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Archive for August, 2009

I came back from vacation and the radio in my office is not working. In the silence, I notice that time and breathing have slowed. I feel as if I have been on retreat. My shoulders no longer hurt and the conversations in my head–desiring, dreaming, conflicting, confronting, rehearsing–have gone from yapping, simultaneous floods, to one voice at a time. There are moments where there are two voices, but it is uncomfortable, and I pay attention to my breath until there is only one. All day, only one voice at a time.

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Traveled home. For five days, I felt that every time I turned around it was time to eat again. At least on this trip I am not eating more than usual. It is just that without the daily routine, I am not successful at make eating unconscious. Normally when I eat, I sit at the same stool at the same pullout cutting board in the kitchen. I choose similar things that I have purchased and stacked in the refrigerator each Sunday.  I can prepare a meal with the same motions each day. Now in the shadow of Pike’s Peak, I must look through drawers to find a knife, ask if another wants some food, choose between unfamiliar condiments and dressings; I must make a conscious meal. I must pay attention.

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Uphill at 9000 feet forces me to pay attention to each step. Shifting my mind to the future is painful. The future choices are: just to the top of the next rise and I don’t know if I can do this. The first is more comfortable than the second, but ultimately painful when there are three more rises before the outlook. In the end only paying attention to the pick up, rise, place of each step works. Then the pain in my thighs is only pain, not the suffering of added thoughts.

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Art as meditation. Complete, directed focus. Dozens of embroidered, pearl-laden marionettes. Deep voiced puppeteer in black. Spot lights and hand-held lanterns. Folk tales as meditation. Burdens and clearing. Acceptance and doubt.

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It was my birthday today. I spent the afternoon stretched out in a hot spring, in one of a series of small rock  pools on the edge of a river. Looking up at the mountains, I positioned my stiff neck in a flow of hot water coming up from behind the bank. My legs floated over a trickle of hot water coming up from below. Cool water seeped in between the rocks from the cold stream. The temperatures continually mixed and traded places around my hips and calves. The people around changed three times as the sun crept toward the back of the mountain. My camera view finder showed only wild, electronic, jumping frenzy. All memories will have to be physical and visceral.

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I am at 9,000 feet and my usual breathing space is at sea level. I am at 9,000 feet and my thinking and expectations are at sea level. My red blood cells are half way up the mountain. I am tired and not thinking quite right, but the thoughts niggle, “You should be hiking. You should be wanting to hike.” I want to want. It is today’s mini civil war. I breathe slowly, deeply, methodically. I feel the air go in my nose, past my tight shoulder, behind my breasts, and down past my belly. My acceptance level of not wanting to hike is a 6.5 out of 10. My acceptance level is a 7. My acceptance level is an 8. It has started to heal. My accepatance level is an 8.5.

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The woman next to me on the plane was silent, tense and silent. She did not say a word to me, her head positioned as if she were staring stright ahead, yet she was reacting to all the noises and conversations around her. Her eyes darted as conversations must have stumbled over each other in her head. She repeatedly tried to get the flight attendant’s attention and insert herself into a seat rearrangement to get a child out of sitting in the exit row. To fix the situation, they needed two people, sitting next to each other, to move. She could not move and solve the problem herself, yet she did not speak to me. The rearrangement was solved without her. For the next two and a half hours, she silently, frantically, lived somewhere else. From where I sat, it did not appear comfortable.

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