Posts Tagged ‘first things first’

There’s No There There

August 24, 2015

And it was lovely.

I received a cute text message from my ex-boyfriend this morning while I was making breakfast and plotting my moves for the day–what to pack, laundry to do, marketing that I needed to do before leaving to come back up here to Glen Ellen–I’m just in, 27 minutes ago I landed–and I had no emotional reaction.

I saw the text.

I recognized the number.

I saw the photo.

I laughed out loud.

It was a photo of an inside joke we had and that joke might have been one of the sweetest things about our relationship that I can feel now a warmth and fondness for.

It was so nice to realize that.

I cut up an apple and tossed it with cinnamon and nutmeg, and some sea salt, threw it in with the oatmeal on the stove, turned to the electric tea-pot, took the kettle, poured boiling water over the fresh ground coffee and felt my inner emotions.

Nothing.

No fear.

No excitement.

No anxiety.

Nothing.

Wow.

That is so nice.

No animosity!

Just a quiet gratitude for the man, for the message, and for the sweet memory that he sent me, a funny little inside joke that had been a place of resting laughter for both of us even when the break up was sad and hard to do.

It felt nice.

We exchanged a few more texts then he went his way and I went mine and I forgot about it until I was working with a lady bug at the house and we were going over some instructions on how to write inventory.

I pulled my notebook out of the stack and flipped open to the pertinent inventory and laughed as I saw my ex-boyfriends name at the top of the list.

I shared my experience with quiet gratitude and showed how I was able to get from that place of resentment to where I am now and that it works, it really works when I do the work.

Live and let live.

Easy does it.

First things first.

There again, an hour later with another lady bug, the same gentle reminder that the solution and the problem have nothing to do with each other and that really I can practice spiritual principles, stay in gratitude, and do the next action in front of me and I will be abundantly taken care of.

Exquisite.

In fact, that’s what this whole weekend was about.

What the last few weekends have been about.

Yesterday I got a text from a friend in regards to our busy ass schedules and how we had been trying to make plans to see each other before Burning Man and how it was obviously not going to happen, she was till packing and I hadn’t located my bins nor even gotten to the point in my day when I knew where or how I was going to buy said bins, and nope, not going to see you before the burn.

I mean, we live in the same town.

But.

There was no way to make it work so we made a date to go dancing on the playa–she and I and another friend had gone to the NIMBY Steampunk Masquerade Ball that the Airpusher Collective played at where the Flaming Lotus Girls Serpent Mother was fired up (yeah, I know, you haven’t been to Burning Man and have no idea what I just wrote) and the same group is doing a repeat of the ball on playa.

So.

I will be going to that.

And when we commiserated about work, and doing the deal, and all the stuff, when I texted her what I had to get accomplished before I leave for Burning Man, it left me breathless.

I mean.

Really?

How the hell am I going to get all this done and not lose my mind?

But then I read, again, “first things first,” and knew I would get it done by focusing exactly on the task in front of me and not living in the next hour or the evening or tomorrow.

I just stayed focused on what exactly was in front of me.

Then I wrote three pages long hand, did my laundry, made my bed, did the deal, knelt down asked for some stuff, said some thanks, pulled out the bins, started packing them up, slow and methodical.

I went to the grocery store and picked up a few things to just get me through the day and a birthday card and gift for one of the ladies who was coming over to the house.

Back to back to back.

I met with three ladies, did some reading, shared some experience strength and hope, asked in return that they do some things while I was away at work, confirmed our calendars for September–I won’t be able to meet with any of the ladies until after my first week on campus on school.

Then.

I texted my ride to Glen Ellen.

Confirmed a pick up time 20 minutes from the text.

I packed my bags up for Glen Ellen–a coupled days worth of clothes, my laptop, the books and readers and notebooks pertinent for the week and what I have to do for school before I leave.

I then proceeded to finish folding the laundry, take out the trash, and organize my bins.

I packed them more than 3/4s full and was on the last leg of packing when my ride pinged me.

I have perhaps fifteen minutes of packing left to do when I get back to SF on Wednesday.

I got my stuff for Glen Ellen, locked up the house, hopped in my friend’s car and we headed over the bridge.

A pit stop in Mill Valley for an hour of doing the deal, then a drive through the rolling golden lit hills of Sonoma to Glen Ellen.

