Monday, June 29, 2009


My husband and I have another one of our "fights" this morning. I don't know if you can call them fights exactly. They don't have the energy of angry outbursts and yelling. Maybe they are discussions, or disagreements? Maybe they are simply gaps between us, divides forced open by our disappointment, anger and resentment toward each other.

More and more, I am teaching myself to just breathe and step back from the conflict. To try to be loving and compassionate and keep my heart open to his needs and his pain. Otherwise, we are just focused on our own selves, each locked in a battle to get our own needs met. We both lose.

His last words to me were "You're not sorry enough" when I tried for the countless time to apologize for my mistakes in our marriage. I really don't know where to go with that. He's judging my remorse and rejecting my remorse and indicting me all at once. I understand why he is so protective of himself; I understand that my actions helped to put him in the place he's in today. I just think that there's not much I can do to move him from that walled off place. He has to move himself.

Until then, I wait. I breathe. I focus on all the good parts and count my blessings.

I often think that if I left my husband the loneliness and terror would be unbearable. But, honestly, I am lonely already, every single day. Nothing is lonelier than loving someone who is afraid to love you back, and offering yourself up to someone who sometimes rejects you.

I am already raw today, lonely and sad at the loss of my yoga sangha, an amazing group of people that I fit into. I wish my husband could give me and himself a break, and allow us to comfort each other.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Demons Can Be a Positive Influence

If you're a writer, I think you'll particularly enjoy Gilbert's thoughts on the creative process and living a life that includes art.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Coming to Completion

It's the last weekend of my yoga teacher training program. Hurray! Tomorrow's the last day, and while I am deeply sad to be losing the companionship of the fantastic group I've trained with, I am overjoyed to be finishing this responsibility.

The day was intense. Two hours of strenuous asana practice, and then the final exam. Six essay questions, three hours of straight writing, all while seated on the floor, of course.

Looking back through my notes, I reflected on all the events of the past eleven months. Sure enough, about halfway through the program, all hell broke loose in my life, just like our instructor promised it would. But I came through it all, a day, a week, a month at a time.

And now I am here. On the cusp of summer, and vacation, and long, lazy days with my beloved family. With a growing career, a regular writing habit, and a mood that continues to balance more towards the positive, the loving, and the hopeful than anything else.

Oh, and in a matter of weeks, I'll officially be a Registered Yoga Teacher!!

Namaste to you all, and my love for reading about my life. Take care and be well.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stella Rosa Red

I cancelled my therapy appointment for this week. Instead, I spent the money on a case of my new favorite wine.

What does this say about me?

That I prefer a dip into oblivion to endless talking that doesn't seem to change anything? At least it's sweet and fruity and cheerful - perfect for the long, light days of new summer, with its promises of sprinklers and swimming, vacations and golden warm skin, late nights and blazing stars.

I'm having a lot of trouble with this never-ending therapy process and trying to reconcile it with Buddhist views that are so comforting in their suggestion to just accept the bleakness for what it is. (The joys as well.)

A Song I'm Stuck With...

This song is sweet and catchy; the video is utterly different, its own movie, a complete and engaging narrative without words. The first time I saw it, I was so struck by its hopeful futility and great passion, that it felt as if it pierced my heart. I cried...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Telling my parents

I told my parents yesterday about my plans to be a kidney donor.

They took it rather well, actually. Just stared off into the distance in mutual silence, a flat look of dismay on their faces as they churned it around in their thoughts.

When this plan sparked within me in March, I knew I wasn't ready to deal with my parents yet. While loving and supportive, they can be opinionated. I just figured there was no point in engaging them until I knew that it was even possible. Why upset them if I wasn't a match or if I wasn't qualified?

But I'm about 75% through the approval process and so far, all signals are go. I also still find myself wanting to do this, seriously thinking that I can indeed carry all the way through with it.

My husband, of course, I told from that first moment I thought of it. I cannot do this without his support. My daughters also. I've involved them all along, explaining and answering their questions. They know K and I think they understand why I would want to help her.

I'll make sure they're truly prepared before the surgery and hospital stay, just as I am now preparing myself. The deepest fear I have is that something would go horribly and inexplicably wrong in surgery. But I am a woman of deep faith in good outcomes, and leaving my daughters behind in any fashion, especially by death, is simply not an option. Simply not going to happen, and that's that.

