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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

Life is Entirely

Early run with no fog; could see the city lights as the sun came up. I took the ferry across the bay and ran the marina. After getting to my office, I showered before reviewing my data sheets over coffee. It is very civilized to get one’s work completed in the early dawn hours Hopping the first boat was a splendid idea so that I could participate in rounds. I loved having coffee on the ferry in the cool morning air with its promise of a clear day.

I am settling into my job out here with ease. I do most of my work from home on most days of the week leaving me too much time to carouse with my posse. My friends are different and more diverse here. They seem to appreciate my early rising, academic work and certainly they welcome my clinical contributions. All in all, it’s not a bad gig; acceptance for my East Coast manner. In short, I love it here even if I have to play the socialite a bit; a role better suited to my sister.

Life and the bar

My mind restless and unsettled. I piled into the Porsche and drove to a little bar in our small town on the bay. It was a warm day with plenty of fog everywhere.  I have to get out of my head because I was missing someone more than I should. My whole trip out West here to forget him; to try to channel my feelings into my life of service. I simply must get him out of my head for survival. He doesn’t want me. I am just not good enough for him and I must accept this. I have done so much in my life and I will achieve getting him out of my brain.

It’s probably a cliche of women to be “strung out” over a man but this man is worth the pain in my heart. He’s brilliant, he’s creative and he’s wonderful for my soul but he belongs to another woman, of a higher race and ability and I will come to terms with this. His decisions for his life I will honor. I pray to accept this; please let me accept this so that I can move on with my life; I know what I must do; I will do.

I met a few friends in my local bar; drinking rum and Coke for a pleasant change of pace. I needed the distraction. loved the music and loved the games that we played. I even danced; a new role for me. One of my drinking buddies is a publisher, going through the motions of life; perhaps we can help each other.

He kept telling me that he can’t come to terms with liking me as a black woman (only half-black) but who is counting race? They always count race. It always comes back to the fact that I am not good enough. I can’t change my parents and my birth; what I look like and what I am. Please let me move on. I am so tired of  being devalued because of my race.

I danced and tried to have fun with my friends. “It’s a shame that you don’t belong to one of us,” a posse member said. ” You are just a beautiful and smart woman. “Who am I kidding?  I will stay here on the West coast because at least they don’t hate me. In time, I will accept reality. He’s never going to see me again in this life. I had to put myself far away. This I do tonight.

My heart is in the Midwest, loving a great man of letters and creativity who doesn’t want me. He has the life that he chooses for himself. I love a man who will never love or even appreciate me. As much as I should have run from him when I met him, I didn’t; what a stupid mistake for me.  I accept the pain or my error and hope that my work out here will provide anesthesia. It’s time for me to go on and soar.

My heart knows greatness and acceptance as I find it. I was given this gift of empathy and it’s pure hell. I can’t apologize that money is in my family.  I can’t apologize any more for being not good enough; beautiful enough; talented enough. I listen to music; dance in the darkness and lose myself.

I know that I am going to survive this one. When he’s living his wonderful life with the woman that he loves, he will be happy and I will be in my world of service. The world will be OK.

Smoke Detector Sanity

One of the smoke detectors in the house began to emit that familiar chip of needing its battery replaced. I climbed up onto a step stool and replaced the battery hoping that I had solved the problem. After all, if there is a problem, I try to solve it. Well, the thing keeps chirping even after I have replaced the battery with a fresh new one. My thought now is that the error code needs to be reset but I don’t know how to do this.

Most things around the house that need maintenance, or my attention, I keep notes but this one is a new task for me. I find myself in tears at the prospect of not being able to get this problem under control. Fortunately, there is no way to silence this chirp which is a good thing but unfortunately, my sister, is the beneficiary of most of the noise. She’s ready to kill me because I even changed the battery.

I could wax philosophically about this situation but I wonder what would happen if I had not been here to help trouble-shoot this thing. I need to stop playing with my head and get this under control. This is why I have a maintenance person at my home in the Midwest.

Listen with only your ears

This morning in the cool salt air, I decided to warm up, get into my comfortable cruise form and listen. I wanted to see where my mind would take me; where my thoughts would go. Last evening, in the clear chilly air with an almost full moon, my mind, body and head enjoyed the spiritual feel of live jazz music done by my neighbor.

The venue was intimate, the drinks were good; a superb warmth of hearing every chord, tone and riff enjoyable, no make that fun and playful. When my neighbor plays his “horn”, I can see him smiling, feel his joy and love the sounds he produces, a great talent. His brother, a guitarist, joined him on the small stage in the dark lounge. For me, a woman of no creativity, a performance by my talented friends is most welcome.

This morning, still feeling the energy of last evening, my ears head the faint sounds of a breeze coming in off the bay. What was in this breeze for me? It was telling me to relax, feel the serenity and just be present. Sure, I said my prayers of gratitude for my health and my capacity to love purely without promise. I am grateful that I realized that I have come to a place of peace within myself. It has taken some years of hurt, tragedy experienced but now no expectations other than to enjoy the moment I am in.

I went to thoughts of adding more precision to my practice. As I spend some much-needed time on my journal reading, I make notes of what I must incorporate in my teaching. I know I have made the best decisions for where I am in life; now grateful that I can stand alone, perhaps thrive alone. Though I want to share my adventures, that is not to be as I come to terms with being solitary by force.

My solitude of which running is a part, is not sad or lonely. It’s my method of listening to those matters I need to hear. I can’t be of service to others in need without being complete within myself. So I moved along the jogging path, hearing the wind, hearing  inside my head. My world now will be OK as I keep listening with both ears, concentrating on one sense at a time. I have nothing to lose and now I know my end. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing those I love succeed and enjoy happiness. If I can contribute even a small bit to their lives, I am grateful.

Why Does It Matter?

A good friend shared his disappointment with something that has not worked out for him, though he’s been working on this matter for months and months. As I read his note, I found that I share his disappointment and frustration with this task. I always want the very best for this friend because he’s a very good and kind individual, not to mention that I hate for him to be sad, period. I thought of him last evening, my empathic connections picking up his very palpable vibes even from a distance. In the lines that he wrote, I read a combination of anger, rightful in this case and exhaustion.

I know that he’s resilient; probably the strongest persona I have known but I hate for this not to have worked yesterday. It’s been a long road, trust me on this with discomfort. I just can’t stand for him to feel anything that hurts, is stressful or is uncomfortable. This has always been my connection with him, almost from the time I first met him. I trust his mental resilience, for sure but it matters to me, his friend, that he gets this behind him as soon as this may be done.

Why does it matter? Because he’s my touchstone and my wonder. I care and I connect. I always want to be a person in his life, if he allows, that understands his disappointments, hopes and accepts him as I find him, without agenda other than wanting the very best for him and the achievement of what he wants for himself.

For sure, he has been a source of wonder and joy for me at times, especially with his supreme generosity and sense of fun. My hope is that he’s feeling a bit better today; having found some relaxation. I could give him the world; my world if he wanted because he’s that good. He has much greatness and gifts yet to share with the world. I see that very clearly even if he doesn’t see these things in himself at times. It matters, simply because he’s my friend.