Dancing In Life

I spent more time in ballet class this week as my muscle memory of my ballet work in my teens has returned. I worked on making each movement exactly the same and perfect as my instructor demonstrated. My practice was tough but worth the effort as I listened to her instruction. At my age, I am grateful that my body will allow me to participate in these classes, intermediate level. As I continue to lose weight, I love the flexibility and discipline; great combination with my running as I needed to cut back on my mileage to avoid injury.

My ballet work forces awareness of every position of my body and extremities. Though I do not have the flexibility of my younger classmates, I do have position sense. I seem to have found my rhythm along to way also, keeping up with the music as I stand at the bar with the other dozen or so would-be dancers ranging in age from late teens to me, the geriatric set. It’s fun and a pretty good workout; forcing me to concentrate and focus.

In addition to my ballet, I have been running about the city; enjoying the perfect weather and spending time with friends I haven’t seen in years. We have all changed yet my friends point to major changes in me. They say that I am calmer, kinder, curious, more content and more accepting. There are characteristics I would never have used to describe me but they are fine for me now. I am at peace with my life and its turns. My heart these days is strong and resilient. I give all to my work and my patients. I have many wishes; thousands of them. I have much to share; perhaps one day. I am happy that my friends in the Midwest are forgetting me.

Social in the City

After a great Italian dinner in my favorite outdoor cafe, my date and I headed to an art exhibit opening gala in the big city. He is on the board of directors for the museum; happy to have me on his arm as he pronounced me “cute” for the evening festivities. I must admit that I enjoyed the attention; meeting a wonderful but superficial group of people at this event. The evening was chilly after a very hot day with fog rolling into the harbor. I have learned to carry a jacket under all circumstances since I can hold onto cold better than I can hold heat.

Great run this morning along a familiar path with plenty of hill work. The hills feel better after my speed work but did incorporate them into my mileage for the day. I decided to run one of my usual paths in reverse direction; adds a bit of interest to the familiar. The tide was in, warm breeze off the bay; my friends. I enjoyed the smiles of the folks I met along the path who greeted me; familiar nod of fellow joggers just out for our routine workouts in the sun.

It was great fun to drive into the city for the gala with my date who is a new acquaintance. He surprised me when he asked me out but was a total gentleman. Attending a gala reception complete with plenty of wine was welcome since I didn’t eat very much at dinner. I did eat a small bit of carpaccio but don’t eat pasta; too filling for me these days. I just cannot eat much; not much interest in food as I have to remind myself to eat in most cases.

One of the people I met at the gala said that I looked like an athlete; great compliment for me! With my continued weight loss, I see angles to my musculature now loving the definition of my muscles. My legs are looking pretty good these days too; showed them off in one of my mini dresses (yes at my age, I can rock a mini). The music and dancing helped work off the dinner as I lived on the dance floor for a change. My thanks to my new ballet teacher.

My scientific project is well ahead of schedule and quite rewarding. I can begin packaging the reports for early next year. I am honored to have been asked to head this phase of the research. This project has been great for my professional outlook and good for my soul. I feel as if I made the right decision to spend the summer here in the West on this work; integrating my clinical and basic science training. I have worked with some of the most professional staff ever and I am grateful for this opportunity.

As my project wraps early, I contemplate an overseas trip since I have plenty of time before starting my new position in the fall and have much of the summer left post project. Since I do not anticipate house guests this summer, I can travel; always good for my soul. There is nothing like an adventure overseas for my restless mind; always love to connect with other cultures and people.

All in all, my life moves along at a rapid pace; fine for me and my spirit. I am tanned, strong and decidedly resilient these days. I also love my life especially my new social life with positivism in abundance. I am grateful and thankful for all that I have been given; so fortunate for this generally solitary soul. My connections are very gratifying and a wonder these days with much acceptance at last.

Homesick a Bit

Finished up our parish meeting and some notes for this upcoming Sunday. As I sit here in the cool darkness of this beautiful glass area surrounded by trees, I feel overwhelming homesickness for the first time since I arrived. Perhaps my feelings come from a text from a friend last afternoon as he told me about his adventures in getting the rest of his summer under control. In short, I miss him though I have had wonderful contact with him; acute awareness that this good friend is thousands of miles away rather than the usual couple of dozen probably adding to my feelings.

