Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Trip, in Numbers

(And words.)

Sort of - but not exactly - along the lines of a Rachel-y, list-y post...
  • Stayed awake for 21 hours the first day
  • Skied -  6 lifts, 3 (?) peaks, 1050 skiable acres, 66 runs
  • Took 2 buses each way to the mountain, which we selected as the only one which wouldn't require a third bus
  • Slept in 4 different people's beds (NICE PEOPLE)
  • Taught my brother an eight-count tap dance, comprised of 6 basic steps
  • Derived a theory for a universal braid of x strands and attempted a notation for universal braid theory
  • Applied universal braid theory to strips of a paper restaurant napkin to create a braid with an x of 6
  • Ate nutella and peanut butter sandwiches for 3 consecutive meals
  • Recorded 15 video clips 
  • Took 3 pictures on my phone
  • Had $6 pizza at an Asian pizza buffet house ("Vegetable pizza?  Well, we can take the sausage off of this kind, how's that?")
  • Attended a church service with 150 college freshmen which went into FORTY MINUTE overtime
  • Learned 2 new games
  • Saw 18 new and old friends
  • Played with 1 baby
  • Found 1 copy of Stephenie Meyer's New Moon at a bus stop
  • Attempted to navigate suburban Utah without a car, which included walking 6.25 miles one day and eating trail mix in a Costco parking lot (see? it's like hiking!)
  • Caught 4 flights, had 2 layovers for a total of 3 hours, set foot in 6 cities, traveled by 6 modes of transportation
And probably most impressively, considering all the traveling and keeping track of myself, my possessions, my flights/buses, and - occasionally - my brother:  
  • Had 0 meltdowns.

'Twas a wonderful trip.  Bless you, Utah.  

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Me, or not me?

    So in high school growing up, we had this friend Tom with whom we'd play "me or not me," a pretty silly game wherein we'd name different people and he'd have to identify the person as himself or not himself.  So, if someone said "Tom," he would say "me," but  if they said "Katie," he would say "not me."  It was pretty funny/endearing how he would get so intensely sincere, this generally pretty smart kid, about identifying whether a person was him or not. 

    Last year at about this time, I posted about embarking on the 40 days of Lent and quoted some particularly striking words to which I want to return at this moment:
    It takes kenosis, a stripping of oneself, a totality of surrender. It takes a total interiorization, in which we recollect all our fantastically scattered thoughts. Because symbolically speaking, we must be naked and follow a naked Christ. We can’t take anything with us except faith, hope, and love.
    The game we played with Tom as high schoolers seems pretty silly, but now, as an adult, I am realizing that "me, or not me?" is actually a difficult question, particularly when it comes to feelings.  It has taken me a lot of years, but I'm finally realizing - beyond intellectually - that if someone is angry, that is them, that I am separate from them.  I am slowly learning to step back and even put up an emotional barrier of some sort that acknowledges their feelings as well as establishing some sort of distance or distinction.  Just because someone else is sad, just because someone else is angry, even if it is because of me, it doesn't mean that I need to get sucked into it, a false empathy.  Somehow, a part of empathy is boundaries, in a strange way.  I can't really describe it that well. And I'm tired and I need to get up in 6 hours to catch a trolley to catch a train to catch a shuttle to catch a flight.*  So this will not be one of my most well thought out posts. 

    Anyway, the journey within is one we are forever and always making, often cyclically, and so at this season of my life I am dedicating this time to a focus on the aspect of the journey pertaining to my own feelings, in essence, an emotional version of "me, or not me?"  I suspect, and it has been my experience so far, that as you learn to step back, to simultaneously experience AND observe what is happening, that the way to act just becomes clear.  And I hope that because I'm giving up something which I enjoy and do regularly (eating sweets/desserts), those little abstentions will serve as reminders for me to keep these thoughts on my mind and heart.  Giving up to possess, letting go to hold on.  The more I focus on emotional boundaries, the more of myself I will be able to give.  Life is - in a way, it seems - abundant with beauty and little infinite paradoxes. 

    I've had this song/scene stuck in my head.  I like her making a difficult and scary decision for her family, but also for herself.  And I like it when she prays to the ancestors.  And I like the synthesizer music.  And when she cuts off her hair with a sword.  I don't even know. 

    *I'm going to Utah tomorrow to go skiing and see some friends and of course to visit my brother P at The Lord's University.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    My Powers

    Bubber says she thinks of me whenever she uses this:

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    You Didn't Eat the Fruit

    I've been sort-of reading a book by a scholar of Jung recently, which has introduced me to the idea of the story as a map of our psyche, the different characters representing different sides of ourselves, the different locations representing the different territories of our consciousness and unconsciousness.  And so, I have been examining the imagery of Adam and Eve and the garden through that lens.

    God tells Eve, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.”

    If the garden is innocence, and partaking the fruit is a fall from innocence, then Eve represents the part of each of us (whether we are female or male) that asks questions, the curious, eager side. The unfortunate truth is that often when we ask powerful questions we learn unpleasant truths; we find sorrow and disappointment. However, we are also able to open new worlds to ourselves, to give birth to new potential. The act of creation, of giving birth is not pleasant. It is painful. It is work. There's a reason we call it labour. When we put our whole being into a task, we feel the sorrow of failure or disappointment or dismay, but we taste the sweetness of potential and we see the possibilities which we have created by our actions.

    We are constantly partaking of the fruit and leaving the garden.  Over and over again.  It's called growth.  The serpent was wisdom to many ancient religions.  Dangerous and powerful, shedding its old skin over and over as it grew. 

    Perhaps even the symbol of the Goddess.