Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 35: Bouncing Back

Deep breathing is helping.  Smiling helps.

Then I was sorting through my home email account (I don't much check it anymore because I am on email ALL DAY LONG at work...) .  I had signed up for's "Miracle Thought" from Marianne Williamson and she had the perfect thought for today...

"Salvation begins when you consider that there might be another way."  from A Course in Miracles Workbook

"Consider it. There might be another way. Don’t avoid your life. This is it. Everything you are experiencing right now is the platform for a miracle. Heaven isn’t out there, later – it is here now."

In my workplace, we have a sign that says, "Choose your Attitude".  It is kind of dorky and a VERY non-professional sign, but I see it every day when I come in the door.  For a long time, I thought about it every day when I walked towards my office...OH!!  Epiphany!!  We have a big board welcoming visitors that is COVERING IT!!  It has been there all week. Maybe that is part of my problem!!!  

Anyway, today, I was back on track.  When I felt stressed or frustrated, I went and sought out people.  I got up and walked around.  I did something DIFFERENT.  It helped.  It didn't make the stress disappear, but it took away some of the bite.

Now, on to the weekend.  I'm sure the next two days will be informative for me in this grand experiment.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 34: Sick and Tired

I must be on the verge of some discovery or change because this week is turning out to be crappy.  Crapilicious.  Craptacular.  Crap-on-a-stick.

And now to top it all off, I am feeling pukey and sick. I don't know how to spell pukey, but it is a good word.  And no, it isn't swine flu.  


So, perhaps some miraculous self-discovery moment will happen sometime tonight and I can write about it tomorrow.  But for now, bleh.  I'm going to go lay down.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 33: Journey On

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~Winston Churchill 

I should have taken my lunch today...I didn't.  I meant to and then suddenly it was 5:00pm.  It was all I could do to stick it out for the full 8.5 hours...I don't know why.

That's not true. I do know why.  I feel restless. I want to clean everything and throw everything away.  I want to just start all over again - clean slate. Not just at work, but everywhere.  

I feel like I have lost my ability to focus, to stay tuned into anything for longer than 10 minutes.  I'm worried that I did all this thinking and writing and wondering for the last 33 days and when it all comes down to it, what did I accomplish?  Did I change? Did my perceptions change?  Did I pick an easy way out?  What should I have chosen to do?  Did I sabotage myself? Can I just maintain until the 37 days are done?  What will I do after?

I realized tonight how fractured my life is and therefore, how fractured I feel.  I have my full-time job, where I earn my living and get my benefits.  I have my creative jobs, I have teaching (not right now), and I have my (ahem) personal life.  In some ways, all of these things are intricately tied together - in that they are all about interpreting, interpreters, providing services to Deaf people, etc.  But I feel unfulfilled personally, creatively.  I love doing this blog and I have all these thoughts about art and music and photography.  I feel such a longing for beauty and creativity - for books, poetry, writing, theatre.  And I don't do it.  

What is wrong with this picture?  What am I doing?  I feel like I'm holding my own head underwater.  It isn't anyone else...what am I afraid of?  What could life be if I could just DO IT.  Whatever it is.  

I don't even know where the person is who was capable of all that stuff.  I feel like I'm losing myself in some ways.  This 37 Day Challenge has helped me see myself- in some good ways and some less good ways.  I think this realization is the one I have been afraid of having.  This kind of river of dissatisfaction flowing through me...questioning what I'm doing, where I'm going.  I knew I would find myself, but in finding the person I want to be, I see her across an ocean of who I am.  

I don't even know how to talk about it rationally.  I just have this ache in the pit of my stomach.  It hasn't gotten better - it has gotten deeper.  I have to figure out what I need to do to ease it.  Wow.  So much work to do. Every step I take, I see the road just get longer.  I guess when the road ends, so do I, so I should be grateful.  I am grateful. I am.  Just tired.  

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 32: Downhill at this stage?

I had a hard day today.  Just some realizations that I think I already knew but that I had to relearn.

I realized (again) that no matter how hard I try, I cannot please everyone.  And mostly, the displeasure or pleasure that people feel about you may or may not be about you at all.  It may be about the swirling of their universe around them and you can't even see it, much less affect it.

No matter how nice, how flexible, how accomodating, how patient, how clear, how kind, how attentive you are, it is not enough for most people.  And that has to be okay.  

Today, I had a hard time being ok with it.  Then I get frustrated with myself for not remembering this before I got frustrated in the first place.  

I guess I should expect some speed bumps.  It all comes from being more aware.  That's never a bad thing, just not always the easiest thing to be.

Umm...It looked different at home

I have an ancient monitor at home that my father bought at Goodwill or something for $5. At the time, it was one of the first flat screen monitors but it was one of the thick ones...(I know there is a name...CRT?). It is old and not widescreened by any means.

When I put the new picture up for my Blog Header, it filled the space on MY screen just fine. But I looked at it on a widescreen monitor today and was my face red! The picture, although sweet and fun, does not nearly cover the space I need it to cover. Sigh.

I love the picture, but I think I'm going to hold off on the change until I can get a mosaic or something. I even struggled with one of those this weekend, hence the single photo instead of several.

