recharged on breakneck ridge

28 09 2009

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i was twittering with jonathan fields last week.

you should definitely check out his book career renegade and website(s). he has terrific energy and great knowledge of all things career-change related and all things social media. he’s one of the main guys out there, so check him out. careerrenegade.com and his blog, jonathanfields.com/blog/. it will lead you to a bunch of other great stuff.

anyway, he sent me a tweet last week saying i should check out a six-mile hike on breakneck ridge up in cold spring, ny. his suggestion came at a good time. i was free this weekend and have been longing to be out in nature (as i usually am feeling about nature), so i decided to give it a whirl on saturday.

my sweetheart and i drove up and on the way there found the leaves just beginning to change. a few  early sugar maples popped out in brilliant red like fireballs against the fading greens of the treescape along the palisades parkway. i could feel the serotonin dripping out of my brain and into my veins with each mile we drove north.

breakneck ridge is located in hudson highlands state park. the climb up to the most gorgeous panoramic views is gated by a very long, straight up, hand over foot rock scramble where you go back to your primate days of being on all fours monkey style.

it was a blast–a total mind challenge (i am afraid of heights), and the physical exertion felt terrific.

when we got to the top, there was a hawk fest going on. about 9 hawks were gliding on the wind insanely close to us and then soaring way out over the hudson without flapping their wings even once. watching them reminded me how much power there is in letting go of resistance.

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after we got to the top, we came down the back side of the “mountain” at a much easier slope, and before the descent we stopped and had sandwiches that i made for us and carried up in the backpack. we sat on a rock and ate. why does the simplest of food taste so good outside?

the hike took about 4 and a half hours. i was blissfully dirty and tired, my hiking boots were authentically scuffed, my legs were sore, and the palms of my hands were rubbed raw from pushing off on the rocks during the climb.

i felt like i was 10 years old again and running around with my brothers in the woods of connecticut beyond our back yard for hours climbing and exploring back in the 1970’s.

it’s a reminder to me to get out more. not only do children suffer this new thing called nature deficit disorder (see the book “last child in the woods–saving our children from nature-deficit disorder” by richard louv), , we adults can suffer it too. with job, grad school, writing my memoir, relationship, dog, bills to meet, and all the dreams i am working on, it’s easy to get into a rut of routine. or to just stay in my neighborhood on my down time. it’s easy to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. it’s good to take a break from all the thinking we do.

nature calls us and invites us to her. the great mother earth with her restoring and nurturing and healing energy. will we answer her beckon?

get out there. go for a hike. even if you are an urbanite without a car (the train goes right to cold spring!), or someone who doesn’t usually do these things. try it. carve out a weekend day and go for a walk or strenuous climb in your area. go alone, go with someone you love, take a child, take your dog.

i promise you’ll feel recharged and refreshed and with a better head to come back to all your tasks, and pressures, and dream building.

enjoy the photos from breakneck ridge. i hope they inspire you.

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beauty underground

23 09 2009

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taken with my iphone at delancey street stop subway on the F line.

if you want to post your own photo of art in public spaces, please do so in the comment box– i would love to see them!

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hoarding and being with space

22 09 2009

i was going to blog about this hoarding show/thing i saw (again) last night, and then saw this blog (below) this morning.

this writer says almost verbatim what i was thinking after watching the show “hoarders” last night on a&e so i decided to attach his words and add a few of my own.

it is truly amazing the pickles we sentient beings can get ourselves into and all the intricate forms our suffering can take.

the basic existential loneliness that we are always feeling like a constant throb or ache either just below the surface or deeper down depending on our level of self-awareness and sensitivity, is the thing we are so unfriendly with and so therefore do all sorts of things to fill that hole. we seem to always need to fill it up. it actually feels counterintuitive to NOT fill it up right?

we get home and turn things on–the computer, the tv, we open things–the mail, the fridge, we check our phone. we re-check our phone. have you ever walked into your empty house or apartment and just sat down on the couch and did nothing but breathe? or listen to the sounds around you? or closed your eyes and checked in with what your body was feeling?

hoarding is no different from all the other things we do to ourselves and others out of our basic fear of space. out of our fear of being with ourselves alone.

i was reading a blog the other day at http://www.mnmlist.com and this guy did an experiment of making a list of everything he owned and trying to get it down to just 100 things.