This evening I have planned a trip into the next town for some upscale Italian food, not my choice but the choice of the person who invited me on this adventure. I am not much of an eater on my best days but here, my appetite is even less. On most days I find myself trying to remember when I last consumed food; just not important. Still, sitting in a small outdoor cafe with a glass of wine will be nice; watching people go by; listening to music and conversation with a nice companion. I sound like an old lady but I so enjoy good conversation with friends; sampling their worlds; listening to their stories.

My work is surprisingly ahead of schedule which has me considering doing a bit of traveling from my West Coast locale. I can spend bit of time in the western desert and head overseas for a week of study; hoping to do both of these tasks as I complete my project. I have such an efficient team of researchers and students that we should wrap this work in a couple of weeks almost a month ahead of schedule leaving me some time to just focus on my personal development.

Still, missing my academic touchstone is acute for me today. Always on my morning runs, I think of his resilience, his brilliance, his boldness and his wit. He’s been such a mentor for me and for my heart. I don’t believe I would have been as effective here if not for his texts and sharing. Today, I pray to be content remembering his example and perhaps a couple of his jokes. I thinks it’s OK for me to miss him and to be homesick. Perhaps my afternoon dance class will snap my brain into harmony.

 

Pastoral Work in Paradise

“If you have to diminish your spotlight to support another they don’t deserve your stage or your audience.”- Unknown

I don’t know the source of above quote but I like message on many levels. I support the amazing friends in my life who increase my spotlight rather than diminish it. They simply allow me to burn brighter. For my increased light, I am grateful. I am a most fortunate woman to have wonderful friends and express my gratitude like a broken recording.

Our pastoral meeting for my adopted church is tomorrow. For this meeting, I have prepared my readings and work, happy to do so for these wonderful people here. They enrich my soul each Sunday by allowing me in their life and church. I feel quite comfortable with my limited role in the church while missing my Cathedral back home. The adjustment to here was very easy though as I spoke to my priest friend, he’s not as comfortable here as I  seem to be.

My priest friend is quite shy, a mystery for me because he’s smart and handsome. He’s almost too much to take in but I enjoy the challenge. I scarcely believe that I can sit, have a beer and discuss problems as something of an equal with this amazing man. I hope my enthusiasm for touching each person, the sacredness of the connection will rub off on him a bit. I believe that is why he enjoys having me listen to his sermons and ideas.

I enjoy the discussion and appreciate his approach to his craft. His thoughts are very educational for me, a neophyte. These meetings never involve coffee but always involve beer and crackers so that I can make the two mile drive back to my house on the opposite hill. I also love driving the Porsche around the curves to get off the hill and climb up the hill to the church but I should do these meetings on coffee.

The first day of summer, as a dear friend reminded me, resulted in a couple of neighbors heading over for steaks on the grill by the pool, plenty of beer and a great breeze off the bay with loads of laughter and lighthearted conversation; city lights flicker in the distance. Life could not be more fun. The house is great for impromptu little gatherings that are very enjoyable as I had not made any plans.

My neighbor is a musician, always has great stories of his life on the road with the band. He plays jazz saxophone and piano. I love to hear how he puts a show together and how they travel from place to place. I do enjoy when he noodles on the piano in the living room filling the house with music.

My neighbor just “wrapped” recording a holiday album for this upcoming Christmas. He spoke of flying in earlier in the day, hoping to just rest for the week before his next engagement in a nearby city. I’ve been invited to the club and to hang with the band after the performance something that was great fun when I first arrived here a couple of weeks ago. He did enjoy just being here with those who appreciate him sharing his gifts with us.

Still remarkable for me is that I am more social here on the West coast than back in the Midwest but as good for my soul and outlook as my meetings with the priest. I am dancing, running, reading and just enjoying the delightful people surrounding me and increasing my light. Life is just sublime and so is the music.

 

Just Making My Way

In the stark beauty of my locale, blue skies, blue oceans and bays as I drive my little German sports car along narrow curving roads that overlook the water. I love the response; the wind in my face with a breeze; perfect for a sail or a drive. The weather was warm, dry and invited me to swim. Towards evening’s end, I sipped a Sam Adams and watched a million stars in the sky. It’s just nice to be in the present; alone with my thoughts and laughing out loud at the memories of conversations, experiences and adventures yet to come.