**I think I figured it out...I'm testing out the header. Bear with me. :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 31: More Flower Photos

I have a "family function" today. I go because it is important to my mother, but otherwise, there is no love lost between the other members of my family and I. Some pretty intense, harsh, unforgettable things were said.

I want to be able to be Zen about these things because I can't avoid them without being the bitch who wouldn't play. I can accept that this is one of those things I *have* to do. But I hope I can get to a place where it doesn't ruin my day, make my neck clench up and keep me so on edge.

My goal is to go, to be friendly, to avoid controversial topics, to nod and smile - just like being at work. I can do it. I'm just not happy about it.

So, that's why I'm posting more flower pictures. They are happy. Does anyone know what kind of flowers the pink ones are? The pink and white ones from last week are cherry blossoms. The white ones from this set are apple blossoms. But the pink ones, I just don't know.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day 30: Time for Myself

Today, I look forward to some down time. Time away. Quiet time. Beach time. I think I'm going to go to the beach in May for at least a few days to chill and think and relax. No matter what kind of person I am or strive to be, I gotta have some time for myself.

[image from here]

Bea Arthur: Television Trailblazer

I remember watching pieces of "Maude" on T.V. when I was little. I didn't always understand why people were laughing, but I remember recognizing this woman who seemed fearless and powerful and commanded attention. She had a deep voice like my mom. There was something about her that I admired, even when I was just 6 or 7 years old. Something about her presence resonated deep in me - even before I turned out to be 5'11" + with an alto voice.

Bea Arthur, Broadway actress, T.V. Hall of Fame member, star of "Maude" and "The Golden Girls" and Tony Award Winner for "Mame", passed away this morning in her sleep. She was 86.

Wouldn't it be great to be a role model like that? To leave a legacy for women to look up to? Not necessarily on that large of a scale, but to know you made a difference somehow...that is a life well-lived, I think.

I'm gonna have to go out and get some episodes of "Maude" to watch...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 29: Unconcious Patterns

“Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconcious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character...” ~Stephen R. Covey

On Patti Digh's blog today, she talked about patterns and finding the patterns in our 37 Days Challenge. I decided to think about that today.

One of the great values of this exercise, for me, is that instead of falling into some of my old patterns, I have been able to keep this journey present in my mind daily. I wouldn't say in the front of my mind exactly, but ever present.

I haven't necessarily been successful at the HOW of it (30 minutes at lunch every day thinking about the kind of person I want to be - what is there, what needs work, what I need to figure out). I have been successful at incorporating those qualities and focusing on them more. I find myself trying not to multi-task while on the phone (I'm not at 100% yet). I make sure to make eye contact with the person I am talking to face to face - acknowledging people, thanking them for whatever I can, smiling more. I have been trying to enjoy my connections, my time, my activities more.

I have work to do. I have some things I haven't done - mostly commitments to myself that I haven't lived up to. That is my pattern. Even in this exploration of self, it has been mostly outwardly focused. I don't think it is a bad thing - to treat others more compassionately, to try to be kinder and more present. However, there are some things I need to do for myself.

I will be taking a vacation in May - that will be for me. :) I will be seeking out opportunities for connection and joy because those things will sustain me in the times when I need to focus on others and other issues. I'm not done with this challenge - still a few days left, and still some items on my list. Some things will morph into other actions, reactions and pursuits. It is an exciting time and a scary one. I feel at times like I haven't done enough. I haven't thought deeply enough or really touched on what needs to be touched that fear? I will keep looking, keep asking, keep trying.

Today, I think I helped someone feel good about themself on a really, really emotional and difficult day for them. Even if it was only for a moment.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 28: Holding Pattern

I had a show today. I don't know why, but almost everything in my life grinds to a screeching halt on show day. I don't deal with any of that stuff because I am trying to focus on the show and the translations and just getting to the place I need to be to stand up in front of 3,000 people and wear my heart on my sleeve. That's what theatrical interpreting feels like to me most of the time.

I love it, but it is exhausting, emotionally, for me.

I want to be the best I can be - as a team, as an interpreter, as the person conveying the story to others. I want to be less high-strung about it - i.e., life happens on show days, but I don't want to lose the passion or the drive or the joy that I feel when doing, seeing or rehearsing for theatre.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 27: Egads! How Did I Get Here?

Where did the time go? Day 27 of 37? I can't even believe it!

I have swung on the pendulum of this experience today. I started the morning seeing an MSN story called "The New Narcissism" and while I did not read it, I was struck with the thought - "Who am I to be blogging? Who am I to be focusing on myself when there are so many worthy things in the world to be focused on? Why am I not more focused on Earth Day and helping people and... and...and..." I threw off judgement of myself pretty quickly, and proceeded to have a heck of a day with a few bright spots thrown in.

I laughed a bit today. I handled a situation I would normally have put off because it was hard. I asked for help. I spoke my truth in a respectful way. I went to see a less-than-perfect show with Roby's mom and step-dad and through their eyes, had a much better, enjoyable experience.

I want to be a person who stays in touch with her best friend's mother. That's who I wanted to be today. And I did it.