he does live in Guam and works from home so maybe those of us who have seasons and go out to work could double the number to 200 if he wouldn’t mind, but the premise is genius.

what about the pantry stock-piling we do? the sock drawer? the proverbial “junk-drawer” in the kitchen? drawings from our kids when they were in second grade? the clothes problem can get crazy, and don’t even mention those of us women who do love our shoes. and gentlemen, how is that “wood-shop” you have in the basement?

something to consider; do i really need all the things i have? could i get rid of some things and clear some space for new ideas, new energy, new ways of being to find a home in my home?

i’m going to engage with my kitchen junk drawer this weekend and as i’m switching over summer clothes to winter in the next few weeks, i’m gonna take a fresh look at what i can let go of.

you too?

the link below will bring to you to where the blog originated, or you can just read the writing here as i’ve pasted it in for you.

http://tinyurl.com/nd37e3

Of “Hoarders” and our relationship with “stuff”

hoarders1.jpgAfter hearing all about it from a good friend, I finally saw A&E’s new show, Hoarders, “a fascinating look inside the lives of people whose inability to part with their belongings is so out of control that they are on the verge of a personal crisis.”

I haven’t seen anything like it in my life — and I hope you haven’t, either. One’s thing for sure: it will make you question your relationship to material things. And that’s the basis my question for you today.

typicalhoardershome.jpgWhat Hoarders makes heartbreakingly clear is just how easy it is for the human animal to become lost and trapped by its own possessions, and how this is caused by our untamed minds. When the episode I watched ended — to the left you see a still from one of the subjects’ homes, and honestly, it’s almost tame compared to the overall mess the hoarders create for themselves — my eyes were darting around our apartment: All this has to go! No clutter! No tchotchkes! No bric-a-brac! Maybe I should convert the entire dining room into a nice, spare, furniture-less zendo.

Ah, but this is just the other side of the hoarders’ coin, is it not? Our healthiest approaches to life are not about extremes; they’re about a middle way; the right way for ourselves and our loved ones. The question is, what is that way? It’s hard to study Buddhism, though, and not develop at least a little of the crucial non-attachment that allows us to discern what must stay, and what can go.

In the end, though, it all depends, of course: one person’s treasure is another’s trash, and all that. So what I’d like to know is, what’s your relationship to your stuff? Granted, it’s statistically unlikely that you might identify as a hoarder, but is your approach to your possessions unhealthy, or healthy? Is it working for you?





football and sanity

18 09 2009

confession: i am a big sports fan and really enjoy watching sports of all types both professional and non-professional. so what i’m about to write may elicit some of you out there to call me a party pooper, or even, a poor sport.

i can already hear my father saying, “sheesh. lighten up will ya?”

nonetheless, i must say that the $1.12 BILLION (yes i said billion not million) spent on the dallas cowboys stadium has left me a bit, how shall i say it? twisted.

at what point do the revolutionary’s from mexico and south and central america arrive here and lead us into a stop the madness uprising? because clearly, myself included, we are so asleep at the wheel and i guess anesthetized  from gluttony, that we won’t be riding in on horseback ourselves.

i mean, isn’t it slightly insane and a little disgusting to spend that kind of money on a FOOTBALL STADIUM when there is a serious education and starvation problem right here in this country? (forget the recession and all that heartache. i find things even more basic than that in this case).

did you know that in the united states, 1 out of every 8 child under 12 years old goes to bed hungry every night?

have you ever tried to sleep when you are hungry? well you can’t.

and its overwhelming to talk about the rest of the world hunger problem, but i’ll just mention that every year 15 million children die of hunger and leave it at that.

what about all the brilliant science minds and artists that are languishing in their homes and schools because they have never even HAD the opportunity to realize or actualize their natural gifts, talents, and interests because there is no money for private school, and the public school available to them is the one with the highest budget cuts in the fields of arts because apparently low-income children are less artistically and scientifically minded.

while there are a myriad of issues one could give money towards and that are completely worthy of attention, i mention hunger and education for children because they are SO basic. you can’t do much if you are hungry and uneducated, and it’s the next generations who are going to have to try and live here on the planet. we’ll all be dead, but that stupid stadium will still be standing no doubt.

if jerry jones has that kind of money or access to that kind of money, he should be doing something more spiritually evolved than building a football stadium. has he noticed what bill and melinda gates are up to lately?

where are the 10,000 scholarships for children in the dallas area to go to a top-notch school? where is the trust set up for the food pantry to distribute enough food so NO child goes to bed hungry at night EVER?

sure, mr. jones created jobs for the 11,000 people needed each sunday when there is a game and created jobs for all the people who built the stadium, but come on, who can make a great living or even a career out of selling food and t-shirts and cleaning up the stadium? these are just justifications of jerry jones and others like him to live this way. seemingly unlimited greed and in my opinion, simply unnecessary.