My parish rector returned to work today; calling me in the early afternoon. I took some beer and crackers up to the office; we sat and solved the world’s problems with a brew in hand. He’s becoming a very wonderful friend who accepts my quirky questioning of scripture, belief and life in general. Heaven forbid, he laughs a my insecurities in performing my parish duties. He has filled a void left by my wonderful friend back in the Midwest. I accept the world much as I find it with hopes to change things I can. Hell, I change me all of the time; mutable.

He says that my optimism makes me appear much younger than my age; also admires my energy,  fearlessness and sense of adventure. It’s great to have a wise, handsome and accomplished man admire something about me though I don’t know why he characterizes me as fearless. I believe I have many fears.

As I considered his descriptions of my “in your face” connection with him and others in my life, I guess I have discarded any guilt in how I connect. I am not afraid of the future because I have much to share. I am grateful for the man who means much in my life though he is far away physically, he’s present in my hopes and thoughts for happiness and continued greatness. I can’t say enough how grateful I am that he just breathes air and exists with stunning brilliance always. I will never have physical closeness but I will have memories of great experiences.

I don’t fear spending the rest of my life alone; actually relish and anticipate this. My work is great company. I make no apologies for adoring a wonder of a human being who gives much to this world. Something I heard today, “What lies ahead of you and behind you is nothing compared to what lies within you!” All in all, I make my way with happiness and just a bit of fun, much fun and memories of just shared coffee with my touchstone.

More Ballet and More Direction

With my ten pound weight loss has come a bit more running speed and comfort. Every step is a gift at my advanced age; in this beautiful location next to a bay at the foot of a mountain is paradise. My mind goes in a million directions with happiness and serenity as I hear the crunch of sand under my feet with my steps. Though I share the running path with bikers, I seldom notice them as my mind is most often deep in thought. My weight loss is also welcome evidence that my abdominal work is sound.

Ballet class last evening was joyful and instructive. My master teacher corrects my hand and arm positions even correcting a bit of posture this time. I see the faint outlines of upper thigh muscles working. My flexibility increases as I work for maximum extension.  These classes have improved my posture and certainly improved my confidence in movement; both characteristics great on the jogging paths.

A few months back, I remember watching one of my friends do a quick turn across my living room as I noted his superb posture. Though he endures a knee injury, his walk and his presence are notable. He moves with an ease that is most attractive; matching his extreme intellect. My thoughts on his complete persona; his fine craft shows in every step he takes much as in every word he speaks.

What a gift of an example for this friend who is working on changing parts of herself; reinventing herself on this bright sunny day in paradise. Though I miss seeing him, I hear from him from time to time, always makes me smile as he’s just fabulous for my spirit these days, reminding me of what I left behind in the Midwest. I appreciate his friendship as he’s in my thoughts daily.

My skin is brown from the sun, my body taking on that angular direction I seek and my head clearly focused on my work and learning. I could not ask for more; thankful for the changes and my directions as my summer goes along with increased comfort in my spiritual and physical conditioning.

Life in the Moment

I completed my day and headed home. I walk from the ferry point through neighborhoods and then catch a shuttle to my office. The morning stroll gives me time to enjoy my coffee purchased before I get on the ferry to cross the bay. Life here is pretty civilized and enjoyed every moment. Sometimes, I watch the large container freight ships cross the paths of the ferry as I head into and out of the city in the morning and late afternoon. I dream of crossing the ocean with the freight; heading for the Orient and an adventure.

Sometimes, I find myself stopping by the yacht club for a Bloody Mary before I head home, often with old friends who want to catch up. Today was no exception but I took the ferry to an adjacent town after drinks.  for dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen this year. It was nice to hear about his work and endeavors for the rest of the summer. We made plans to get together for a concert in the part over the weekend. Watching the ships, kayaks, canoes and ferries heading in and out of the harbor were peaceful and enjoyable. He dropped me back at my car, an evening of simple pleasure and good food.

I make no apologies for those I love and admire. To do less would be dishonest for me. I have changed my life and meditate on those changes as I run in the early morning. Instead of running in the darkness, I run at first light, watching the fog burn off the mountain and the tide go out from the bay. It’s different from my Midwest lakeside but great for my mind nevertheless. I think of those I left behind and those that I have yet to meet here. Still, I believe I made the right decision to come here and live this life though I miss the simplicity and discipline of my work back in the Midwest.