Although I have had doubts and criticisms of myself during this challenge (am I doing enough? too much? am I selfish? should I do something else? what if I don't figure it out? what if I'm on the wrong track?), I feel it with me daily. I feel like I'm more positive, having more fun, more open to other people (mostly) and to myself. I am thinking about good things and positive steps and ways that I can succeed at this. It is very exciting.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 26: Where I Stand Now

I think it is FASCINATING how this experience teeter-totters me weekly from feeling on top of the world to despairing at how far I have to go to get to being the person I want to be. I don't have to take a lunch to think about it. Every action, every word I say or think or feel reverberates through me.

Right now, I am struggling with a few connected issues. I am struggling to be heard and struggling with the restraint I feel I must use in speaking. I am in a position where I can't necessarily give people my full opinion or feel free to express myself fully. I'm a talker, a story-teller, and I find myself becoming quieter and more reserved about sharing my voice (except here). So, when I do speak, I sometimes feel discounted, invisible. I don't think it is personal - I think it is about other things. So why does it matter? Why am I feeling so frustrated when sometimes the most simple acknowledgement would alleviate some of this feeling.

I know I am being vague. It isn't just in one area of my life - it is in several. I don't know what this is all leading to...I think a discovery is on the way...I hope I can get there in the next 12 days. Not that this journey will be over then, but I would love for it to come within the confines of this 37 Day Challenge.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 25: Patience

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” St. Augustine

I picked this quote because one of my biggest lessons in life has been patience. Patience to listen to things that I don't want to hear. Patience to do things I don't want to do and know that it will be over soon. Patience to wait for others to catch up to my thinking or patience for myself when I know my thinking isn't where I need it to be.

I hope when I get done, I will have also gained more wisdom...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

End of Civilization As We Know it?? (Day 24)

Two years ago, YouTube wasn't even a twinkle in my eye. I don't even know when YouTube came into existance. In some ways, it seems like it has always been around (I'm so used to it) and in others, it is still fascinating and eats up hours of time I don't really have to spare. What would life look like without it? I can't really remember clearly...

Then I read an article about YouTube and the price of bandwidth at, it says that Google is going to lose something like $450 million dollars this year because user-generated material (specifically videos in the case of YouTube) take up so much bandwidth and advertisers tend not to purchase ad space on the most popular "viral videos". The implication was clear - YouTube could be going down the boo-Tube.

When I read the article, it created a little flutter in my heart, a little panic - "How can I save my videos in case YouTube disappears?" Other websites have disappeared that I loved and I lived, so I would probably be fine...


Life as we know it now would be so different without access to YouTube videos of cats jumping out of their skin , kids reciting all the presidential famous quotes, little girls singing precociously in perfect precious pitch, ordinary housewives stunning the world with their beautiful singing voice, music videos, clips of old interviews or Randy Graff singing "I Dreamed a Dream" on "The Tonight Show".

It's going to be fascinating to see what will happen in the future. Will people pay for something they once got for "free"? Look at cable TV. What's one more thing we pay another monthly fee for - phone, Netflix, internet, cable, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, all major newspapers, etc. It's gonna be interesting. At a time in our economic history when we can't really afford luxuries, we are ALL ABOUT LUXURY. What can we live without? What are the items people will pare down ultimately? What services and companies will survive?

Ooh...It got serious there for a minute... I just want to be able to watch my African Alphabet video from Sesame Street and Alison Moyet's appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman" back in 1987 and Bernadette Peters singing "Time Heals Everything" or Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" or Peter, Paul and Mary singing "Blowing in the Wind".

I have other favorites that are not necessarily accessible to all - some in sign language, some that are more insider to the interpreting community...but I close with a beautiful song and a memory from 1980-

I Sing the Body Electric (1980 Fame) 

See what I mean?  Things that make you go HMMMM.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 23: I want to be Brave

Today, I decided I wanted to be brave. So, after rehearsing for my next show for much of a beautiful sunny day, I decided I would try to take some photos with my semi-new digital camera.  I have this kind of silly plan to make my own banner for the blog if I can get the pictures I want.

I'm sure folks may be thinking, "What's brave about that?" but then I would have to refer you to posts about Perfectionism.  I tend to shy away from things I don't pick up right I ever managed to become an interpreter, I will NEVER know - it didn't come easy, that's for sure!

Here are the results of a foray into bravery - from my backyard. Please forgive the number of pictures - I was so happy so many came out fairly decently.  I'm not going to be taking photos for National Geographic anytime soon, but I'm happy.

P.S. Special Thanks to McKay who told me to take lots of photos of the same thing and see which ones look good. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 22: I'm not through

"When you are through changing, you are through."~Bruce Barton

This 37 Day Challenge has softened my perspective. I'm not really doing anything that different than I was 22 days ago, but it FEELS different. Smiling more. Thinking happier thoughts. Thinking about my reactions, my perceptions. Thinking about how to treat other people better. Understanding people a little more or giving them more room to be imperfect, too. Seeing the beauty in small things.

I have always been proud that I have not let go of the inner child - the person who can find the joy in small things, who can play, who can appreciate the details, the colors, the sights and sounds of the world. I hadn't lost it recently, I just hadn't let the kid out! Even in small ways, this journey is making a difference.

There are other things I want to work on for 37 Days, but I want to finish THIS. I don't want to get distracted away because I know this is helping me and when I'm done - mostly keeping my commitment to myself, sometimes falling down- I will be better able to accomplish the next thing.

Ahhh...Harry Potter fix. I Know, I'm an Adult.