I hadn't had a good moment to talk with my parents - they're busy, I'm busy, and they're not always the best listeners. But yesterday, enjoying the summer breezes at the park, the conversation turned to health care issues and it would have been almost deceptive not to bring this up.

Ultimately, my father said, "Well, it's your life. You get to make your decisions." Which is very nice of him.

I have good reasons for wanting to embrace a relentlessly positive, life-affirming, deeply transformative experience. It is my rebirth, and K's as well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Own Essay Soon to Come

I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately - why it works, why it doesn't. I noticed this morning that Sandra Tsing Loh is getting divorced. She has an essay out about her observations. I'm still mulling over my own.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Today I feel
Like writing something
Tucked away
into a corner
Of the past, where

Only you
Will see it

If by you, I mean
That other most
intimate to me

Swept by the broom of time
Into the hidden corner of
These cobwebbed words

May 7, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"I hid under your porch because I love you."

My family thoroughly enjoyed seeing UP last week. Dug, the golden retriever, was an unbelievably appealing and humorous character. He captures the essence of goofy, enthusiastic, sloppy, live-in-the-moment dogginess.

Here's my family's new favorite quote. Imagine it delivered in a breathlessly excited doggie voice. We're punting it around like a football.

"Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, 'I forgot to gather acorns for the winter and now I am dead.' Ha ha! It's funny because the squirrel gets dead."-Dug the dog.

Apparently, the dogs weren't that keen on squirrels!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Lovely Lunch

In case you've been wondering, my intention of kidney donation is moving along nicely. I estimate that I am about 60% through the approval process. I had another screening exam today, and I am still feeling so blessed to be part of this experience.

One thing I'll know for sure - that my health is excellent! They are going over me with a fine-toothed comb, well, practically. You can't donate unless you are absolutely problem-free.

One small hiccup is solved. During the last few months, my recipient and I have had lots of conversations and emails. I've been keeping her in the loop about everything; otherwise, due to medical privacy laws, she wouldn't know anything about the approval process progress. They can't tell her about me, but I can. So now, instead of an "altruistic donation" to a stranger - which tended to give everyone an extra hesitation and make them question me intently - "Are you SURE you want to do this?"- I can honestly say that I'm donating to a friend.

K is an amazing, wonderful person, so dynamic and positive. We could not be a better match in our experiences, and spiritual outlooks and beliefs. She's just warm and funny and relentlessly optimistic. When she went on dialysis in January, she decided that she would have her transplant by summer. That's just incredibly soon for a transplant waiting list. And look - here I am. She set her intention, and I showed up from nowhere. It's an honor to be part of.

Today, my husband and I had lunch with K and her boyfriend, our first face-to-face time since I made the initial offer. We continue to hit it off . I see really good things coming from this, most importantly that she is freed from dialysis and returned to a vibrant, independent, healthy life.

And, who knows? Maybe an article or book, or we can do some advocacy work on behalf of other transplant patients.

Monday, June 8, 2009

On writing and art (auctions)

I don't really have much of anything today.

Or rather I have little bits of lots of things, and not much time to develop anything properly.

I've come across lots of quotes lately that I'd like to post here, but I don't have them to hand right this second, and I'm too lazy to get up. I could give you another song I like - I've always got loads of those - but then again I'm a writer, not a DJ.

I could tell you that I'm rather proud of myself for finishing up this week's assignment for the nonfiction class I'm taking. It's an online class, and I've been completely lax about it. Honestly, I have to spend most of the time I can scrape out of my other daily responsibilities and allocate to writing on writing for my work. So I don't get to do nearly enough fiction, or poetry or just journaling or even email. But I knocked out the pages of article, focusing on incorporating quotes, and I even made it factual although for the class we're allowed to just make it up. (But then wouldn't it be fiction instead??)

I love the teacher. His lessons are clear and well worth the money even if I never did the exercises and got feedback. But his feedback is insightful and sharp. What I love the most is that he sincerely really likes my writing. So each exercise earns me wonderful words of validation as a writer. It's completely worth the cash right there. Last week he told me my article was the best nonfiction he'd seen in years.

