Here’s a thing….

I need to accept, that, in my life, bad things are going to happen to me. They are going to happen because of circumstances and people I allow in, and they are going to happen just because bad things happen. To dwell on the bad things that happened and things bad people did to me, or obsess on the bad things that might happen to me in the future does not protect me from experiencing more pain; it diminishes my capacity for strength and compassion to cope with, overcome, and ultimately forgive. The scarcity of feeling strength, love, and acceptance (personal fortitude, self-love, and accepting me as I am) to be myself and to receive life – good and bad – prevents me from fully experiencing my life; and therefore, prevents me from finding full happiness and completeness in myself. The irony is not lost on me that what I desire the most – inner peace, wholeness, and acceptance – can only be given to me from me, and can only be found by me from within me.

I think I can be scared, feel angry, and acknowledge along a full spectrum of pain, and to feel weak and small and uncertain. BUT – if I go there, I need to fully go. there. And go and feel whatever consequence of pain that naturally develops through that allowance, and resolve to let that experience flow – flow so it moves through me rather than stay and develop suffocating stagnation. Otherwise, despite what I allow myself to believe are my “best” efforts to cultivate the life I crave, nothing will grow. I will not be able to breathe or to move or think with any fluidity or relief. As that is stagnation… Failure to develop, advance, or progress; cessation of flowing or running; staleness or foulness.

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There are some smells that take us into a space of
nostalgia. Songs can do that for me, as well. I identify songs with an era of
my life. Counting Crows and Stone Temple Pilots are sure bets to bring me to
high school. Laying on a friend’s bed, crying over some stupid boy who didn’t
like me as much as I liked him. Sweet Home Alabama reminds me of my childhood
and father on Saturday mornings, blaring Lynyrd Skynyrd, as my mom yelled at
him to stop acting like a redneck and disturbing our neighbors.
A certain song can even haunt me toward a person.
Lines within lyrics that were manipulated in conversation…
context ignored or simply overlooked that now haunts me. Meetings and
conversations in which an elephant sat in a room with us but was never acknowledged.
What rude hosts we were, to ignore such a guest…. Then, the game changer
happened, and the friendship complicated, and then the friendship lost. When
you cross a line with a platonic friend, your risk is great. The reward could
be fantastic, but what is worth the risk? Ultimately, when he crossed over an
implied boundary between us, he, or I, or maybe us both – couldn’t handle the confusion
and complication of a newly altered but not defined friendship. I not only did
not acquire a new lover, I lost an old friend. And this, at a time when my
friends are greatly needed.
And also, at a time when old and lost lovers become new
friends with relationships redefined as two ghosts whom were long past were
randomly rediscovered and let back in.
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With Beauty, May I Walk
“In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty. ”
― Navajo Blessing

Aaron, our Navajo guide, took Liz and I on a drive through Monument Valley. One of the formation features he brought us to was Big Hogan. Because it was just the three of us, we moved through the park faster than the stuffed-full other tour jeeps, and as a bonus, were able to spend more time at some other spots in between other groups. 
 Big Hogan was one of these stops where, for just a few moments, we had the hogan to ourselves – just the three of us, and Aaron showed us how to perch on and back against the sandstone wall, resting our entire weight on the slant of the rock, and look up through the eagle eye, into the sky, from the roof of the hogan.
See the eagle eye (look for its beak and outline of the head)?
At first, I said I could, but I really couldn’t, see the eagle in the rock. Then, I closed my eyes, opened them, and, I saw. It’s just a little bit ridiculous, to me, how sometimes even with a guide, if I force myself to see, I can still be not ready to see… and in a moment – unguarded and not forced – exactly what my guide wants me to see, is right there, vivid as can be, and right before me! Literally, following a blink. I didn’t have to over-think this one, I just had to be there, and to reopen my eyes, to see what was, literally, looming over me. 
And, if the visual weren’t enough, when we talked, our voices slightly echoed in what seemed like a perfectly engineered sound studio. In addition to the visual delight, I had a rare opportunity to hear myself speak, in stereo — a gentle reminder, one could say, for me to remember to be mindful of my words.
Thinking even beyond the Navajo blessing, while I wish to be more mindful of how I talk, I know I have a significant opportunity to also watch where, and how, I walk.
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Saving for San Francisco
Last time I was in the city I was with the man I loved. This time I’m going to the city, and my partner in crime and I have our passports to the Street Food Festival, just a little walk away from our base camp.  and see if we, two very smart cookies with penchants for predicaments, will be smart enough to get ourselves in just enough trouble for laughs and smart enough to stay out of any trouble that could present a pooper to the party. Last time, we (Guy and I) had a room on the 24th or the 26th floor of the beyond beautiful Westin St. Francis (and truth be told, I could have stayed in that room, staring at the view all weekend, if I had been so lazily inclined). This time, we’re taking over a friend’s home steps away from Dolores Park.