I don't care! I love the Harry Potter books and this trailer looks excellent! I love the books not only because J.K. Rowling told a great story that was very tight and interesting, even for adults, with characters you can relate to or sympathise with...I love the books because it brought reading to a whole generation of non-readers. I have met so many young people who said they hadn't read books before Harry Potter and now they are voracious readers. What an amazing feat!

So, enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 21: Forgiveness

"The first step in forgiveness is the willingness to forgive." ~Marianne Williamson

I didn't take a lunch today or specifically think about who I want to be.  I got to see the results of some actions I have taken to experience more joy, I listened to a CD during my drive that was really the highlight of my day.  I had a few laughs with people, worked hard, was grumpy for a while when I got home, but overall, I feel a change in demeanor...I'm feeling less hunched over from my world, my responsibilities, my choices.

I'm willing to forgive myself for not being perfect.   I'm willing to forgive folks for what I perceive as slights or trespasses.  Every day is a new day. Every day is an opportunity to choose again, to refocus, to revisit the person I want to become, the joy of life.  My heart is full of that right now.  It feels good.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 20: Dreaming

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."~Walt Disney

I think it is fascinating how things turn and tip suddenly. I was feeling so serious and so single-minded about my 37 Day Challenge. I had a procedure and I had an outcome that I was expecting on a daily basis. That single-mindedness (closed mindedness?) limited me to a certain kind of thinking - that the qualities I respect in someone were only noble and difficult to attain.


When I got distracted (by a quote, a thought, someone laughing), I started to look around me and see other qualities I was overlooking in my serious endeavor. Laughter. Joy. Dreaming. Suddenly, those ideas are flowing in my direction - from the multiple exposures to Susan Boyle singing on "Britain's Got Talent" on The Metaphorical Magpie and 37Days to the appearance of quotes from Disney, a delivery of a stuffed Bernard from "Where the Wild Things Are".

Right now, I'm dreaming of going to NYC this June to see the interpreted performance of "The Lion King", a trip to the beach for a week, a good old-fashioned tear-jerker, a good book, a night out with friends. All attainable. All JOYOUS.

This is a good day. And I even owed taxes and didn't cry. That's a good day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 19: The Great Work Begins

Ok. Now I am in the home stretch...I have passed the halfway mark.

I feel a little like I'm not doing enough or thinking enough or making enough happen - that is my emotional response. My rational response is that I have been very focused on this endeavor, even though it doesn't always look like I think it should (lunch, sitting, contemplative, epiphanies...).

I realized this week that I am going again and again to the topic I have gravitated to in this blog more than one time. I want to be a person who experiences joy more regularly. I don't think it has to be that I walk around on cloud nine all the time, floating on happiness. I just mean doing and saying and reading and watching and participating in things that bring me joy. Friends, family, reading, theatre, music, beautiful days, movies- where do those things fit into my world? How can I keep them present in my mind and my priority list in this chaotic, busy life I lead? How can I tame the business (the chaos is not really mine to control) and really take this goal in hand and make it happen?

I have a lot of work to do. But good work. In the words of Tony Kushner, "More Life. The Great work begins."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 18: Living Dreams

Yesterday, I visited Rachel at The Metaphorical Magpie and I was really, inexplicably moved by the woman in the clip she posted here. I watched the clip several times and even teared up the first time I saw it. Aside from the fact that she sang one of my ALL TIME favorite songs, I realized how proud I felt of her.

I want to be a person who lives her dreams. I haven't visited them in a long time.

Something important to think about.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 17: Pleasing Others

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." ~Bill Cosby

Another quote that made a timely appearance on my sidebar.

I had a day (which I have probably described somewhere on this blog) where I realized that I couldn't make everyone happy - it wasn't possible. Partially because I couldn't do it and partially because people choose to be happy or not happy. It was a critical moment for me - an epiphany. The weight of the world came off my shoulders in that moment when I realized that I could only control MY CHOICES, MY ATTITUDE.

That doesn't mean it is easy knowing that something I do or say makes someone unhappy or that even when I am giving it my all, someone chooses NOT TO BE happy. Not to accept my overtures. Old habits are hard to break. But I keep that internal now instead of externalizing my frustration.

One of my goals is to really find some peace with this idea - that pleasing everyone is the road to failure. I think I am about halfway there, but I still have a ways to go.

I am looking forward to a less hectic week, less emotionally impactful. I'm sure the week will have its moments, but a little calm would be a good thing. I breathe deep and prepare to enter a new week.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 16 Thoughts

I have been thinking about Hope Revolution today.  I was pouring a glass of milk and thinking that I would like to do something good...not sure what it was and I remembered the whole idea of Hope Revolution.

Actually, it started because I saw that commercial where the dad goes on a business trip and the little girl gives him her stuffed animal to travel with and he takes photos and sends them to her.  

That idea has always been something I loved - when they started taking photos with the Travelocity Gnome, this commercial.  Then I saw this picture:

and this one...

I had already started this blog with WildRumpusing and I wanted to take some photos to make the Blog Banner...earlier this year, I found a couple of Wild Things figures and I have a digital camera. I think I may take one of the figures with me and take some WildRumpusing photos as I go along...

After I saw the commercial today, I thought I should take some photos to try making the banner photo collage, then I started thinking about art and then Hope Revolution.

