Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Birthday musings

Today I am 31. I am no longer 30, but IN my THIRTIES. I was expecting to feel rather hesitant to jump into the 30's but I find I am very at ease about the whole thing.

It's 10pm, and I'm calling my birthday pretty much over. I'm ready to hit the hay, but before I do, I thought I would take a moment and look back at 30. I warn you this is going to be a rambling jumble of randomness, but I'm just writing my thoughts as they come through, unedited.. so here goes..

Am I where I thought I would be?
Did I accomplish what I wanted to?
Have a grown as a person, and acted as a good soul in the universe?
Have I given back as much as I should have?
Did I love as much as I should have?
Did I forgive as much as I should have?
Most importantly, did I learn anything this year?

I think this was the year that I learned a lot about myself. What I want. What I certainly don't want. Whether it was work, or my goals, my dreams, for myself, I now have a clearer picture.

I have also been through a lot with Dave.. got engaged, Davey's kidney issue, Dave starting his own business, my issues at work, my issues with work, my issues with work....

Other happenings
I bashed my f**n car against a tree in my driveway. What a F**n idiot..
I got whiplash, and now I'm seeing a chrio.. whom is awesome by the way.
I've gained an obscene amount of weight because I basically sat on my ass all year.
I dropped my online class because I just have had no motivation for it, which means there's something else afoot I need to attend to, since that is very unlike me to not love school. (my guess is that I'm in the wrong subject matter duh, leelee)
I've driven myself into a fine corner at work.
Dave and I discovered snowshoeing.
I also taught him how to play golf.
We made some of the best wine ever created.
I found out what it was like to be scared in your core that the one you love was sick. It's never easy no matter how many times you go through it.
I went to Baltimore (place I've never been)
read many good books
walked out of a movie (Watchmen OMG.. it was horrendous)
Had a great brunch with great friends
Spent some great time with family
Watched my Mary graduate
Reconnected with old friends
Made new friends from the unlikeliest of circumstances
Had my faith tested severely
Took the "law" into my own hands.
Planned a wedding
De-planned a wedding
Re-planned a wedding
Found many things to laugh at with THO
Many inside jokes
mornings together
lounging in PJs
porch conversations
and the list goes on and on..

Here's what I need to fix..without going into too much detail.

I have to get real about a few things.
I have to be honest with myself on a few things.
I have to let go of a few things.
I have found the simple things that make me happy, however I have let the one or two stressors affect my entire picture.. must keep things separate.
I must let go and trust.. there's no reason NOT to.
and everyone thinks I'm hard on myself. I don't think I'm hard ENOUGH on myself. But if what they say is true, then I shall try hard to be more kind to myself.

Put all together it may seem that have had difficulty, but it's just a mere laundry list of things I need to work on, and remind myself.

SO here's what's ahead.

I will fix several of the issues that I have been dealing with.
I will do more for myself,and hopefully spend more time with my handsome one.
I will work very hard to let go of the obstacles that I create for myself - for most of the issues I think there are in my relationship, or at work, or for myself, I am making mountains out of molehills.
I will get back to my healthy self. Starting in 8 hours as of right now..
I want to try at least one new thing
I want to hang out with my family more. I miss them.
I want to be a better friend to my friends. I have not done so well in keep in touch, or getting together. I miss them all and want to remedy that this year.

As far as Davey goes, I just want to be the best person I can be for him and for me. I want him to be happy.
I want to make him happy.
I want to be the partner he deserves
I want to be the partner I always wanted to be.

I would really like to get involved in some sort of community event or charity thing. I have no idea yet, but there are so many fun events for good causes.

I would really like to focus on my bike this year. And maybe get back into golf.
Snowshoeing is a MAJOR MUST this winter.. right from the get go.. no excuses.. We have really nice snowshoes now, let's use them.

And yes I know I'm a geek, but.. I miss playing chess.

I would really like to get some sort of game night going with Dave. .I don't care if it's freakin Chutes n ladders.. but we need to socialize with other couples once in a while.

Work..[edited by the censors]

Ok, so I have rambled enough. I look forward to the adventure that lies before me.
I cannot wait to see what the next 365 days has in store for me..