Now maybe he's just a talented snake-oil salesman, but he comes across as utterly sincere. It's very validating.

(Not that we need to be validated externally. As Pema Chodron would remind us, that's just another attempt to grab onto solid ground where none exists. Someday I hope to convince my ego of that as well.)

I wrote about the origins of the successful art auction fundraiser that took up most of my weekend. It's a big chunk of annual income for one of the nonprofits I work for, and I've helped to organize it for the last four years. And I do mean "helped" as in I don't do it all by myself. Rather there are like 100 people involved in various capacities and about 20 people on the main committes all with differing opinions of what should be done and how. It makes for challenging event planning, but it always comes off fine in the end.

And so it was yesterday. 65 pieces of art, 200 attendees, 2 1/2 hours of silent bidding, and wine. Did I mention the wine? The highlight of yesterday for me was sampling a deliciously light and fruity Italian red that sipped almost like a white merlot. As a reward for my efforts, I got to have a spare bottle and bring it home with me.

I'm saving it for a moment where I need to relax and unwind.

And when I have time to indulge in that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I Love You, Daughter

This one's for my oldest girl, who lately seems to hate me with a passion more sticky than the peanut-butter cup ice cream that she can't get enough of.

She also adores HM, which I love to watch along with her. (Hey, the jokes are funny. That crazy Jackson!) J sings a mean cover of this song, complete with her own dance moves.

I'm posting this as an apology for all the things I do wrong simply by being me, and to tell her that I love her more than anyone else in the world (except her sister)!

Breathe Out, So I Can Breathe You In, Hold You In

is one of my favorite lines from any song.

And today I indulged in one of my favorite activities: blasting down the freeway, listening to a series of rockin' songs.

Every now and then, I have to drive somewhere and everything is simply perfect. Like today. The traffic was flowing fast, the sky was gorgeous, blue studded with meaningfully grey clouds, clouds that promise eternity and longing and completion and peace, and the radio gave me a string of songs that fit together one after the other in a seamless flow of sound and word.

I heard Nirvana, Airborne Toxic Event, Kings of Leon, and Foo Fighters - twice. Everlong seemed just right for the infinite sky... and my mood. I even flipped open my phone camera and shot the scene through my windshield, wanting to hold on to the wildness, the motion and the promise of the moment that would never end.

(I could only embed the acoustic version, but you can enjoy the song in its full glory here.)

Being a Mother

is a constant effort at nagging, reminding, cajoling and consequencing other people into doing things that are primarily for their own good. Things I don't even care about except for the beneficial impact on them.

It's a lot of work.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Passing Along the Plea

Salt Publishing is badly in need of buyers for their poetry books. And I mean now!
Who are Salt Publishing, you ask? Well, I did too. But I'm a reader of a lot of UK based writing blogs, and they're generally fans of Salt.

In fact, I particularly like David McKelvie's take on the situation. If you haven't visited stars sliding before, I think you'll like it.


The red-handled broom with blue bristles leans at a jaunty angle against the shop wall. It is pleased with itself for sweeping up so much hair.

It's Not Poetry, Is It?

I wanted poetry, but none is flying from my keys right this moment. I considered an excerpt from a soothing Buddhist tract. Then I remembered a day more than a year ago, sitting amongst the golden warm woods of my favorite cafe. My notebook was open, the tea was steaming from its white paper cup. This song swept across the fragrant air and I told myself to remember the words.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why the Standard of Excellence is Higher in Writing than in Life

"Books say: she did this because. Life says: she did this.
Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't."
- Julian Barnes

Monday, June 1, 2009


through the window, the bay is a miracle, the ocean flat and green like a foreign field. when i spy the boat, my eye recognizes the frame of reference. suddenly, perspective snaps into place. the watery expanse is even more vast than i had imagined.

we skim above it, cutting through the clouds. despite the press of people, i am alone, suspended, fully alive, one with sky, sea and time. the exhiliration sweeps everything from its path. were i to die now, the plane suddenly plunging into that green abyss, it would be nothing short of perfection, a reunification with everything that already rushes within me. there is no fear, only joy at the tremendous, aching beauty.

whatever comes next will be the perfect thing that is meant to happen. this moment is the acceptance of peace.