Clear as mud, right?

Anyway, this is one of those things I can't really explain, but that I want to participate in. I remember when Roby read "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" - he had been on an airplane and the woman next to him had finished the book. She gave it to him and said, "Pass it on when you are done." So he did. I know there are movements - one I remember was leaving a book somewhere and the person who finds it goes online to register it...I like the idea of leaving things for people to find. There is one that is leaving homemade toys around your city for people/kids to find.

I haven't figured out what I'm going to do...something with Hope Revolution. To get a start, go here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 15: Stalling

“There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.” ~Soren Kierkegaard 

This week was hard for me in so many ways.  Missing the lunches that are my opportunity to work on my project - trying to make up the time when I drive home from work.  I have been emotionally exhausted from the work this week, so it is doubly difficult to think about "Becoming".

What I realized this week was that it was easy for me to drift out of the thought about what I am doing and the qualities I am aspiring to.  Almost as if the question I asked isn't enough.  I KNOW that isn't true - is it my resistance to doing it?  It made me think of the Marianne Williamson tapes I have listened to off and on through the years.  The Course in Miracles is the path she uses to discuss spiritual matters.  I don't know what I subscribe to, exactly, but a lot of things she lectured on made sense to me.  

One of the things she used to talk about was resistance to doing the work. The other topic that seems to resonate with me is not what I need to put on, but what I need to take off myself to become the person I want to be.

This week in taking off some characteristics (or at least thinking about it), I had a great opportunity.  I did performance reviews at work this week. Something like 23 in 4 days. Performance reviews are not easy and this week was no exception.  There are the people you admire greatly and my tendency is to chatter like a monkey.  This week, I tried to stick to my game plan and not allow myself to deviate.  There are the folks who you know are going to be disappointed in their scores, no matter what good things you say.  In that circumstance, I tend to make excuses or overexplain the good stuff instead of letting it just BE.

What I discovered this week was that it was a pleasure to sit with each person and look them in the eye and tell them they were doing good work. Everyone contributes to the success of a place in some small way, in some big ways.  That connection this week was really good and gave me some things to work on.

1.  If someone isn't meeting my expectations, tell them what would meet my expectations.

2. Communication is a two way street - if some part of a communication relationship isn't working, tell the person what you need and what you will do to try to help fix it.

3.  Just listen.  (I want to take a class on Active Listening...I try to do it, but I'm not sure I'm great at that.  My instinct is to FIX IT!!)

So even though I felt a little stalled out the last couple of days when sitting down and thinking about who I want to become, I think it was because there was a lot of that reflection going on as I went along.

Please Pause for a Less Serious Post

Tag, I'm it (Tagged by Shannon at Birdstar)

What is your current obsession?  Time off…

Which item from your closet are you wearing most lately?  Jeans. Pink Shirts.
What was the last thing you bought?  Lots of chocolate for my friend’s birthday

What are you listening to right now?  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows CD 9.

Say something to the person who tagged you.  Shannon, what can I say? Thanks for Blogworld, thanks for laughter, thanks for being you.  I'm not sure what I would do without you and not just because of work.

Favorite vacation spot? NYC. Oregon Coast .

What 4 words would you use to describe yourself? Workaholic, funny, sincere, colorful

What is your current guilty pleasure? Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV Series, Hell's Kitchen

What will be the first spring thing you do?  Hmmm…go to the beach?

Where are you planning to travel next?  Maybe in May after I’m done interpreting GREASE.

How many books/magazines do you have at your bedside right now?  Too many to count…I have stacks and stacks…Stacks on journaling, stacks on art journals, stacks of fiction, stacks on business and management and leadership….ACK! More than 30…

What flower are you most anxious to see bloom this spring?  Daffodils. I have a little one that grows by a bush where it fell out of its little pot and now it grows and pops up in early March because it is protected from the wind and weather. I will take a pic.

If you could instantly gain one skill/talent, what would it be? Hmmmm...gourmet chef came to mind, but not that.  Singing came to mind.  But I really think I would love to be an artist.  Able to draw or do calligraphy.  I'm sure there are more practical things.

What is your current gadget?  My lastest buy was my iPod, but I'm dancing around a Kindle 2...Might help me reduce the stacks by my bedside a little.

Rules of the meme: Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your own blog; replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention; add one more question of your own. Tag eight other un-tagged people.

I tag: Todd, Krista...I don't really have that meany readers. Ha.  Consider yourself tagged if you want to just do something kinda fun.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 14: No Regrets

"You're only two and the whole wide world revolves around you.  Nothing's happened yet, that you might ever wish to forget.  It doesn't stay that way, if I could I make it stay that way." from Everything But the Girl

Today, on Day 14, I took a lunch break.  I didn't read my email, I didn't answer my AIM, I didn't look at reports.  I turned on my Everything but the Girl CD and ate my lunch.  The song above came on (I can't remember the name of it...I will look it up) and it struck me.

"Nothing's happened yet, that you might ever wish to forget."

I don't regret anything.  I don't want to forget anything.  Everything I have seen or done or experienced has led me to this place - to day 14 of my 37 Days Challenge - when I am looking at myself and my life and who I am and who I want to be.

