Body Project

Posted Friday, April 29th, 2016 @ 10:46 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Meditation, Spirit

I’ve been involved in my body project for 13 weeks now. Eventually I will stop counting weeks, because it will simply have become a way of living. Until I reach my goal, however, there is value for me in counting. So: in 13 weeks, I have shed 19.2 pounds and 12.25 inches. I now fit into pants that are 1.5 sizes smaller (from ##W to Misses ##). The last couple of weeks were a wash because I was sick and then stopped being attentive about what I ate. But I feel SO much better than when I started, and I will continue on this journey. It relates to much more than weight. It relates to how I want to live — how fully, how bravely, how intimately within this body and soul, with the universe.

Evolution of Spirit

Posted Thursday, April 28th, 2016 @ 11:16 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Quotes, Spirit

So an interesting thing happened for me after Prince died. A memory was sparked of a friendship at that time in my life. I had not thought of this friend in about 30 years. We were in high school, had crushes on each other, were deeply religious and got to know each other in this context. In my early 20s my identity was developing, as was his, and we kept each other company.

Prince blurred gender lines; he was gorgeous to behold, and he was unapologetically sensual. His music connected with a raw, hedonic part of me. At the same time, he blended in spirituality and love, a yearning for majesty and wonder, and this intrigued me. His music was the soundtrack of my life. The 80s were an exciting and scary time to live openly in any non-hetero way (LGBTQ). Yet that was how I lived; my integrity required it.

Lately I am exploring aspects of my identity, intimacy, sexuality, and spirituality. All this is percolating again; I did some searching, and found this old friend. I am hoping to reconnect. For what reason? Who knows? I only know that the spirit nudged me; I felt moved to look for him. As I live, I am waking up, learning to pay attention. I listen to what is true in me, take the next action, and listen some more.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke

Here’s the link in case the video doesn’t play here: Prince – The Truth

Random Guy

Posted Thursday, April 28th, 2016 @ 1:12 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Humor, Journal

I feel like the last post was heavy, and so I’m lightening it up a bit here. My darling girl drew this. I enjoy the illustration, and I especially love the simplicity and quirkiness of the story.

random guy

Old Wounds and Misandry

Posted Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 @ 5:09 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Community, Journal, Spirit

On a deep fundamental level, I don’t like men. Part of me regards them as Other. Threatening. Inherently dangerous. Suspect. There are sound reasons why I feel this way. I don’t judge this part of myself, and I haven’t succeeded in healing it yet. I acknowledge and allow it to be.

As I watched the men reading aloud vile statements to these women (see link), I saw them struggle. I saw them blanche and look uncomfortable. I saw that they felt pain. And for a brief flash, I felt tender toward men. I felt a tiny bit safer that there are good men in the world. I felt an ache for how culture beats empathy and anything feminine out of boys as they grow up.

If you want to comment, please use love as your guide. I am not looking for a debate about gender politics. What these women experience in their jobs is real. What I’ve experienced is real. I am married to a good, loving, empathetic man. It took me a long time to be ready to meet him.

I have a younger brother. I was eight when he was born. I loved him so intensely I would have died for him. When I am feeling a wave of misandry, I try to remember how beautiful we start out as, including males. But it’s difficult. I even feel this tension toward boys, as though they are the enemy-to-be.

Here is the link: ‘I Hope You Get Raped Again’: Women Sportswriters Listen to Men Read Vile Tweets About Them.

Maya

Posted Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 @ 12:52 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Meditation, Quotes

Yes. Yes. I am reminded of this lately. The only one who won’t leave you is your self.

“Everyone you trust, everyone you think you can count on, will eventually disappoint you. When left to their own devices, people lie and keep secrets and change and disappear, some behind a different face or personality, some behind a dense early morning fog, beyond a cliff.”

–Lauren Oliver

I’m still learning how to be my own friend. To find my deepest longing for union within.

The Cost of Growing Up

Posted Monday, April 4th, 2016 @ 10:34 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Quotes

Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. Not really. They get older. But to grow up costs the earth, the earth. It means you take responsibility for the time you take up, for the space you occupy. It’s serious business. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed. What it costs, in truth. Not superficial costs — anybody can have that — I mean in truth. That’s what I write. What it really is like. I’m just telling a very simple story.

—Maya Angelou

Loss Aversion

Posted Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 @ 10:00 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Spirit

I have reached an ambivalent state in my weight loss process. I am so accustomed to 16 years of heaviness. It’s interesting to note that I didn’t gain all this weight until I met Hub and life improved in many ways — materially and psychologically. Until this morning I haven’t understood what happens, why I give up and regain.

It’s this: if I follow this discipline, lose weight, become strong, healthy, active, I connect with Life so big and powerful coming through me that scares me. I have historically protected myself from the heartbreak of loss by making my life harder and smaller. And maybe this is what’s going on. Being overweight reduces my life, so that when I someday get ill and die, I won’t be as heartbroken to go. AND… all this weight is protection to “balance out” how my life has improved. Since meeting Hub, life became so much richer, so I’ve protected myself from fear of loss (what if it all goes away?) by gaining weight. Yes, it’s illogical, and it’s what is true for me.