1.12 billion dollars could have done a lot of deep good for children. listen, the giant screen in the middle of the field cost 32 million. the screen alone cost as much as the entire old stadium did to build.

things are out of whack. the money numbers being thrown around in our country lately are like something from a financial science fiction flick. none of us even REMOTELY relates to these kind of numbers. and yet, the stadium will fill up week after week with people who will put the tickets on their credit cards and stretch to their personal financial limits to go to the game because we have created this culture where this is what makes a person feel better and this is “what we do.”

these are really kooky times. things are upside down. the things we should be caring about, like children, and our health, and working with our own pain as a way to create peace in the world, have been almost completely eclipsed by a long list of examples of misspent money. i wonder if when you get into a position of power, one automatically loses their sanity.

couldn’t a more modest stadium have been built? what about this idea of the middle way?

sigh. what to do. it feels like such a waste. oh, and is the building even green?!!!

i’m not sure what to do. i feel caught myself. the cowboys are playing my team, the giants, on sunday. do i boycott watching? if so, will one teeny little voice make any difference at all?

how do i navigate my way in this world of uber-spending and the ignoring on a colossal scale, the cost to human beings who are hungry and without access to the full expression of their gifts and talents through education, while large sums of money are insanely distributed in this country and even around the world? is ANYONE at the helm who hasn’t lost their marbles?

and dallas doesn’t even have a good quarterback. 😉





down the rabbit hole or life as a lucid dream

15 09 2009

well here’s one for ya. the first day out of the meditation retreat, the subway i was on yesterday in harlem had to go in reverse back to the 125th st. station because someone killed themselves by jumping in front of the train.

they turned off the power of the 4,5, & 6 trains which left literally thousands of people basically stranded because there isn’t any other train line on the east side of harlem. people came up and poured out onto the streets like millions of ants. traffic snarled.

the crosstown bus looked like it might tip over it was so full of people. it’s metal sides looked curved and bulging. and anyway the crosstown bus wasn’t going to get me any closer to brooklyn where i live, so i did what all new yorkers do in crisis; i started walking. as i was walking from 125th street to 63rd street, where i could catch the F to get home, i passed the block on that was closed off so they could bring up the body from the tracks. i guess it was around 116th st.

i wondered who the person was and what a bad night it will be for their friends and family.

an upsetting story. i know. i have unfortunately known several people who have committed suicide. which got me thinking………

recently i’ve had one of those clusters of coincidence around a phrase. more than 6 people have all said or written the phrase, “i’ve been down the rabbit hole lately.”

which got me thinking, what is that rabbit hole all about anyway? and so i youtubed alice to see what she was like going down the original rabbit hole.

here she is: (oh and for those of us that aren’t into headbanger music, just mute while you watch but unmute at the end for a lovely ballad.)

i think it’s accurate to say that for the most part, life is going to really sting sometimes. we’ve all had our share and i think it’s safe to say, there is more of the pain ahead here and there. sometimes constant, sometimes intermittent. sometimes a jab, sometimes a blow. it’s no fun to get cancer, go to a funeral, have your heart broken, have no money, feel your negative thoughts are winning the inner battle, be overwhelmed by weight gain, the list goes on and on right? same pain in all it’s versions…..in the end we face death.

what if along the way we frame alice going down the rabbit hole not as some drug trip like so many people say it is, but rather a visual for our lives? what if life was actually lucid dreaming?

that at any moment we could wake up from the dream that we think is our real life and just be present on the spot.

what if we lowered the stakes of our lives? could we be with the pain and loss and disappointment and heartbreak maybe just a little easier?