I will meet again with my new parish rector tomorrow in preparation for Sunday’s services. This parish is very different from my cathedral yet I have much to learn from these wonderful and welcoming people. They are not diverse but they are warm and delightful for the most part. In some, I detect a loneliness and sense of “going through the Sunday motions” but my charge as given by the rector is to reach them with my positive outgoing connection.

Yes, my rector said that I am opposite him in every way possible; “childlike”, he said, which is great for the challenges here. He is soft-spoken, contemplative and very smart. Though he doesn’t have the quick exchange that I love to engage, he has great depth of thought and very serious side, something I need in my spiritual development. I strive to be worthy of those I serve but sometimes, the joy is just overwhelming for me.

I can’t say that I am a deep thinker but more of a reactionary empath in how I connect. I am grateful for guidance and mentoring. Even in this small parish, I don’t know where to stand and how to move. I feel as if I wander aimlessly until I speak the liturgy. The common prayers of my church are my bedrocks and my anchors. In short, less perfection here is fine.

Again, I am a very fortunate woman to have an opportunity to learn from this man. We have great conversations with a surprising openness that I appreciate. I am living in moments, a bit apprehensive about my future but getting more fearless every day as I transition but today, feeling just a little sad as I miss those I left behind. I guess I am human after all.

Ballet Class

I decided to participate in a friend’s ballet class after a very long run in the hot sun yesterday; my first hot day in this wonder of a location. The sun in my face for most of the jog left me feeling the burn; noticing the increased tan in my skin. Fortunately for me, I did decide to wear sunglasses on my run. The hot sun in my face; no wind off the bay working up a welcome sweat as I pushed myself. My body needed the challenge before sampling the ballet though I did have a small problem with dehydration as I worked up a good sweat.

My goal this summer is to increase my speed and flexibility thus challenges are good for my mind as well as my body. I run the steep hills without thinking; love them in the early evenings. I have lost ten pounds in the past three weeks; seeing the angles of my frame at last! My heart is happy that my physical conditioning comes along as I planned; so thankful for the body upgrades at my age.

As I popped on my black leotard/pink tights, I clearly see the outlines of my now thinner upper body and leg muscles coming into focus. When my flexibility matches, as I intend, I will be content to go into maintenance mode. Clearly, I need to lose another 25 pounds but I almost look like the other dancers in the group. I strive to go to the the boundaries of what my body will allow; find surprising results as I am an outlier but happy to be in this case.

The discipline of ballet was welcome along with concentration and correction by my instructor. She complimented me on my posture, surprising since I am a runner but consistently corrected my hand and arm positions. I found myself laughing as I see the outlines of my rib cage over my abdomen. My abdominal muscles are coming along too with the goal of a six-pack achievement in mind. I take mental notes of her corrections and instructions. For 90 minutes, my body loved this work and I loved that I could keep up and learn; not missing a note.

With my ten-pound weight loss, my dresses are a bit large on my small frame. While I am on the taller side, my frame is not large but small. With this smaller frame, I need to be light and flexible; my goals in training. At university, when I played competitive tennis, I carried heavier muscles but as a runner, I see where I need longer and lighter musculature. My training is a slow process but no injuries-minus the ladder incident of last week.

As goals are good for my  body, soul and happiness, I settled into my Cantonese lessons for an upcoming trip back to the Far East. On this next adventure, I will be on my own in a city that I love seeing the world on my terms. All in all, not a bad life for a solitary woman of service. I will have the life that I want.

 

The Trinity on Trinity Sunday

Continued soreness from my stupidity of climbing ladders but a great run, alleviated most of my soreness, on Trinity Sunday set my mind at work on revisiting the Trinity. Here I sit in one of the greatest scientific meccas of this country surrounded by people who are far more brilliant than myself, who asked about my experiences so far here out West. I simply related some events of my day and this morning, keying in on my personal growth.  I related some lines from my brilliant friend’s play that have increased my explanation and relationship to the Trinity.

As per usual, I will repeat my astonishment concerning my stunning academic friend whose teachings force my mind in a million directions, least I forget these days, his dialog from his play has forced me to think more theologically as I question and perform more questioning. I sit here in my office, looking at the haze of the morning, I settle in with my thoughts and questions, more comfortable with them, chatting with my team as we completed our strategy session.