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lent week 2 : Attachments.. Buddhism and Merton at war with my mind PART I

This week I have been quite frustrated. I'm not going to lie.. EXTREMELY frustrated. And in thinking about why I am frustrated, how unproductive it is, and how I can remedy this feeling of total annoyance, it brought to mind the concept of attachment. In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths discuss such attachment.

1. The Nature of Suffering (Dukkha):

"This is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering."

2. Suffering's Origin (Samudaya):

"This is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination."

3. Suffering's Cessation (Nirodha):

"This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it."

4. The Way (Mārga) Leading to the Cessation of Suffering:

"This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration."

After meditating on these concepts, it's clear that my frustration is due to attachments. But it's something I already knew. I mean, DUH. Of course I am attached to things, and yes, DUH these attachments are BOUND to frustrate me at some point.. so the question is how am I going to eliminate these frustrations AND attachments?

First let's start with what I'm frustrated with and attached to....
Those who know me well, know that I am ridiculously self-competitive. Everyone always tells me: "Lis, you're too hard on yourself." Very True. I probably am. However, I know my potential, and I get VERY mad at myself when I fail to reach that benchmark.

I KNOW I can do it. It should be easy for me to do it, and yet I fail? Geezus, Leelee shame on you!

I also have very same high bars set for the people I know around me. And when they don't meet what I feel is easy, minor, or common sense, I get frustrated with them. This is where I start to sin. Where is my compassion, patience, and understanding? Oh yes, forgot to tell you, I lack those as well..

I could give you many examples about how friends of mine, or family members drive me absolutely nuts because how can they not clearly see the path they are supposed to take?! How come I could do it, and they can't??!! Can you see the problem.... it's very obvious.
I am trying to project my ideas of what the right path is for someone else!! HOW VAIN and arrogant is that?!!

Merton knows what I mean:

"To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell. Selfishnessis doomed to frustration, centered as it is upon a lie. To live exclusivelyfor myself, I must make all things bend themselves to my willas if I were a god. But this is impossible. Is there any more cogentindication of my creaturehood than the insufficiency of my own will?For I cannot make the universe obey me. I cannot make other peopleconform to my own whims and fancies. I cannot make even my ownbody obey me. When I give it pleasure, it deceives my expectation andmakes me suffer pain. When I give myself what I conceive to be freedom,I deceive myself and find that I am the prisoner of my own blindnessand selfishness and insufficiency." from "No Man is an Island"

My way is not THE way.. everyone is at their own level, with their own goals, potentials, and benchmarks. They carve their own paths in their own ways. Just because I think they should take a left turn, rather than a right, doesn't mean they should or they will.
By trying to force my own opinions on them, I am actually causing another sin for myself by trying to take away their Free Will. I'm not God.. for even God gave us the right to choose our paths.

No wonder I am frustrated! But what does this mean?

Attachment #1:
This means that clearly I am a control freak. I am attached to my control over others. This is the first thing I need to let go. With that, hopefully the first two steps of the Middle Way will come into play:

1. Right View

Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.

2. Right Intention

While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion.

Thomas Merton phrases this rather nicely:

"...In religious terms, this is simply a matter of accepting life, and
everything in life as a gift, and clinging to none of it, as far as you are
able. You give some of it to others, if you can. Yet one should be able to
share things with others without bothering too much about how they
like it, either, or how they accept it. Assume they will accept it, if they
need it. And if they don't need it, why should they accept it? That is
their business. Let me accept what is mine and give them all their share,
and go my way." ~Thomas Merton

Omnes in Christo unum!!

Self-annihilate the ego, attachments, and the will (in this case PATH) that we feel we make for ourselves, and find not emptiness, but your complete self, unified....

Certainly a point to ponder for today.

Floor's open to comments!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lent Day 5

Extremely well said comment,Earl. Christ's Sacrifice is truly the cornerstone of Christianity...but I'm not talking about Christianity in general. Bring it even more specific. What sets Catholics as Catholics specifically within Cristianity? Here's my thought - The Eucharist. To me, that's why I go to a Catholic Church. Something so intimate as being present for the Transubstantiation, and taking the Eucharist...

