Journal Writing

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I race to finish Natalie Goldberg’s Long Quiet Highway – it is so beautiful to read and there are many books on my nightstand to be read.  I devour the memoire and then as I finish suddenly I look around and feel like I’ve lost a friend.

I try to read her first book Writing Down the Bones then decide to simply read Long Quiet Highway again.  I get about a sentence in and realize I can’t read – I need to write.

I head to the beach – backpack packed: books, journal, computer.   An hour and a half until dinner – an hour and a half to write.  I sit down at the patio furniture on the grassy part above the beach.  A part of me wishes I could go to a café in the city to write.  I catch the thought and return to my breath.  Cities… to go to a dance class, to have an easy morning drinking coffee and reading on the sofa. Caught it – breath, waves, wind chimes, back to the present, back to the blank page…

When I was in university I loved to dance and the only place I knew to do it was at the bar.  That’s where everyone seemed to be heading anyways so I’d put on an outfit that I could move in and go dance.  If the music was good and there was space on the floor I’d make sure not to drink too much because I knew it would mess up my moves and as everyone else loved life wasted, I was high on the dance.

Then in Thunder Bay – bands touring across Canada would have to stop there because it’s the only city between Sault Ste Marie and Winnipeg so on Tuesdays or Wednesdays there’d be great shows in town.  The live music was great and the crowd was the same – students, artists – drunk, picking up, rocking out and I’d be the one with the big moves at the side of the stage because that’s where the space was.  Elbows out, knees high. Dance.

And I’ve been thinking about my transition this fall from this small community in the mountains to the city and I’ve been wondering why.  Why am I moving to a new city at the darkest time of the year?  How can this possibly be a good idea? And finally realized it’s to dance.

Since those years of dancing at the bar I’ve found “my people” in the world of dance.   The others who were most likely at some point the crazy dancer in the corner – who love to move and who want to move alcohol free.  Who like to dance on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings and to do the big moves.

Breath, waves, sunshine, mountains.  I return to where I am now.  Where someone has prepared a beautiful meal and all I have to do is show up.  There are beautiful things here and there will be beautiful things in the city.  Wherever I am – all I have to do is show up.

 

Entranced

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I am entranced by a new Master’s degree program and suddenly – like I do at beginning of most of my love affairs – I see the glimmer of beautiful possibility and begin to sprint after it.

This time I find myself on Google trying to find out which key words will identify the best non-profit in the world.   No luck.  I move onto Twitter and ask one of my current internet heros what her favourite non-profit is.  Maybe she will have the key…

This degree can be done while working and you can apply what you are learning to your work.  Therefore – a part of me decides – I must be working at the best place ever so that I can apply my learning to the best place therefore creating the biggest impact ever.

At some point I realize it is ridiculous to find the “best non-profit” and what I really need to find is where the best fit is for me.

And as I slow down to a jog I also realize I like working directly with people more than I like working with organizations so maybe the program’s not the best fit after all.

Efficiency is not always what it seems.  I am beginning to see efficiency as people doing what they love – using their particular skills and talents to create a better world.

And then I realize this is what I actually want to do – I want to help people to find out what their potential is, to do what they love and fully develop the particular set of gifts they were born with.  Each one of us is completely individual and what we have to offer the world is this incredibly unique and beautiful thing.

So what is my gift? What do I have to offer? What could helping people move towards their potential look like?

And as my time living and working in this community that I love (Yasodhara Ashram) begins to draw towards a close, these questions suddenly seem to have an urgency behind them.

And then, at the glimmer of a beautiful possibility, a part of my mind dashes off at full tilt towards what may or may not be a mirage.

The facts are that in this moment I am living my ideal – working with people and plants and developing programming to make this community an even more harmonious place.  And the facts are that I don’t know exactly what is next for me and really, at this stage, I don’t need to know.

The planner in me wants a plan, but really it is time for the worker in me to do the work – to show up, one day at a time, and do what is set before me.

I am learning to trust that I will know what I need to know when I need to know it and in the meantime to be grateful for what I already have and to be grateful for what I already know.

The planner in me wants a plan, but the knower in me knows that the plan will only come when the time is right.

Committing to Learn

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I sat on my bed, looking out the window for a moment before heading to the Rose Ceremony, a ceremony of commitment held here at Yasodhara Ashram. I thought about renewing my commitment to learning as much as I can in this lifetime. And I thought about how every day I have the opportunity to renew that commitment.

Some days I wake up worried, but choose to use my strength.
I wake up tired, but move forward anyways.
Feel scared, but choose to be courageous.

Every day is an opportunity to practice becoming more fully who I want to be.

Living and working in an intentional community I bump into others more often than when I have been able to go home to my own apartment. I often run into different opinions and there’s no hiding when I make a mistake. It’s definitely challenging and is also an amazing opportunity to learn to negotiate and to learn to admit when I’m wrong. I’ve been living here a year and a half and it’s been the most intense period of personal transformation I’ve ever experienced.

Somehow the pressure and limitations have pushed me to change. There’s no victory unless there’s something to overcome. You can’t be courageous unless your scared. So the challenges have been gifts and the visible and invisible support of the community is what has allowed for great transformation.

And it isn’t over yet.

I am grateful for what I have learned so far here so far and for all the support.  And I look forward to what learning the spring and summer here will bring.

Lifted

January 22, 2014 022

When I lived in Newfoundland
I used to ride my bike to work
And sometimes the wind off the ocean would be so strong
I’d have to peddle going down hill.

And on those days I’d battle the wind
Fighting tooth and nail
Trying to make it to work on time

And then in Montreal winters
Walking to school
A cold wind would hit me as I turned a corner
Tunneled by the buildings
Picking up speed
Chilling me to the bone

And now living in a small community in BC
I’ve found a different kind of wind
Same pressure
Different source

The winds of emotions
Of trying to live and work together
Of trying to make things work and disagreeing about how

And I’ve been standing in this wind being pummelled again
Thinking “Why me?”
“I’m just the messenger.”

And then the other day
I remembered if I spread my wings at just the right angle
I can catch the wind and lift up

The birds don’t spit at the wind
They allow it to help them to soar

So I’m learning not to run away

I’m learning to face
Choose my angle
And soar.