That doesn't mean that everything was perfect or that I never made any mistakes, but that all those flaws, imperfections and wrong turns taught me and shaped me and gave me the filters I see the world through.

"These days remember, always remember..."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day 13: Magnifying Glass Effect

"Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one." ~Marianne Williamson

Well, what I know is that when I start paying attention to something about myself, whatever it is intensifys in some way - becomes more frequent, becomes more obvious or when you realize how much you say, "Um" or "like" or "holy crap".  That is happening right now. I think of it as the "Magnefying glass effect".

The focus of my personal transformation - during my lunch every day, take time to ask myself the question, "Am I becoming a person I respect?  What are the ways that I embody those characteristics?  Where do I still need to focus my attention?"  So, here on Day 13, after falling down yesterday, went even more whole hog...  Yesterday, I actually ate some food.  Today, there was no food involved, less bathroom breaks and very little liquid.  But the thought was there all day long - "Are you doing all you can do? Be honest."  

Person after person in my office and the words "Be honest" ringing in my head.  So I was.  I had some very earnest conversations today and made some discoveries about myself and about some of the things I have already done to become a person I respect:

  • I am willing to admit when I am wrong
  • I am willing to apologize when I make a mistake 
  • I am willing to hear difficult comments about myself and not feel defensive
  • I am able to take unexpected compliments and be gracious about it (This one is new...)
  • I am willing to work on my end of the relationships I have whether they are at work or in my personal life.
  • I can see that everyone has something positive to give to a situation and if you shine a light on those gifts, they grow and bloom.
  • I'm good at my job. Because I work hard at it. 

I also thought about some of the things I see as areas in need of some attention:

  • I need to learn some active listening techniques.
  • I need to ask when I'm not sure if I should fix or listen.
  • Continue to focus - not multitasking while I am dealing with people makes a difference.
  • Silence is ok.  Don't kill it.
  • I want to notice the positives about people and share them more often
  • Talk less. Listen more.

I am feeling good.  I don't feel feel like I'm shirking my 37 Days Challenge other than the lunch part (which I am still working on).  But the idea and the questions and answers are all there, swirling around every day.  That is good.  The lunch time will come.  And food.  Time and food are good.  We need both, every day.

Day 13 was a good day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day 12: Churchill

“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds.”~Winston Churchill 

I just thought this quote was funny and perfectly sums ups our cultural perspective on PERFECTION.

I wasn't thinking about perfection today. Or about Becoming. Or about my commitment to myself. Or 37 Days.

I ate lunch while calling into a conference call that I was already late to and trying to type on AIM to a co-worker to catch up.  I was behind on emails, behind on my work, people knocking at my door and the phone ringing on the other line.  I'm tired now. My head is kind of spinning and I feel like sinking down on the couch and taking a nap.

But this gives me a nice perspective on how important it is to take time, to do self-care, to reflect each day - even for a short time.  These past few days since I started this, I already have noticed a difference in my own presence and attentiveness to my co-workers and other people in my life.

Day 12 I fell down, but I can get back up again tomorrow. No excuses.  I'm gonna write myself in.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 11: Becoming Real

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." The Velveteen Rabbit

About 5 years ago, this quote was sent to me in the mail. It was a framed piece with hand-lettered calligraphy, dried flowers, and hand-drawn accent flowers. There was a return address on it, but no name. I didn't know WHO had sent it (someone who lives close to me, but I never went over to find out). At the time, it kind of freaked me out because I couldn't imagine who sent me something without signing their name. The person obviously knew me because The Velveteen Rabbit is one of my favorite books and I love this quote.

Yesterday, I was inspired by the sunshine to start spring cleaning and as I was looking for some music to put on while I cleaned, I found the framed quote. In light of this 37 Day Challenge and the pursuit I'm involved in - Becoming Me (Becoming Real), I thought this was perfect for a post here.

Today, I was working on a project that requires me to tell my truth to people - about them. I realized that is an area that I am extremely challenged. If you asked me if I considered myself a liar, I would vehemently deny it. But as Marianne Willaimson said in a lecture (I can't remember which), "It's those little compromises of truth...". How do you tell someone their areas of weakness and their areas of strength? I never realized how hard it can be to find them both. To be real and make it quantifiable and meaningful. I am certainly an expert at doing it for myself, but to tell others what I think they need to do?! Yikes.

So now I know that one goal I have is to learn how to tell people the truth. Not the hurtful one, but the one they might need to hear so that they can take the opportunity to see themself through someone else's eyes. We all need that. We need the compliments and we need someone to day, "Ahem, yeah - that? Not so much." I think this one is going to take a lot of work...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Another Photo - Lessons in Imperfection

Here is another imperfect photo.  I had an image in my mind last week when I was writing one of my posts and I tried to put it together, but I couldn't get my computer to recognize the camera...I finally pulled out the book today and found it.  

This is mostly for closure - not for any purpose. I can't even remember which post it seemed to go with.

My sister gifted me with this statue a couple of Christmases ago and she has lived in a box for a long time. Something sparked me to take it out last week and take photos.  (I'm not up to people photos yet. Too advanced.)  

The Angel is signing LOVE. 

Day 10: Keeping My Word

Today, during my lunch-time musings, I was thinking again about keeping my word.  I had 2 social engagements today with people I don't see often - they conflicted time-wise, of course, but I did manage to do both.  Both engagements were with people from my past and I miss them so much.  We are all just leading our lives. 