We grabbed a bite to eat and figured out gas costs that I need to reimburse him for–he’s basically done the trip there and back and there and back and there and back for me, since I didn’t rent a car this time.

Then a dash up the road and I am here at 9:30 p.m.

It’s 10:15 p.m.

I am almost done with my blog, I’ll make a cup of tea, chill for the rest of the evening and get a good night’s sleep before work in the morning.

I couldn’t see how the day would play out when I was awoke with the bang and thump of my housemates little girl and her friend playing, I couldn’t have imagined such a smooth and seamless transition from here to there.

Nor that I would have such moments and pockets of grace and gratitude for the experience of just living my life to its fullest.

One day at a time.

One hour at a time.

One moment at a time.

Easy does it and there it is.

I’m here.

All the things are happening.

And I got done everything that I needed to do this weekend to be prepared for my trip to the playa.

Tomorrow and Tuesday I will write my two papers.

Then I am good to go.

I get to show up for work tomorrow happy and rested for the boys.

I get to continue to live this full, happy, joyous, free life.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

I mean.

Have you seen my hair?

Panic At The Disco

August 9, 2015

It’s a party.

It’s a freak out party.

Sorry folks, no RSVP seating here, no VIP lounge, nope, ain’t got that for you, ain’t got the time, ain’t got the velvet ropes to hang out and seclude myself from you.

I am right here.

Right now.

I will say this much about the experience, thus far, having not actually attended a single class, graduate school is a lot of fucking work.

I spent a lot of time today doing the next right action.

Scratch that.

I don’t like “right” or “wrong” for terminology.

I spent a lot of time doing the next action in front of me, first things first.

I did not want to get out of bed.

Did not.

Did not.

Did it anyway.

I set my alarm, I got up, I did lay for a moment, less than a minute and ponder what it would look like if I just stayed in bed, threw in the towel, and said, “fuck it.”

Then I got up.

I swung my legs out of the bed and went to the bathroom and got my day started.

I took care to do the things that needed to do and I did my routine, thank you little routine for helping me get settled into my day, a day that has been just as busy, if not more, than a day I go into work.

I suspect that this is the new modus operandi for my life.

When I have a day off I will actually work harder than when I am at work.

I will think harder, I will write harder, I will read more–although if given the leeway I will do my best to read whenever I can at work.  It’s challenging to do so, there is always something happening at work, but I will give it the old college try, haha.

Pun truly fucking intended.

I striped my bed down and put fresh sheets and pillowcases on it, I won’t be sleeping in my bed much for the next month, but damn it man, I will have fresh linens when I do enjoy the comfort of my own bed.

“You know, some people live like this, they be all jet set and everything,” my housemate smiled at me with a sally in her voice when I expresses to her that I would be much gone for the next few weeks, the next month basically (and what did I tell you, I got asked out by a cute guy just a bit back, I am on a few online sites, for a bicycle ride, sorry dude, unless you’re going to have that bicycle at Burning Man I’m not available for a month, maybe even five weeks.  Am I worth waiting for, hell yes, but you know, that’s my opinion) with a quick pop in and out next Sunday and perhaps a stay the weekend following.

But yeah.

I will be gone from the 9th, tomorrow until the 8th of September (maybe the 7th or as late as the 9th).

The retreat for school is the 9th through the 16th.

It last longer that afternoon than I had realized and I am to come back to San Francisco only to hop out to the airport and rent a car so that I may spend the next two weeks working in Sonoma with the family.

I will come back to San Francisco for the school orientation on Tuesday August 25th, but only for the day, and go right back to Glenn Ellen to work until the 28th.

I may come back for the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd.

But.

I may very well stay in Sonoma having received and invitation from a friend to stay at his place in Sonoma if I need an escape hatch.

I said I would take him up on it and I’m going to play it by ear while I’m working with the family that week, it might be really beneficial for me to have my own quiet space for my down time.

Which won’t be down time, really, I’ll be reading and writing.

Just like I did today.

Almost all day today.

With a few exceptions.

That being getting right with God, reading my daily readers, writing my morning pages, and hopping on the N-Judah to head up to the Inner Sunset to sit in a folding chair and share about how freaked out I am about graduate school.

Problems in areas I never had areas before.

I went to bed weeping last night with the fear of what was happening and the dawning realization that I was woefully unprepared as I realized I may have not bought all the correct books for my classes.

That I was already behind on the reading and only to be more behind as I didn’t have the right reader or text books.

