven told how he met a monk who could do that harmonic toning thing with his voice. He asked how they learned that. The monk said that they tone and the student listens. Then the student tries. And on like that until one day the student does it. Apparently, it takes a long time. Steven just said, “Oh.” A couple of days later, he did it. He called the monk, did the tone, and the monk said, “Oh, that is very good.”

He told us we had received the transmission.

I am not sure how many times I’ve taken this workshop, and I imagine I may do it again. It’s a great time. At the same time, I’ve received the transmission. Going to the workshop again or calling Steven up today could be one of my favorite ways to recreate the familiar sense of “me” that I was not recreating so much during the weekend.

Pondering this, I have not gone for a mocha, not left the house, not called Steven, not had breakfast. I did finally eat 2 pieces of chocolate and half a cup of the chocolate-laced Bolder Breakfast Tea. Yum.

While I waited for the tea water to boil, I made a to-do list. I had to laugh. Apparently, I had a few next steps, none of which were chocolate, Steven or mocha. I’m still leaning toward the mocha. Phooey. Because I know if I ingest caffeine, next I’ll crave salt. Sigh One thing at a time.

I put on Scott Medina’s chant CD, too. At first the words seemed to be getting in the way of me-being-with me, another of those things I tend to run from. We all do, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to stay with myself. I let it play while I took a hot bath. Even the bath was pulling me out of myself this morning. When they CD got to “Oh Great Wave” I dropped in. deep breath

Calling people is another way I recreate that familiar sense of “me.”

Yesterday I resisted one of those for hours. Hours and hours. Finally, around 2 pm, I just let go into it and decided I wasn’t going anywhere or calling anyone. I was just going to sit there and be with me. Guess what? Someone called. Funny how these things work.

So, why did I call this blog “No Local Vertical?”

Because it is my sense of things that Spider Robinson uses the idea of no local vertical as a metaphor for not recreating that familiar sense of “me.” Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn’t. But intentional or not, it works anyway, reading his Star Dance trilogy (which I highly recommend to your attention!)

In Star Dance the author talks about how few people can live without a sense of local vertical. You try it. I cannot imagine living in free fall. I can’t even ride a bus without getting seasick! I don’t know what I’d do if suddenly there was no up or down, no floor, no ceiling… and no walls!!!

Yeah, no walls. Between me and me.

And by extension, between me and you.

When those walls drop and I drop in, I think I have a taste of what Spider calls “no local vertical.” I don’t know which way is up. I’m free floating . . . but without the anxiety.

I met a friend for brunch one Sunday morning in that state. I looked into his eyes and for a split moment I couldn’t tell who was who. I drew away from the intimacy of it. My walls went blammo! Back to that familiar sense of self.

And yet I spend a lot of time and money seeking these experiences. Up until 1985 I did it with drugs. Pot, acid, ecstacy, mushrooms … oh mushrooms. Put a few chemicals in my body and the walls came down. But the anxiety stayed. In fact, if memory serves (that was over 20 years ago), if memory serves, the anxiety went up not down.

Now, when I . . . hmm, meet myself, so to speak, without the chemicals, the anxiety is usually absent. When it comes back, boom… there I go, off in search of any of those famous ways to find the familiar local vertical, the familiar sense of “me.” Which, by the way, is contracted and tight and scared and none of those things I know in my heart of hearts that I’d rather be: expansive and relaxed and alive and aware.

Somehow this weekend I got an even deeper sense of the “looking forward to” that Byron Katie uses in the Turn Around for Question #6. (If you don’t know what that is, look it up on www.thework.org) or keep reading.

Question #6 is “What is it you never want to experience with that person again?”

Right now, I might say that I never want to experience anxiety or running from presence with myself or using coffee, chocolate, phone calls and emails to recreate that familiar sense of “me.”

Is that true? Check. No, I get a contraction in my solar plexus.

Can I absolutely know that that’s true? Nope. Very tight. Clearly I’m lying to myself.

How do I react when I believe that thought or story or . . . lie? Make a list.

Oh Jesus.

I eat chocolate. I crave mocha. I crave teriyaki chicken. I call people. I email people. I take workshops. I read books. I turn on music to drown out my thoughts. I stress. I think poorly of myself. I think poorly of others. I have long arguments in my mind with myself and others. I obsess. I have sex. I run from myself.