In my line of thinking, the general should not negate the specific which means that to just to pronounce “the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” on Trinity Sunday was not enough but understanding in the heart should be sought. In our common prayers, we speak the words but often don’t ponder them as spirituality for me is in the pondering in the energy of thinking; nothing new, I suppose.

I pushed my sore body thorough some early morning yoga poses, thinking I was too sore to run, I thought of the “clones”. Yes, they are one in the same and as a biochemist/physician, I understand cloning for what it is. While clones are genetically identical, they are not exactly the same but remarkable aspects of the same, genetically and otherwise. This was my heart, my connection something in my thinking to share with my scientific colleagues so refreshing.

Yesterday, I eagerly awaited what the rector of my adopted parish here in the West would say about the Trinity. His message didn’t disappoint me but added to my thinking, perhaps in a manner that he didn’t intend. “Yes, Virginia,” I have more questions and explanations because it’s my nature as a scientist to question and to see answers. I suspect that this is my nature as a student of theology too. More reading for me!!!

My pastor, spoke of sleep and why God has placed this state within the minds of humans. Certainly, there is nothing to be learned during sleep no matter that as a child, I placed my trigonometry book under my pillow hoping that somehow, I would absorb knowledge from it. No, sleep for most, is a chance to reset, renew and turn off consciousness, that which makes one more human. Babies, the most human of us, sleep more that older humans but we all sleep and become quite aware of when our sleep is not sound or resetting. No great Trinity pronouncements by my pastor yesterday.

Instead, my scientific colleagues listened with rapt attention as I read the lines from my friend’s play. “How delightful and wonderful,” pronounced my principle investigator who is my pick for a future Nobel laureate in medicine and physiology. Yes, just more evidence that I am not wrong about my superb academic friend even if I piss him off most of the time. I can’t wait to read his lines in our parish meeting later this week. I suspect that my new priest friend is going to excommunicate me but we shall see. Yep, the God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Ghost are one in the same and I am a heretic!

Injury

I picked up a bit of a virus which knocked me off my feet yesterday. I decided to rest and attempt to read. One of my reading lamps went out which forced me to look for a replacement. When I climbed onto the 5-foot ladder to replace the bulbs, I must have fallen. The last thing I remember is trying to pick myself up. Now, right side especially my knee is swollen and bruised.

I am inspired to finish my pile of journal articles as I rest by the pool. Though the weather is spectacular, I will obey my physician’s orders and not try to run or jog today, though I need the meditation now more than ever. I am thinking that the stress of getting sick, bit of flu or something, coupled with my anxiety of making sure I don’t let my team down, sent me into a bit of a tailspin. Today, I will  relax rather than undertake my planned trip to British Columbia.

I had let my principle investigator know that I needed to hop up to Canada for a visit with an author friend. She’s an attorney whose works have been a beacon for me as I enter my theological studies. Not that she is clergy, far from it, but since we first connected over a year ago, I have placed copies of her wonderful book in my waiting room and often find that I quote from it. She’s a dancer, author, lawyer and just plain fun; invited me up for a visit. Since I love Vancouver and most things Canadian these days, I will fly up in a couple of days as I get a little more on my feet.

Tomorrow, I will attend services at my adopted parish. I completed my readings for this week, as assigned. It’s Trinity Sunday, one of my favorite times of the year in the church. As this week will mark my third week there, the parishioners have become accustomed to seeing me in their space. While the church is very West Coast modern with wood, stone and little stained glass, the people welcomed my attendance; eager to hear of my work in hospice care and medicine especially as the joy in these patients is a nice experience and honor for me. I am very grateful.

Oh, it would be very nice to be the wonderful communicator and story-teller such as my academic touchstone. His take on the world is refreshing and energetic. He moves humanity forward just by being who he is. I opened my life just at tiny bit and he generously shares a bit of his; so fun for me as should all good friends be.

Perhaps I will have an opportunity to learn some of his techniques some day as I always feel that I have much to learn. Yes, I can connect but I don’t communicate well such as my creative friend. Today, life is a learning process for me; settling down and just enjoying where I am in the warm ocean breeze and sunshine.