One friend is living his dream which necessitates him living in another state.  I'm so proud of him and thrilled for him that he is following his inner compass towards the work and relationships that make him soar.  And I miss him.  The gathering today is an "old home week" kind of thing - complete comfort, lots of laughs and that feeling that we have never been apart - any of us.  The friend who left was the glue that kept us together - now we are just living our grown up, adult, responsible lives - not in a bad way - it just is.

My other friend is my best friend from high school - it is her birthday today. She turned 40. Another friend from high school, whose birthday is on Sunday, was also celebrating his birthday with her - a good reason for a party.  I wasn't able to attend a celebration she had in January due to illness, so I definitely didn't want to miss today's celebration.

The birthday party started at 4:00pm and was set to continue until midnight to celebrate on both their special days.  I had decided to go to the birthday party first but when I got there and I saw all the cars, I just couldn't go in. I knew there were BUNCHES of people there that I don't know and I just couldn't get over the squirmy feeling I had about it.  Plus I was running late and would only be able to stay an hour or so. I reread the invitation and it definitely said it would be going until midnight.  I went on to the gathering with my out-of-town friend who was visiting.

We had a nice dinner with lots of laughs and rehashing of old stories.  It was good but also bittersweet as we are no longer able to do this weekly like we did 10 years ago.  I drove to my birthday friend's house and then I was suddenly attacked by doubts - "what if they didn't really want people to come late -- even though it said late-comers welcome. Maybe they won't have missed me anyway...I could just call tomorrow..." The demons were really in my head. 

As I sat outside the house, I saw the lights were on, there were a couple of cars outside and I thought, "What's the worst that can happen?  They can say the party just ended naturally and send me on my way...At least they will know that I came and kept my word that I would be there."  I got out of the car and went to the door.  There were signs that said, "Come in.  Please come in," so I tapped lightly and opened the door.  My friends smiled and welcomed me.  As I was coming in the door, my best friend from high school said, "I was just complaining that you hadn't made it and here you are!" She had no rancour in her voice, no censure.  She hugged me and we had a lovely time.

A note about working on becoming myself (from the quote):  I gave my girlfriend a copy of "Life is a Verb" (and a bag of Lindor chocolates).  When her husband asked me what it was, I explained how Patti Digh, the author, had experienced the death of her step-father from cancer in a matter of days and that she had begun writing a series of essays and this book was a collection of those essays.  My other birthday friend started talking about his diagnosis and treatment for cancer.  I had no idea this had happened - I have not seen him in a year or so.  Immediately, I felt a pang of guilt that I had brought up such a difficult topic.  Usually, I would beat myself up internally for DAYS about a faux pas like this.  But as we talked, I realized that he seemed comfortable talking about it and I am certainly comfortable with topics of illness and death and what is real about life - I just felt like I had been insensitive for bringing it up.  

Instead of obsessing about a mistake I made, I said to him, "I had no idea about your diagnosis.  I'm so sorry to hear that happened. How are you doing now?"  We continued talking and then eventually veered off into other topics.  It was really a lovely evening.  We got to midnight, wished him a happy birthday and started packing everything.  I will write a note to both of them tomorrow and express my gratitude for welcoming me so warmly.

I'm glad I went.  I think I did it in the right order, but even if I didn't, it was good.  I don't have to make perfect decisions.  I don't have to know everything or even pretend to know everything.  My friends all know that I love them and celebrate them and that is the most important part of what I accomplished today.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 9: Giving Up Perfection

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”~Anna Quindlen 

Do you suppose that in my giving up perfection this week, the universe allowed me to shine?  I think relaxing into myself and my skills is what allowed me to have such a great performance.  I love how events converge and impact each other.

Day 9 is all about relaxing, enjoying and becoming myself.

Off to social engagements. More later.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Day 8: Week At-a-Glance

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today was a good day.  I was basking in the after-glow of a thoroughly satisfying performance.  I felt like I had reaffirmed myself as an interpreter, I had met my own expectations (which are usually too high), I had a good time, I saw good friends and I was in the presence of a vibrant, moving, beautiful show.

I smiled all day today, even though my hips and legs are a little sore from standing in one place for so long.  My arms and shoulders and neck are all feeling loose - like I worked all the lactic acid out of my muscles.  I feel like all the tension and stress I have been feeling for the last couple of weeks slipped out of my body and left me feeling very physically tired, but in a very satisfying way.

My work as an interpreter is something that I sorely miss - now that I manage interpreters instead of doing the work full-time.   One of the interpreters in the audience last night (who had never seen me interpret anything AT ALL), came up to me and said, "I'm so glad you have this as an outlet to get that out.  You need to do this."  I realized she was right.  It's funny because people think it is the spotlight that is the attraction.  It isn't. For me, it is having the opportunity to participate in sharing theatre.  I am a storyteller at heart (although sometimes you'd never know it here...), so this feels like a natural extension of that.  I feel lucky that the Deaf community has welcomed me so - it is an honor.