The info display on Stupid Scandinavian Car advised it was 107 today, and that is more than 40 ridiculous degrees hotter than it will be in my gloriously foggy, and beloved, city.
Last time, I held someone’s hand as we walked up and down those hills, this time, I may be assisting or receiving the assistance of holding someone or myself being held up. I have been known to break my foot and refuse to seek medical care so as to not waste a minute of my vacation in this town. She has been known to horrifically sprain and bruise ligaments and soft tissue in an ankle, refusing to seek medical care until her vacation was over. We may be smart, most of the time, but maybe have more zest than brains when good times roll. 
So, here’s to saving me from myself, San Francisco.
I can say, that I expect I will not find myself quasi hitch-hiking from Big Sur back up into the city, as I once had to do following a major ditch move by a man to whom I am no longer friends. It was a great ride up north, and I made a new friend from it. Thanks for saving me, San Francisco!
Annnnd, I just found out within the last five minutes that another neighbor, my right next door neighbor/owner, who rented to the most awesome and considerate couple who have been dream neighbors for the last four years… is foreclosing. So the prospect of uncertain new neighbors coupled with the tenant renting the property above me who screams so angrily and stomps and slams things — I do not pay the mortgage I pay to live like I’m in college housing……. oh my gosh…
SAVE ME, San Francisco!
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Stop Being So Religious
What 
Do sad people have in
Common?
It seems
They have all built a shrine
To the past
And often go there
And do a strange wail and
Worship.
What is the beginning of 
Happiness?
It is stop being
So religious
Like 
That.
~Hafiz 

Even in beautiful allegory, what Hafiz wrote here rings so true. Often times, actually probably every single time, we are sad, angry, fearful about something – or even just in general – those feelings are triggered from something that happened.

That…

HappenED. Happened. Past tense.

And yet, we allow what happened, in the past, to infect our present. 
I’ve heard and read about theories of fight or flight and survival, but no man that I know of has clubbed me over my head and dragged me to a cave by my hair, and the only animal pelts I wear are purchased from old estates (yes, any PETA lover, I WEAR FUR! Old fur, fur that’s already dead and made and has been sitting in some other lady’s closet).
And even still, it can be argued that it isn’t the event that makes one angry or sad, just as my mom would point out to me that my younger brother didn’t make me mad, I was making myself mad (sound familiar?). Rather, my feelings about what my pesky brother was doing at the time made me mad. My feelings made me mad. And Parker’s actions didn’t devastate me (as much as this fucking pill shreds my throat as I forcibly swallow that one down), my feelings about Parker’s actions and my feelings about consequences of Parker’s actions devastate me. My feelings about how I allowed that much rage into my soul devastate me. My feelings about being so foolishly deceived devastate me. Not him. My feelings do. It’s all a shrine I built, and one at which I still worship. An ungracious association to which I tithe and practice a ritual, although less “religiously” than I was before. A bad religion I can look to abandon, and I am becoming more and more an absent parishioner.
What’s your religion with crooked priests? When will you abandon your shrine, and instead of tithing your emotions to an ungracious cause, can you imagine the value of that energy in a capacity better spent?
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