The Handsome one has been asking me questions about Lent, and why we don't eat meat on Fridays, things like that. I try to explain it to him, but it leaves me as such.. when I explain the reason, as I'm saying it, I'm thinking wait a minute, this must sound so silly to him.. wait.. does this soud still y to me? Or even worse, I don't know the true reason behind it... so it looks like I don't know my own faith and I am a true Cradle Catholic..

Ok people, how do I deal with this one? Floor's open..

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent Day 2

Today is the second day of Lent. After going through the Ash Wendesday Mass, it's now time to decide on a theme, and go with it for the duration of the 40 days.
In talking with a great friend of mine, and discussing my issues with my faith and religion, he suggested that I select the theme of Back to the Roots... get back to the roots of my faith, and see if I can find what I'm looking for there. I thought that was a fabulous idea, so that's what I'm going to do.. Begin at the beginning.

Bereshit, there was nothing...... Perfect- that's exactly where I am at. In the great black nothingness.. but it's everything..rather Buddhist if you think about it.. Ok now what.
What are the fundamentals? What is the most basic of being a Catholic? The cornerstone?

I open the floor up to everyone..

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beautiful sunny day

After the deluge of snow that pounded the state, I'm glad to say we've finally dug out.
Not a lot going on this week. Work is going to be busy. Davey and I hope to get out and do more snowshoeing. He's getting ready for his up-coming flyshows - 6 more to go until the season is over.

AND NOW, my favorite Holiday... yes, folks, it's that time again.. yes, it's Lent..

Yes I know that's not a holiday, but to me it is. To me it's the perfect season of inner reflection, deep soul searching, and the time to ask those profound questions I have been putting of.

So, how am I doing as a person? a Catholic person? a human being in the universe in general?
How am I doing as far as my relationship goes? Am I being a good girlfriend, am I where I need to be to be a good wife?

.. and on and on..

Usually I have a theme, picking a virtue, or some such topic...

So perhaps you will catch me blathering on on this blog, trying to work through..

I SHOULD do the Spiritual Exercises, but I'm not feeling all that Jesuit-y these days..

Unless someone out there has a topic for me.. (Jean, I already know what you're going to say..*L*)

Ok.. so Bon Mardi Gras, mes amis!!

This is the funniest thing I've seen in a while...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunnier day?

Today is a beautiful day. After a fantastic Valentine's weekend, where Davey and I spent some wonderful quality time snowshoeing on the Hobbit Trail, and going to dinner at our fave spot (Riverfront BBQ), and just hanging out, it's now back to work time. So how do I feel today?

At home, Davey and I decided to get healthy. We bought some books on health and eating, and are trying the lower carb, higher lean protein (no, not just lean meats, but almonds, soy, etc.), and cutting out the sugar. All sugar.. including tomatoes and onions... BUT HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO MAKE SALSA???!!!

This morning we got up at 5:30 and got on the treadmill and Gazelle and watched the morning news while exercising. We then had healthy protein filled omelets for breakfast, and I am happy to say that I felt good and not hungry until lunchtime...
Yesterday, as far as that goes, I had a detox of a time. Lack of sugar and caffeine caused me fatigue and a headache, and extreme grouchiness (sorry Davey.. ) but it was gone after a good night's sleep.

Other than that, things are going primo. Work today is going better. I feel clearer, a little more encouraged, and left Friday feeling like maybe B. and I can come up with a way where a few things gets fixed. I've had a "come to Jesus" with the NH I'll just help wherever I can, and take the knowledge that I learned out of it, which is quite substantial.
In other geek news, I bought an EasyCap off of ebay the other day. The purpose of this gadget was that Davey needed a demo on a VHS tape to be put not only on DVD, but autoscripted to loop for his fly shows.. It took me about 20 minutes to get it done, which is really reasonable.
One thing I'm really happy about from this weekend was getting to have lunch with Carrie.. I really miss that girl, and it was great catching up. She looks absolutely fabulous, and seems like things are going great for her and Jon. I feel bad we don't talk more.. Sounds like we're going through a lot of the same issues too. Faith wise and such.. but it was really good to see her.
SO to end today, things are going better... We'll see what tomorrow brings.. but I'm a tad more encouraged. Maybe it's because the sun has been shining, and I have been able to get outside and play a bit.. that's probably it.. things look worse with cabin fever perhaps?? Spring is on its way!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Be the change

So says Ghandi....