did you see how alice was noticing everything that passed by her as she continued to fall deeper and deeper into the hole?

sometimes she fell quickly, other times she floated. sometimes she was right side up other times she was upside down.

alice was filled with curiosity. like we are when we are dreaming when we are alseep and know we are dreaming. we follow the dream. we want to see what’s going to happen.

we are trying to wake up from this dream that sometimes we take so hard that we think the pain is unbearable. it seems when things hurt us that all we want to do is stop the pain. we think avoiding pain is the way to get it to stop.

building a relationship with your pain is one of the greatest things you could do in this life. life becomes so much more full and vivid and immediate.

volunteer to go into your own rabbit hole. when things happen in life, (as they always will) that are painful, the suffering will be less because you have already been down there.

think of alice, and all the helpful beings she met along the way to guide her.





the virtual neighborhood

11 09 2009

since the post yesterday, i haven’t been thinking about much else than the blog and twitter. i apologize for the breathless run-on sentence that was yesterdays post, and how crammed together the visual of the writing was. i feel slightly embarassed! i don’t think i exhaled at all out of the excitement of writing that first post. i promise to be a better girl and make my MFA colleagues not want to disown me. but i’ll tell you upfront; i don’t like the look of capital letters and i’m not the best speller. you know who the best speller is? my mother. she can spell anything. anyway, i read several blogs last night about how to write a good blog and they all said the writing itself has to be very high quality to keep people’s attention. yikes.

late this morning, i raced home from work in the pouring rain and big wind–i actually wore a full rain suit today; raincoat AND rain pants AND gortex shoes out the door early this morning. i ordered the dorkiest rain pants from l.l. bean and as embarassing as they are to me and people i am walking beside, i love them very much and don’t get nearly enough occasions to wear them. i feel like i could do anything and go anywhere in them. the reason i raced home from work, was not to move the car because of street sweeping, that was yet another sidetrack, but to get on to the mac and write on my blog.

i realized in the subway that i could read all the tweets that came in on the iphone twitter app, and i was so entranced reading them, that i missed my stop and had to walk fairly far to the car. but here i am now, blogging to you and wondering WHAT exactly is blog-worthy material? i hope you will follow along with me as i learn!

today i am struck by how exciting and inspiring it is to connect to people. that we can really uplift and inspire each other by our expression. i think the initial thing that i am finding exciting about entering twitter and blogging is that you see that there are people out there who are really motivated to live to their fullest potential and to seek ways to understand themselves and their interactions with the phenomenal world.

conversely, isolation and absence from connection with others can be such a killer. i want to encourage all of you out there who feel disconnected or alone or uninspired to see what you can do to get connected. e.m. forrester has a quote that says, “only connect.” the energy that we sometimes have to push through can be like moving a mountain when we are in a rut of isolation, but i challenge you to take a little baby step today and reach out. do something different! re-inspire your life with a dose of connection. let it in.

i know the web gets a lot of looking down the nose by the therapists and purist’s, but as someone who is coming late to the party, i have to say, i feel a surge of positive energy and possibility in this virtual neighborhood.  and that even though i am not physically seeing any of you, i can FEEL you so strongly.

i am heading off to a weekend meditation retreat that’s at the shambhala center of ny. i’ll let you know how it goes. not my first by any means, but always feels like the beginning each time i sit down on that cushion to meet my own mind. “only connect.” i’d like to say my own version would be, “simply connect.”IMG_0066





life.food.heart. first post!

10 09 2009

finally, i am starting my own blog. my refrigerator blew up yesterday (after my iphone died and my main client quit to do something else), and i was running back and forth to the deli to get ice to try and jam all the contents of my refrigerator and freezer into a blue plastic rubbermaid cooler while anthony, the nice plumber man who came over and saved the day for $300 and a new fan motor and computer for the (refrigerator’s have computers in them?!), i thought when i am going to document all the funny painful craziness of life like all the rest of the bloggers out there? so then today i had lunch with my good bud karen “jerry” yaeger (computer geek, videographer, thai yoga massager, and twitter-er @bklynyogini) moaning about it all and she said why don’t you have a blog? being the very motivated person that she has become, we walked straight to my house and after discussing our love of the yankees yet again, we went straight to wordpress and she set it all up for me and here i am; adding my voice to the blogging universe. is anyone really out there?