This week was a good week.  Every day, whether I took a lunch or not (smile), I thought about the kind of person I am becoming, that I want to be, that I am already.  My thoughts went all over the map in this first week, but I am just taking the journey.  Once I got over trying to define the type of road I was on those first couple of days, it just became a natural part of the day.  Eight days down.  A lifetime to go.  Even if I stop the conscious participation after 37 days or 370 days, BECOMING will never stop.  

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 7: Defying Gravity for real

"I'm through accepting limits, 'cause someone says they're so. Some things I cannot change, but until I try, I'll never know."  ~Elphaba in "Wicked" from the song "Defying Gravity"

Tonight was a blowout of all blowouts for my track record of interpreted performances.  There were co-workers, family members, Deaf audience members in the audience and I did the best possible job I could do. 

We hit every piece that required simultaneous signing and I felt emotionally engaged the entire time.  Sometimes, it is easy to fall out of a show while interpreting.  When I was younger, I was afraid to show some of the emotions I was feeling as I interpreted specific characters. Interpreting is so intense sometimes - other people/character's emotions, experience and language flowing through you.  Tonight, I felt like I struck the right balance between conveying the emotional content and not stealing focus.

I'm happy.  I usually think, "I should have done this differently. This wasn't clear..."  Tonight was not perfect - there is no perfect interpretation.  But I'm pretty sure the people in the audience depending on the interpreting got most of the story and the emotional content, as well.

It was a good night.  I love interpreting theatre.

Today, I am pleased with my level of commitment, my self-discipline in rehearsing this week and today.  I gave it my all and I got an extremely satisfying result.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 6: What It's All About

"Those who have died have never, never left.  The dead have a pact with the living.  They are in the rustling leaves, they are in the woman's breast, they are with us in the home, they are with us in the crowd. The dead have a pact with the living."  ~Birago Diop (known to me as "Breaths" sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock)

I didn't take a lunch again today.  I had back to back meetings, and lots of things to do in between.  I kept thinking, "When can I take my lunch?  I have a project to work on..."  

When I finally left for the day, I was listening to my "Wicked" CD (the show is tomorrow night - wish me luck).  I realized I needed a break from the show - I was hoping to get some inspiration for a translation by listening to something completely different.  I hit the next CD in the changer and it was a mix of music I had put together for a musical interpreting workshop - samples to use.  The song "Breaths", sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock came on.  First of all, my heart was lifted by the beauty of the voices of these brilliantly talented women - not just that they are talented musicians, but they are storytellers, activists, revolutionaries, and trailblazers.  Tears filled my eyes as I had a realization.  

As I listened and drove, I thought about the death that has been in my world and what it all means.  I have lost many people to death -some who have died and some who could not face death at that place and time.  Both losses cut deep.  

What I Know:  This is the work I was meant to do.  I know this.  I have not FORGOTTEN in the way that you totally don't remember having that conversation or if you remembered to turn off the water, but I forget in that I need reminders periodically and I try to remain open to them.  I figure I can learn it the easy way or I can learn it the hard way...I have done both, so I try for easy these days.

When I was a little girl, I remember being fascinated by stories and songs that were about loss, about leaving behind a legacy - they were the ones I always remembered.  I remember living in Europe and going to Dachau when I was 7 or 8 and wanting to remember those people in some way. Wanting to understand why human beings do what they do to each other.

I had never really been around anyone who died - my grandparents died when I was a teenager, but I had never lived near them, so it didn't alter my daily existance.  I didn't know what it was like or what would happen or what I believed about heaven or God or afterlife.

When Roby got infected with HIV, the reality of what I would face hit me hard.  I delved into research - finding out what I was up against seemed like the only option to me (it was 1986).  We met people (men, mostly) who had HIV and AIDS over the years - it was never purposeful - it just happened.  In 1989, I lost my first friend to AIDS.  His name was Dan.  He was one of those quiet souls that just eases your spirit to be around.  I was devastated by his loss even though we were not close.  It was like a giant slap in my face - the wake up call.

Each loss crept closer and closer- an acquaintance, a friend, a good friend, a long time friend...almost as in preparation for what I considered the final act - I couldn't imagine life after Roby.  I won't tell the story here, but the night Roby died, I had gone home because I had contracted a cold and I didn't want to make him sick.  We had no inkling that he would die that night. They called me around 8pm and said, "You need to come, he's asking for you."  I protested, but when I heard their voices, their tone, I raced to his side.  He waited for me.  I was beside him when he died.  

I have been with other friends, as well, and my father, in their last moments.  I have been with people when they find out about their loved one's passing.  I used to be scared to be around death - I imagined terrible things because it was unknown.  Now, I know.  I would not trade a single moment of those experiences - not for anything.  I know that not everyone can do this.  I can.

This is the quality I am most proud of in my life - the thing that I respect the most in myself and others.  I am not afraid. I will stand beside you, even in your last moments.  This is what Life is all about. The truest moments of my life were those moments.  All the rest is filler**.

That's what I thought about today when I was driving home.

**When I re-read this, that comment sounded harsher than I mean it to...I just mean that the work we do, the cars we drive, our house, our labels, our day to day existance is nothing compared to Showing Up.  Not just in death - showing up for those moments when people in our lives really need us - birthing babies, graduating from college/high school, first day of school, weddings, funerals, bad breakups.  Those are the things that matter.  And showing up for someone's last moments is one of those things.  


Blog Widget by LinkWithin