Monday, April 26, 2010

How It's Working - The Kaizen Way

Remember The Kaizen Way?

Here's how it's working for me right now:

First, I've started lifting weights to get rid of some of the flab on my arms. My sister suggested this, and though I can't see improvement right now, she assures me that I will. A few nights, before going downstairs to do this, I've thought about adding something. Yoga, lunges, something simple. Immediately I didn't want to do anything so for now I'm sticking with the fifteen reps of four different lifts.

Secondly, I've been meditating twenty minutes a day. I started at ten minutes, moved to eleven, then to twenty. Again, several nights I haven't been ready to stop when the timer went off, but every time I think of adding ten minutes, I balk at going downstairs. So twenty minutes it is.

Lastly, I want to explore where my two interests, writing and photography, intersect. I thought about going back to school. But I found all kinds of excuses why this wouldn't work: no time, no money, finding a parking space at the university, going out at night, blah blah blah. But three days felt manageable, so I'm going to take a weekend workshop on facilitating workshops. Now that sounds strange, I guess, but the facilitator has assured me that we will explore my desire to combine my two interests into something that would make a good workshop, and that by the end of the weekend I will know how to conduct it effectively.

Going to this workshop pushes me. I do not know the woman, I don't know anyone who has taken her classes. But something about her has seemed intriguing to me since I first ran across her name. I was doing a search using the words "photography+writing+workshop" and she came up. And her book, God Is At Eye Level, is an example of the type of thing I'd like to do.

I'm staying at the level where "fight or flight" doesn't set in, and it's working.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Laugh if you want to

Monday our internet connection went down. Today, my husband opened an email from our daughter, clicked on the link, wondered why she was sending him information on Viagra. An hour later he tried to send me two emails and they never came through. He's on the phone now with tech support.

Hmmm. Mercury. And sure enough, here's what I read:

At 04:06 UT (Universal Time) Sunday, April 18th, 2010, Mercury the wise communicator—and universal trickster—turns retrograde at 12°37' Taurus, in the sign of the Bull, sending communications, travel, appointments, mail and the www into a general snarlup!

As long as we don't communicate with anyone, travel anywhere, make any appointments, or use our computers expecting them to work until May 11, we'll be fine. Jeez. And yes, I know the picture is of the moon, but my camera lens doesn't reach to Mercury.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One little girl's determination

Today I was in a craft store, and there was a mother with four children around the age of four or five. They were following her; all of them had their backs to me. In the midst of them, was a little girl with pink crocs, straight blond hair swinging side to side as she walked with her crutches. Maybe muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, but something had rendered her legs weak and unable to support her. I never saw her face, but in her movements there was determination and pride; she was keeping up with the crowd.

Something about that little girl has touched me deeply. I know that children are cruel, and worry that she will be ridiculed and hurt because of her disability.

I thought that maybe a part of every child's education should include monthly "disability days" where one-half of the class becomes blind or deaf or disabled for a day and the other half helps them make it through. Where parents of children who have committed suicide because they couldn't live with the jaunts and judgment of other children another day come and speak of their pain and loss. Where young people who have succeeded in spite of their setbacks and disabilities come and speak.

We need to use every tool at our disposal to develop compassionate children who will become accepting and caring and nurturing and non-judgmental. Who will reach out to those who are different instead of tease them. Who will seek out children who have been hurt and abused instead of shunning them.

My heart aches for the children, like that little girl, who are trying to keep up in spite of what life handed them. I hope and pray that the world will be kind to them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Since finishing up with the exhibit a week ago Friday, I've been resting. Resting my brain, that is. I haven't posted in over a week; I spent one whole day of the weekend reading; and except for editing a story I haven't done any writing either.

Only in recent years have I realized that it's important to "lie fallow" for a short period of time in order to be productive. I have to let my mind rest (my body usually seems ready to go!) and let new ideas percolate. I need to assess the last big thing I did, consider the successes and think about what needed improvement.

Yesterday, my partner in the exhibit asked if I wanted to show some of my work at a local community center in May. The old me would have said yes and then felt the stress of pulling it together. The new me said no.

In my down time, I've discovered some things about myself that wouldn't have come up if I'd moved to the next big thing. I've read a couple of good books, made notes of ideas for the writing I'll undertake. I've increased my nightly meditation time and added a little exercise to my day. (Have you ever noticed that meditation is only one letter different from medication??!)

I don't feel antsy yet, so a few more days of quiet are in order. I'm wondering how you build up muscles for the things you undertake or face in your life.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Exhibit

After all the anticipation, the reception for the exhibit "Picturing Moore Square" was Friday night. The gallery was absolutely stunning. My husband had hung the photographs so that they appeared to be suspended in air. He had removed all the superfluous lighting, and arranged the remaining lights so that the photographs were featured perfectly. My friend Trisha made at least five different kinds of desserts, and decorated the table with little pieces of chocolate and sunflower cutouts. A church friend set up the AV equipment so that we had our video with head phones and music. Two people brought flower arrangements. My daughter Jean was able to come, bringing the most beautiful guest book.

In addition to all of that, the husband of my partner in the exhibit made one of his special homemade dark beers and pumped it from a keg.

At least 150 people came to the event. And this is what really made my heart sing, for without them, it would have just been a beautiful room. Beautiful but empty.

I don't know the last time I felt that exhilarated about the way something came together. It was a magic night, and I did it. That is, I did it with a little help from my friends and family.