Early in life, my father had the power to take away what I wanted. As an adult on my own, struggling with underemployment, circumstances had the power to take away what I wanted. I learned to protect myself. And, in spite of the impulse to protect myself, I also forged ahead with goals. I experienced hardships, I persevered, and life has generally improved for me in the past 20 years. But that pattern remains. I notice it regarding intimacy in my marriage (avoid), in how I manage friendships (retreat and end them when I feel vulnerable or dynamics change), career (avoid positions of risk and responsibility), and this morning, realizing how it affects my health.

Pondering the Soul

Posted Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 @ 9:23 am by Kathryn
Categories: Buddhism, Journal, Meditation, Quotes, Spirit

Do souls exist before they are incarnated? What is a soul? I perceive soul as energy. When it is embodied, it expresses through the filter of a personality. Personality is shaped by genetics, temperament, and experiences. Does a soul retain the particular “flavor” of personality after the body dies? I would like to think so. I would like to believe that the infinite universe can hold the essences of all the soul-personalities that ever existed. Although I have no empirical evidence, the mystic in me is intuitively open to this possibility.

Where does Love exist? We exist in Love. We forget this, so we create suffering for ourselves and others. Love is the mystery of the universe; it exists in all forms as well as that which is formless. A body that dies loses its form. Yet the soul-personality remains with us in Love.

As to what these soul-personalities do, whether there is reward or punishment, I do not know. I do not believe there is a ruling God who decides on an eternal afterlife for each soul. I sense that when we leave our bodies and lives on earth, whatever that has separated us from complete union with Love is removed, and this is healing and redemption.

“Love is our liberation. There is no other place to go.” – Karen Maezen Miller

seeing into the heart of the matter - art every day month 05 - day 30

Mostly Nothing Much

Posted Monday, February 22nd, 2016 @ 10:34 am by Kathryn
Categories: Buddhism, Journal, Quotes

“In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all its moments — which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people’s minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life maybe empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves.”

-Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Learning to Be an Includer

Posted Thursday, February 4th, 2016 @ 9:39 am by Kathryn
Categories: Community, Education, Journal, Motherhood, Quotes, Social Science

Experiencing bullying at school is traumatic. When a child comes from a loving, stable family with empathetic parents, it is still hard on a child. When a child comes from a family system that is authoritarian or neglectful, the distress is even worse; often there is bullying ongoing in the home as well, and the people from whom a child would get support don’t provide it.

As a parent, when my child encounters “mean girl” (or “mean kid”) behaviors, I struggle often with my own wounds from childhood. I did not have an empathetic, supportive family, because bullying also occurred within our home. All the parts of myself that I call “young stuff” — that didn’t get needed support — burst to the surface. Sometimes I parent from a state of panic and urgency. I’m working on this.

This article, Raising Girls Who Are Includers Instead of Mean Girls, felt timely and wise. I related to the author’s experiences in childhood and enjoyed reading how those experiences created in her a desire to become an “includer.”

She wrote a list of stories she hopes our daughters will someday say as they reflect on how we supported them during their struggles. I’m sharing here so I can return to it, to read and remind myself of my aspirations.

I hope all our girls will someday share stories like:

~ “My mom would listen to me as she stroked my hair, as she lingered with me and I shared what was happening and how I felt.”

~ “My mom wouldn’t jump in and try to fix it. She wouldn’t freak out and panic out of her own fears and hurts and unconscious stuff she was holding. She would sit with me and ask me for my ideas and what I needed. She would wait and listen – listen to what’s said and unsaid, creating safe space for me to navigate the inner landscape of my own feelings and heart so that the right actions for me to take would arise from within me.”

~ “My parents would advocate for and alongside me in situations that required adult intervention. They wouldn’t act out of fear or anger. They would wait and discern and pray and watch.”

~ “My mom wasn’t about ‘sweeping me up and saving me.’ She was about empowering me. She knew when to step in front of me and be the mama bear, protecting me. And she knew when to sit behind me or alongside me, abiding with me.”

~ “I learned to say, “THAT’S NOT OK!” and “Stop” and “I am walking away now.”

~ “I learned how to see clearly. I learned to not think there was something wrong with ME. I learned to not turn on myself but rather have regard for myself.”

~ “I learned to name with compassion – for myself and others – what is happening. I learned to name it, state it, and own my response.”

~ “I learned ways of working through difficulties with other girls and women in ways that honor and regard each girl and woman’s body, feelings, experiences and needs.”

~ “I learned to find my tribe of women. I learned to ask for help. I learned to be with others who uplift and honor each other.”

~ “I learned to speak up. I learned to speak up for myself and for others in the face of injustice – on the playground, in the hallways between classes in middle school, or in international peace negotiations.”

~ “I learned to be an includer. I learned to mindfully abide with whatever I am experiencing within my own inner landscape. And from such a place of inclusion, I learned to include and walk beside others.”

-Lisa McCrohan