Today was slightly better, though not by much. But I came to an enlightenment today. The change starts with me. So, painful as this is going to be, I'm going to have to stop, and take stock of my work ethic, failures, as well as strengths (let's not be completely depressing here) and try to move forward in a productive and positive manner. Meanwhile, I'm going to try very hard not to get discouraged.

But here's what I think.. what happens at my job has absolutley no bearing on who I am as a person.. I'm going to keep repeating that until I start believing it. No bearing on who I am as a person. I think I'm a nice person. I think as a person I am somewhat competent, though every day I am feeling less and less smart. Maybe..just maybe those ASVAB people were right about me..

Ok.. so positive action. I will take the suggestions that B. is going to give me.. and I am expecting them to be harsh statements.. but I asked for them.. because I need to know where I stand... how else can I move forward, and FURTHERMORE how can I dare stand there and bitch about other people when I'm not even looking at myself. That's not very fair.. so I am going to take these statements, and use them as a jumping off point to get better.. to be better.

If the statements come back that I have nopotential on this path.. then I shall take that, and find another direction to take.. I am thinking that perhaps if things get parental around here, that maybe following a teacher's schedule might be the best course of action. So I plan on taking the necessary steps to maybe have that as an option.

I am tired of worrying about this. Tired of questioning myself. I used to be more confident than this..I jst feel bad Davey has to put up with me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

keeping focus

I'm having a bit of a low day today.
What started out as an extremely productive day,m where I was learning all sorts of wonderful programming things, turned to an afternoon of self-doubt, and discouragement. How did that happen? Maybe my blood sugar was low, and things seemed much worse than they really are...could be. Or is it the fact that my morale is completely depleted due to work issues. Things are being handled not as well as they could have there, though I will refrain from giving details, nothing juicy, I'm sorry to say..
However, I am woman enough to say that I am willing to take responsibilities for my failures... I have many, I admit they were my fault. But others, I've been the scapegoat as of late, and it's getting rather discouraging.
So this has led to what. I'm feeling not very confident about myself. My intelligence, my work ethic, my weight - I feel horrendously fat..., all of it. If it wasn't for Davey making me smile, and making me very happy to see him.. hmm.. it would all probably be much much worse.
I have to remind myself that so far I've only bee doing jobs that were easy, that I could do with my eyes closed, with really no challenge. So I took this job as an opportunity to learn, to hone my programming skills, and to do what I really like to do (databases). So if they don't like me, and don't like the work I do.. at least I can walk away with having learned lots, and maybe had a very small hand in analyzing the data that changes policy - aka the legislation on BAC testing in accidents that's going in front of the legislature currently. I have been re-assured with the " Don't be ridiculous.... no one is thinking of asking you to go" statement.. but the seed of fear has been planted, and it's not going anywhere for a while.
Remedy? Ok.. so what I have to do to not get completely annihilated here, is to focus on positive things.. ok what are they..
1. Davey. He's wonderful. I love him, and I can't wait to marry him. nuff said.
2. Health... need to focus on my running and weight training...WAAY more than I have been.
3. School - so after the wedding I will start- actually - re-start grad school. Very excited about that
4. In April I get to teach again.. yay!
5. Mumma is doing well, and so far no cancer activity...
6. I have wonderful freinds and family who gve me great advice.. things like : You don't own it, Leelee... or work is work, and it has no bearing on the kind of person you are. Falaalaa
All wonderful points, but very hard to remember when you're in the thick of a big mess.
You know what I need? I need to run.. I need to do Yoga, and clear my mind.. get centered... feel better about myself.
Argh.. I need to go to bed and read a good book, and call it a night.. tomorrow will be better. It has to be.. when you're at the bottom of the barrel, the only way is up..
And finally, no matter what happens, I will be ok... just keep focused!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A fascinating flow chart from