Tuesday, July 3, 2012

refilling our well

The more and more I am immersed into the Blogosphere, I read posts by amazing writers who are highly spiritually evolved writing about the concept of "filling the well."

I was first introduced to this concept way back in high school when I picked up a book at the Auburn Public Library, a library I basically grew up in. The book was "Everyday Sacred: A Woman's Journey Home," by Sue Bender. What I remember most about this book is that it was my first "real" read about a woman bringing spirituality back into her everyday life. It was profound in a way that made sense to me, growing up in a small town in Maine, absorbing these simple lessons of spirituality aside from my Catholic upbringing. Since reading that book many years ago, I have continually been a spiritual text junkie. I will read anything and everything having to do with spiritual development and the like if it comes my way. This is one of my favorite hobbies and an activity that "fills my well," or in simpler terms, renews me and brings me joy from the inside out.

Refilling our wells has become such a vital form of self-renewal for those living on the planet. The demands continue to come at us, hard and fast and it feels as though we can hardly catch a breath sometimes. More and more, we are pushed into growth & panic zones, rarely finding solace in our comfort zones. We have deadlines, responsibilities, duties; some written, some unwritten. What's a human to do?

The Man posted this amazing quite by Pema Chodron on my Facebook page last week after a conversation we were having about "taking care of ourselves." It becomes a heated topic in our household because we are the types that push and push and give and give and leave very little for ourselves when it comes to the end of the day.

The quote...
"I’ve known many people who have spent years exercising daily, getting massages, doing yoga, faithfully following one food or vitamin regimen after another, pursuing spiritual teachers and different styles of meditation, all in the name of taking care of themselves. Then something bad happens to them and all those years don’t seem to have added up to the inner strength and kindness for themselves that they need to relate with what’s happening. And they don’t add up to being able to help other people or the environment.

When taking care of ourselves is all about me, it never gets at the unshakable tenderness and confidence that we’ll need when everything falls apart. When we start to develop maitri for ourselves, unconditional acceptance of ourselves, then we’re really taking care of ourselves in a way that pays off. We feel more at home with our own bodies and minds and more at home in the world. As our kindness for ourselves grows, so does our kindness for other people."
(Taking The Leap)

I absolutely love this because it is beyond just applicable, it is a practice to be lived day in and day out. I looked at this quote and thought to myself, "I can do this. I can practice unconditional acceptance the best I can for as along as I can," knowing it's not going to be perfect everyday.

Of course, this all aligns with Living Our Bliss. It is a practice and nothing else. There is no destination, only now. Enjoy and love yourself every minute, no matter what is pushing you.

Monday, July 2, 2012

remembering summer

The onset of summer opens a floodgate of memories, mainly memories of growing up in Maine and experiencing hot days, cool nights, running around from dawn until dusk, consuming obnoxious amounts of lemonade, food off the grill and the like. The memories bring so much joy to my life as living far away from family can trigger many bouts of home sickness, especially when thinking about a lobster feed in the backyard. The summers meant my mom was home with us since being a teacher provided her a perfect schedule with kids
When I was little, it never even crossed my mind that summers would eventually just blend in with the rest of the seasons; getting up, showering, grabbing breakfast, heading to work, coming home, and doing it all over again; 5 days on, 2 days off. There lies a fragile innocence when you don't anticipate this fact.

Since I moved out of my parents house almost 10 years ago and headed west, every summer has proven to be an adventure even though it didn't fit the "10 weeks of fun" cookie cutter summers. The summer after my freshman year of college, I stayed in Colorado nursing a sprained ankle from a climbing injury and waited for my Wilderness First Responder Course to start. I slept on a couch in a house with two friends who drank way too much alcohol and smoked way too much pot. I scraped by on granola, yogurt, and reduced produce and deli meals from the local grocery store. That summer, some guy friends who were renting a house down the street took my under their wing, invited me to their bbq's, and let me sip on good beer while we played cards at their dining table. I fell in love with one of them and the following fall, we were dating.

The summer after graduating college, I took a 3 week solo trip to Nepal and the Himalayas, trekked to Everest Base Camp, slept in tea huts, ate dahl, and meditated in Buddhist monasteries, receiving spiritual teachings from sherpas and monks alike. After that three week trip, my dad and I drove to Seattle where I would start my first job.

My first summer in Seattle was all work. As an intern trying to earn a full time spot in the company, I took on lots of projects and immersed myself in everything corporate training related. I was on the Microsoft Campus a lot of hours and yes, my internship did land me a full time position with the company and I stayed their for 2.5 years.

Then there was my first summer as an Assistant Summer Camp Director; a dream job of sorts. Chaco tans, suntans, and water balloon fights with kids. Mix in some weddings, a funeral, and a little burnout, I wrapped up my second summer at summer camp realizing that I was too tired to enjoy my own summer.

To make a long story short, I am now here, embarking on my 5th Seattle summer and settling in to a quiet, domesticated life of sorts with adventure, gardening, sipping delicious drinks on my deck, and remembering all the summers past full of laughter, hard work, and pure, uninhibited fun. Summer is a time to not only revel in the memories of summers past, but to create new memories and traditions as they spontaneously emerge whether it is happy hours on a deck, hikes to a new peak, or picnics with loved ones. All the memories count. They all make our summers worth living for.

on a heavy heart

There are those moments you dread in your life. Those phone calls you know are just not full of good news. Those conversations you step into with that spidey sense running up and down your spine. Today, I woke up and was going through my Monday morning routine in that not so mindful sort of way; snooze the alarm, try to catch some extra zzz's, finally decide to get up, take a shower, and start getting ready for work while mentally noting the items to add to the to do list; contact so and so for a meeting, run those boxes to storage, enter that data, etc, etc. Just as I was about to brush the knots out of my hair, The Man's cell phone was ringing and I just happened to look at it-my mom was calling. This couldn't be good.

My mom informed me that early this morning, the divine universe decided to take my cousin Tony Donatelli from the material earth. He was so full of life, brought laughter to our gatherings, and was an amazing son, husband, and father. I just saw Tony and his beautiful family in April at my grandmother's 90th which seemed like yesterday yet it felt like forever ago. I was shocked. I started bawling. I was so angry. It wasn't fair.

Living so far away makes me feel helpless sometimes; not able to comfort and provide the immediate condolences. Being part of an Italian family, family is everything. Even though I am 50% Italian, my mom and dad raised my brother and I to know that without family, nothing is really possible.

There's really not much else to say about the whole situation other than it is tragically sad. It also reminds me that we are never guaranteed a tomorrow, that we must express our love and gratitude as much as possible. With a heavy heart, I go forth and try to bring more light and love into my community.

Tony, may you rest in peace among the stars.