And I was correct in the assumption that I had mistakenly purchased the wrong materials.

Fortunately I did not go to bed last night without firing off a quick e-mail to the assistant to the professor who made some good suggestions and yes, I will be a bit behind on the reading, but not as bad as if I just showed up with what I thought I was supposed to read.

The good news?

I had bought three out of the five courses correctly.

And, thank God, I mean, really, the course that I had done 9 hours of reading for already, was actually a course I am in.

Thank you jeebus.

Fuck.

The two other readers and books that I have that aren’t for my cohort I will bring with me and see if anyone in the other cohort wants to buy the material from me.

I bet I make somebody’s day when I share that I have the books for them to buy.

As for the ones I don’t have.

Well.

I did order them online and I will get them and I will catch up.

Or I won’t.

But I took the action.

And.

I read everything I needed to otherwise listed on the syllabus for the first class that was online, including listening to an hour-long podcast of a lecture for the class and yes, that’s right.

I wrote my first paper for grad school.

I had joked previously that I had so much reading prior to the actual classes happening that I wouldn’t be surprised if I had a paper to write as well.

Hahahaha.

Joke’s on me.

There was an update paper listed in the class for which I don’t have the books for.

The material I needed to write the paper was online though and I read it and more and then, yup, after I ate dinner (I did my self-care today too people, let me not discount that, a little grocery shopping and some cooking for the next few days as well as setting aside the last of my Burning Man food prep, I am so not going to have time to do it and I am so grateful I have been slowly amassing all my needs, I’m pretty much done except for the packing it up part and some tinkering with my playa bike) I wrote my first graduate school paper.

At four pages not too big an assignment.

1,100 or so words, a four page reflection paper on the online reading I did for the course in preparation for the first class on Monday.

I have to express right now two things.

One.

How grateful I am to this blog.

The steady, persistent writing and outflow of words that I have done in this little online space for the last five and a half years is a practice that has so prepared me for graduate school writing, I cannot even express how happy I am for having this habit.

Two.

Which is really apart of the above expression.

I’m a hella fast writer.

I know the QWERTY board really well, I’ve been writing on my laptop, this one or my old one for so long now that I can kick out a four page paper in about an hour.

I e-mailed it off to my professor.

I proofed it, spell checked it, read it out loud.

And if it were pertinent, I might have included it here, but it’s not, so suffice to say, I did it.

Which means that I have written three times today.

Read, although not completely through to the end of each piece, five different books, listened to one hour-long lecture, and read, I think, five articles.

For a grand total of over six hours of reading.

Yeah.

Working harder on my day off is now the new normal.

I can see that.

And I’m not as panicked.

And I took good self-care.

I cooked, I did some laundry, I sat outside and enjoyed my meals in the sun–when it finally broke through the fog, I did my own personal writing and got my get right with God for an hour, plus, and here I’m just going to pat myself on the back, I even went for a walk at sunset and caught the last kiss of light on the face of the ocean.

To come back here and read another hour and half before sitting down to do this.

Write my daily blog post.

I may not continue to do this, writing of said blog, but for right now, I think I need the pressure valve of doing so.

It’s a relief to dump my thoughts out and to acknowledge not really to you, darling reader, but to myself, the amount of work that I did and that it really all comes down to sitting down and doing the work.

And today I did the work.

And tomorrow I’ll get to do the work again.

And so on.

Ad infinitum.

The Student Life

July 27, 2015

It officially began today.

I sat down with my course readers and syllabi.

I outlined the reading that needed to be done before I head to the retreat in Petaluma–two weeks from today.

TWO!

Holy Mother of God.

Not to take this all so god damn seriously, but wow, how did the time go by so fast?

Don’t I have any summer vacation left?

I do, I think.

But I don’t believe it’s going to be the going out-of-town camping trip that I had discussed with my friend.

Where for art thou, friend?

I forget that people need space and that no response, well, it is a response, so keep the focus tight, like on me, and what can I do today, just today for self-care.

What indeed.

Well.

As it turns out, and I had forgotten, it’s been a few years since I’ve been in school, oh, like um, 13 I think, that having something to do in regards to my academic career has a direct and distinct correlation to how clean my space is.

Like hey.

Look at that.

My place is sparkling.

I striped the bed, laundered the sheets, did a load of laundry, scrubbed the toilet and bathroom sink, scrubbed the stove top, fuck, I even wiped out the fridge, dusted the bookshelves, swept, vacuumed, and swiffer’ed the floors (yeah, I know Swiffer is not a verb, but what else do you call that thing?).

