Friday, June 18, 2004

I was really grumpy this morning, fighting with my husband and stepson over nothing. Why? I don't know. Maybe it was in the air? Maybe everybody is grumpy like Kat and I? Those were my thoughts as I drove to work. I forced myself to ignore the light, fluffy clouds in the sky and the bright green leaves on the trees. Here, on Long Island, I often see people with grumpy, stern scowls on their faces (as I surely was wearing) and thought to my non-grumpy self that they should just get over it and notice all the beauty around them. Well, today I would have none of it. But just remembering how that self would have thought about how I was acting now put a small crack in my grumpiness. I walked from the garage to my work entrance, grumbling that I had to climb steps and then saw several pigeons cooing and walking pigeon walk. They were so beautiful. I guess I smiled in spite of myself and I looked beyond the pigeons where a woman was walking towards the entrance from another direction. She smiled at me like I was a long lost friend. Her face was familiar but I had never spoken to her. This gentle woman held the door for me and insisted I enter first, beaming all the while. I chose to use the steps to get some well-deserved (in my mind) coffee and a cranberry muffin. I looked over my shoulder and the woman was still looking at me and smiling so openly and lovingly while she waited for the elevator. As I climbed the stairs I started to cry, the tears washing the irritation and grouchiness away. I thought to myself what a wonderful thing to see a bodhisattva today.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

From 1999

I was just rereading some of my old journals. Very interesting actually. Here is a poem I wrote on Saturday March 13th 1999:

Poet's Question

What do you think
When you read these words
I place on this page
Who am I asking
You, the love of my life
Or the stranger
Finding these words
Sometime after my death

Do you find them moving
Do you see my heart
As it opens briefly
And quickly closes again
Hiding in rhythm and sound

What do you think
Whoever you are
Or maybe I should ask
What do I think
Wherever I am
Whenever I am
Do these words show my heart
Can I open it
For you to see
Love of my life
Everything of me

Thai dinner

Three friends from work took me out to dinner tonight to a Thai restaurant for a belated birthday celebration. It was really nice of them. I had a lovely tofu salad and then basil vegetables. One of my friends brought a nice bottle of white wine with a delicate sparkle (the restaurant doesn't have a liquor license). We topped it off with honey fried bananas. Delicious!

I enjoyed the dinner a lot but I have to admit that I feel slightly uncomfortable when people do nice things like that for me. I would have been much happier if we were just going for no occasion or for one of their birthdays. I have trouble accepting/receiving.

I also feel a trifle off balance. We have had such a busy few weeks. I really needs some peace and quiet to unwind.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

My face

I have a problem with body image. I was an overweight child and have been overweight for most of my 40 years. Not extremely overweight. Just plump, or chubby. Any way you call it, whether you're trying to make it sound good (pleasantly plump) or bad (butterball, one of my dad's nicknames for me) - it still sounds bad. Because of my poor body image, I tend to avoid mirrors. I don't have a mirror in the bedroom, I just never got around to getting one. I put on my makeup in the morning using the mirror of my compact. While putting on my makeup one morning, I noticed that I really like how I look in the compact. I realized I have nice eyes and lips. My nose isn't bad. I realized I am pretty and I feel pretty when I see part of myself in the small, round mirror. So why don't I like the whole picture, the whole face? Maybe it has more to do with how I feel about myself than how I actually look? Improving my body image is a mountain I will someday climb but I think first I will work on the small staircase of improving my poor face image one round mirrored step at a time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Birthday aftermath

I am so tired!

Yesterday was an all day scientific symposium in honor of my supervisor. His birthday was a couple of weeks ago but this was the best time to get all the speakers together and have a large enough lecture hall in the university. I seem to be always thinking about this blog, while I was listening and taking notes on the lectures I also wrote this observation:

The all day symposium for my supervisor was a perfect reflection of his life - at least the one he shows to his professional associates. It started early in the morning, 8:00 am - the speakers had to arrive at 7:30 am. It was filled with science and scientists and every minute was used efficiently.

So beginning with a dinner Sunday night until lunch today, I have been involved in this.

I haven't even had time to think about turning 40. Today I had a physical and check up. Everything was good, low blood pressure and good EKG (I was worried about my high heart rates at the gym). I am still very concerned about my weight. I asked her to check thyroid hormone levels and cholesterol. I feel pretty good but I always feel like I should be doing more, I should have more energy.
Maybe that is more a reflection of my difficulty in being satisfied with my own accomplishments than anything else. But the people around me... My supervisor is 70. He climbs mountains and routinely beats men 30 years younger at tennis. He is very respected in the university and internationally. People came from the Netherlands, England, Israel, and Japan to be at this symposium.

No wonder I feel tired.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sunday Zen

I went to Zen today. My teacher is in Spain but we (three of us) carry on without him. It is harder for me to concentrate, though, when he and his wife (who is my teacher too) aren't there. I didn't push my self very much, I just enjoyed the practice. Several thoughts came to me, like messages, as often happens during meditation. One was that I should be doing this more than once a week. The second is that I didn't sign up for the acting class yet. Looks like I am not pushing myself much at all. Change is tough... and scary. I dug up some inspiration - this poem really affected me the first time I read it and it is still powerful for me.

"Come to the edge."
"We can't. We are afraid."
"Come to the edge."
"We can’t. We will fall."
"Come to the edge."
And they came. And he pushed them.

And they flew.


I will try to exert a little more effort moving towards the edge this week.