Who would you be without that thought or story or lie?

High as a kite. Expansive. Relaxed. Open. Clear. Available. Unafraid. Peaceful.

(“Is that all?” we ask with a smile.)

Turn it Around (to self, other or opposite)

I am willing to experience anxiety or running from presence with myself or using coffee, chocolate, phone calls and emails to recreate that familiar sense of “me.”

Is that thought at least as true? (as the lie . . . lol)

Yes. Definitely. Why not? It hasn’t killed me yet! I actually enjoy some of those things sometimes.

Can you find another turn around?

Sure.

I look forward to experiencing anxiety or running from presence with myself or using coffee chocolate, phone calls and emails to recreate that familiar sense of “me.”

Is that thought at least as true?

God, yes. Doing that shows me the next step to take, gives me gifts of expanded clarity beyond the beyond. I am that I am.

“Oh Great Wave, wipe away, wipe away my false face.
Awaken from my sleep the Radiant Light.
Touch me! Touch me! I am once again beyond the beyond.
I am that I am.”

sung by Scott Medina . . . and me!

Timidly I Post

November 14, 2006

Some of you are looking at the subject line and wondering what the aliens did with Stacy, I know. But hear me out, and think about it… gently, as my mother would say. One of the ways I cope with the fact that I am so ultra-sensitive inside is to be ultra-hardshelled outside, just like any turtle, doncha know?

So, I did Steven Sashen’s Quantum Wealth class this weekend. Yes, again. Just be quiet, ok? I’m trying to get this down without crying. And yes, it is going to count toward my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. Once edited it may actually land in the dang book.

You see, the only way I can write this book is to reach inside that hard shell I wear and let some of the softness out, or at least bring it into view. You know it’s there. It’s obvious. Why else would there be a shell at all?

So, I had this email and phone exchange with my former husband and one of the loves of my life, Marvin, and in his last note he said, “May make good blogging material.” *gulp* I wrote him back and said, “Not yet. It still feels too personal.”

Okay, well, *deep breath* I do give myself credit for knowing a good idea when I see one and for being able to quickly admit something to others once I’ve admitted it to myself. It isn’t going to seem like such a big deal or so tender to some of you, but it feels like that to me right now.

On Friday, I got a voice mail message from a number in Dallas that looked familiar, but didn’t come up in my caller ID. I quickly figured out it was Marvin’s cell phone, or I thought so, and I emailed him because I could not hear what the message was. I could tell someone was trying to play me a piece of music. (My friends do this fairly often. I love music and tend to have a soundtrack going in my head for my life. Lovers get theme songs. I have theme songs for various phases. And, as you know, I burst into song at the slightest provocation partly because I love to sing and sing something that fits the moment, and partly because I want to contribute to being living proof that yes, people in real life do that!)

Anyway, I emailed Marvin from Steven’s workshop Saturday morning (the Marriott is kind enough to provide a computer to guests and I didn’t have the laptop, talk about living in an abundant Universe) asking him if he sent the voice mail and telling him I couldn’t make out the song.

Marvin, a man of few words, which is one of the two reasons we ever divorced (because otherwise he is a jewel of a man and we love each other deeply), emailed back “Queen. Fat Bottomed Girls. Thought of you for some reason.”

I laughed my ass off.

I heard the same song just a couple of days ago when I was feeling particularly discouraged about my excess weight and remembering Jon, who knew me both BF and AF (Before Fat and After Fat) and remarked in bed one day, AF, with obvious surprise in his voice, “You’re still sexy.”

Lately, I’ve been having the opposite experience. Well, not exactly. two men have told me how beautiful I am, but at the same time, they found my weight repulsive. Okay. So do I, actually. How can I fault them for agreeing with me? Answer: I can’t.

Here is my (unedited) email reply to Marvin:

That is fucking hilarious!

A few days ago, I was lamenting the fact that this guy I’m interested in is having trouble with my weight. (I’m back to about where I was when we divorced… dang it.) and I heard “Fat Bottom Girls,” which reminded me that some guys actually *like* that.

On top of that, I’m in Steven’s Quantum Wealth workshop and 10 minutes ago I was doing some releasing contractions on the goal to weigh 120 lbs again (I have only seen 124… and that was right after the Shivambu Kalpa Vidhi fast.)