My place is shiny and bright.

I mean, let’s be frank, it’s not like it was a disaster zone, but you know, dusty and in need of a sweep, but once I got going I knew I was in it and might as well do the whole shebang.

It’s a  way to distract myself from what is in front of me.

Stacks.

And stacks.

And.

Stacks of reading.

I also hopped in the shower, ate nice meals, two of which were outside on the back porch, the fog blew off and the sun made an appearance today.

Which was both heartening and upsetting as I really wanted to be outside doing something other than reading my graduate school readers, but, hey, I ate outside and my stewed chicken in tomato sauce with garlic and onions and yellow peppers over turmeric spiced brown rice and perfect ripe avocado, well, it was a delight to eat al fresco and sit in the sun.

Contemplating the reading to come.

But.

Before that.

Two ladies came through to do the deal and then a phone call check in with my person who suggested that I focus on my self-care and having fun rather than worry about my friend.

Although I got to have my sad feelings I didn’t let the day slip by being morose, I kept turning the focus back on what was in front of me.

And when there was nothing else to clean and lunch had been had and I even snuck in a half hour of sitting in the sun with a W magazine and a quick flip through the latest Vanity Fair, I came to the conclusion.

It was time.

I don’t foresee doing a lot of pleasure reading for a while, so I’m glad I gave myself to do so yesterday and really enjoy the hell out of the books I read and the excerpt of the book I read from a friend who has been working on a collection of shorts that is really going to be a fantastic novel and I’m going to say, “I knew him when,” and “I read that before you did,” and “I always knew he was a great writer, you should read his holiday letters.”

Which you should.

They are marvels of Midwestern Americana with a kind of wry wit that is at time dark, but always lovingly painted and I find myself transported to the scene at their home when ever I get them.

Which is the point of good writing–being transported to the picture that the writer wants you to see.

He does it.

Really good.

Anyway.

I’m not going to get that kind of reading for a while.

I may give myself a set half hour or so once in a while to have that pleasure reading, but I can see that I have a lot of work ahead of me.

It is going to be a long, arduous, committed and continual moving through material, processing it, understanding it, writing about it.

Fuck.

I mean.

I have papers due before I go to Burning Man.

BEFORE!

I just about peed my pants when I saw that on one of the syllabi.

And not just a paper, multiply papers.

I mean, I will have submitted work on readings I have done before actually going through the orientation at the school.

Good gravy man.

As much as I wish I was camping along the North Rim of The Grand Canyon, I am actually grateful that my employers changed up their vacation plans and I ended up having to work tomorrow and Tuesday.

It meant cancelling  a trip I was very much looking forward to, but it got my ass down to the Copy Central shop to pick up my readers and get going on the work.

I read 50 pages today for my Human Development class.

It took me three hours.

Fuck.

Three hours.

I can read more than a page a minute, that means 60 pages in an hour.

Then I realized a couple of things–one, this ain’t no pleasure reading, this is serious reading and though the concepts are not completely foreign, they are dense; next, I’m reading to retain, not to enjoy, which meant going back over a few things and re-reading them to make sure I understood what I was reading, plus underlining, highlighting, and taking pertinent notes in the margins of the reader.

Lastly, and not to be taken lightly, I realized the 50 pages were actually closer to 100 pages.

The reader is larger than a book, thus the pages often had two pages of a text or article printed on each page.

Reading one page was in essence reading two.

So that makes my speed of reading a little better, 100 pages in three hours is a much better ratio and caused me to feel some relief.

And.

I finished the assigned reading for the retreat, in the reader (I still have the first three chapters of an accompanying text-book to read as well, but it hasn’t been delivered to the house yet) for my class on Human Development.

I have time.

In fact, I think I may be able to actually read all the required reading twice.

I’ve got some highlighters to invest in and some time to set aside, but I can see it happening.

I also knew to take some care and take a break, to eat dinner while not reading, to sit out in the late afternoon sun and enjoy my meal.

Then I finished that last hour of reading and went for a walk down on the beach to catch the sunset before coming back here to blog.

I will strike a balance, the work will get done.

And how grateful am I to know so well.

Easy does it.

One day at a time.

First things, first.

And breathe.

Don’t forget to breathe.

It’s all going to be alright.

It already is.


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