So, what we do is release contractions and stress about the goal and see what the Next Step might be… and I actually came to the Mariott’s computer to look up something Steven was telling me about calorie restriction diets and longevity.

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=530

is one of the links.

So… you are, as usual, my love, right on target with where I am.

Marvin, sometimes I wonder why I divorced you.  (And the answer partly is because I had created so much stress in my own mind about being with you… but it was being with me that needed some investigation.)

Love you very much,

Stacy

*deep sigh*

What I did not mention to him at that point is that I was not doing Quantum Wealth per se this weekend. I chose to do the weekend on Quantum Relationship. Every time we were doing an exercise, I was doing it on my 360 Degree Desire Sheet on marrying again.  Oh, if we were doing something that required numbers or financial information, I switched and worked on that. It’s all related.

So, there he was, right on time in perfect intuitive connection, which is one of the things I value in a husband. Marvin is a meditation teacher, as well. And then he had the audacity to suggest it might make good blogging material. Of course he was right. Dammit. Here is where I make that wrinkly nosed impudent little face that Cricket makes when you say the obvious and you’re right.

For those of you who do not know, Marvin has been with Paula since about 6 months after our divorce, 10 years ago. For nearly 10 years, she had been wanting to get married and Marvin refused, saying that if three marriages didn’t work out, he wanted to try something different. Since he wanted to stay, he would not marry her.

January of this year, I called Marvin and told him I finally felt I had healed enough from our divorce to get married again. About 3 weeks later, he called and told me he and Paula had gotten married and he sent me pictures. He has a sweet look on his face and I suspect he cried, knowing him. She looks stressed and is frowning.

So, y’all, if you know any (very verbal) good men who might be compatible with all you know of me and who can be patient while I drop this weight (I can show him pictures of what he can look forward to in a few months at www.templepriestess.com) send him my way. I lost 5 pounds already just thinking about it.   🙂

Love,

Stacy

PS – If any of you friendly geeks know how to fix the change in font up there and want to, let me know and I’ll give you the password to this thing. I’ve been doing it when that happens and I’m just tired of having to focus on all that stupid code. That’s what geeks are for! Nevermind, I did it. I couldn’t stand to look at this with three fonts. Too messy. But seriously, if any of you can help, let me know.

Another Ireland Note

November 8, 2006

Frankly, I think this is a bit lame. But I’ve been working toward writing 50,000 words on the fictionalized version of my memoir since November 1… sans outline … sans plot … sans sanity, if you ask me.

I might make the word goal, but next time I try this sort of insanity I will be sure to bring an outline, a structure, something!

It’s okay. I don’t really want to be writing this as fiction. I just see the value in doing so. I hate the process. I told that to another writer at brunch a few weeks ago. I said I didn’t want to write fiction. She took me at face value and said, “Then don’t. It’s too much work.” I can’t seem to stop it. At least not until I try.

So here are about 300 words that issued from my fingers today in an effort to write something, anything.

I used to say that when I travel, I finally feel comfortable in a place when I have found the health food store, the Indian restaurant and the Starbucks. I found all of those quickly in Ireland, but I never felt at home there.

The health food store was tiny. It had wooden floors, like all health food stores should, but the products on the shelves were mostly unfamiliar to me. I saw a few things I recognized, but the brands and packaging were not those comfortable familiar objects I saw at home. There would be Vitamin C, but no Solar Ray brand of it. Chai, but none was Oregon, not even Third Street which I hated. Even the way things were lined up on the shelves seemed foreign and unfamiliar.

The Indian restaurant was closer. I mean, being a foreign restaurant in a foreign country, how much difference could there be? They served pakoras and dal and saag panir. Good. So far. The décor was dark wood rich with tapestries of blue people and gold and red borders. So. The chai was spicy and sweet. Good. This I could deal with. Funny to find that the very foreign was the most familiar thing in a foreign country.

Starbucks. You’re not going to believe this, but at the Cork airport in Ireland, I went to the Starbucks counter asking for the Ethiopian Sidamo that was on the menu board. “I’m sorry,” the girl told me, “this is our first week to be open and the Ethiopian Sidamo has not arrived yet.” Oh dear. So, I drank Costa Rica blend and liked it. I normally don’t drink Starbucks at home anymore, but I guess even at the airport, after hours and hours of airplane travel, I realized that any taste of home was better than none.

*shrug* It’s word count at this point, that counts.

Love,

Stacy