Draaaaamaaaaa!!!

In honor of my best friend who does this all the time, I decided I should share my recent crazy-mindedness publicly, with all of you. =P (Dearest Bestie that is not an insult but the highest compliment) Let the catharsis commence!

Money maketh the world go round, so said some wise dude forever ago. (Actually I guess it’s from the musical Cabaret… wow, that says a lot about that quote. Anywhhhayysss) I’d say that I have a theme song about what money does to me:

“You spin my head right round, right round, when you go dowwwn when you go down down.” (Yes I did.)

Lately I’ve felt like I have a big hole in my pocket that keeps getting bigger. “Oh, you have exactly $600 in your bank account and $100 in cash? Let’s charge you a $714 bill just to see the reaction! Oh yay look at that it’s like a hamster wheel in her head!!! wooooohooo!!!”

Suffice it to say I decided I should probably look for a job now.

Hence the last week applying or attempting to go in and apply at places. The one crowning glory of the last week has been one place in particular that I’ve gone twice. Had some friends recommend that I apply at said place. I said “Eooorhhh… ok! will do!” Went in. First time, manager was on break. I leave store in a downpour, look sadly at sky. See hole in umbrella. Commence angry stomping to car. Get in car drive to Starbucks for a soothing eggnog latte. Get back in car with eggnog latte and while trying not to drip water from my umbrella on myself, spill eggnog latte all over my lap. Cue 5 minutes of crying and “Whhhhhhyyyyyyy???” and patheticism of weeping in a Starbucks parking lot with pouring rain dripping down onto my windshield as I stared through the glass. (I wasn’t emo in high school at all…apparently I haven’t fully gotten past that stage yet)
Second time I go into this store is today. Mind you, the sequence of events before this moment are what made it. Today I was set to register for next semester’s classes. I still have a small bill on my account that I need to pay in order to register. I go to pay this morning and find out my school doesn’t accept Visa – they accept Mastercard. (Living by the beach? Priceless. For everything else, there’s Mastercard. APPARENTLY.) Sooooo I try the ATM, but my card doesn’t have a pin yet, so that didn’t work out too hot. Decide to go get a cash advance at the bank, and while I’m at it… I might as well go back to that one place and talk to the manager, righhhht? Thinking rationally, I head to the bank first, deciding, “I need to feel more positive when I go in to apply for a job, so I’ll go get money first so I can feel better about my life.” Get to the bank, walk up to the door and yank on it. Locked. I yank again and then look in. It hits me like a ton of bricks – HA HA, Laurie!! IT’S VETERAN’S DAY!!! (curses, foiled again!) I trudge frustratedly back to my car and head to my next destination. Walk into the store at about 1:30pm to find it packed. The line of customers is about 10 -15 long. Yeah ok, no manager is gonna want to talk about a job application right now. I walked around for a minute sadly staring up in longing at the cute holiday pajamas, the tempting clearance clothing racks… Forget sprinkling myself in self pity. I was bathing in it like it was a nice warm bubble bath. “Ohhhh poooooor me I can’t do anything with my life” I whined, and my self pity said “Yeahh I know right? Look at these beautiful pajamas and you can’t even buy anyyyy. What a sad little tragic life you lead.” (Reading this now I sardonically say #firstworldproblems)

After all this wallowing I end up having a chat with my dad this afternoon, and after having a mini breakdown on the phone (“I just want everything to be better right now! I’m just trying to be responsible with my life and nothing is workingggg! WAAAAAH!!!”) I realized that life is not really so harsh. I have my backup credit cards that I kept clear specifically for this kind of occasion. My parents very very kindly put me back on their health insurance so not only will I not get another unexpected bill next semester, but it was free to add me back on, so I don’t have to pay for that now. (amazing what happens when you said “Scuse me but…. I NEED HELP!!!!) Also – I am alive. And I’m learning a heck of a lot about my life. And I’m in school in NORTH FREAKING CAROLINA. With a beach. And guess what – I’m not dying of AIDS today, I have food to eat, I’m not sleeping under a bridge, I’m not isolated and alone without friends anymore, I don’t need to have a man to complete me, I have some amazing sisters and one very special great uncle watching out for me, plus cousins who really care about me and keep up with my life consistently, not to mention some SUPER amazing friends that I don’t deserve… You know what I’ve got a pretty damn good life.

To sum it up, I was watching some of the Princess Diaries this weekend (it was on TV) and this line decided I needed to hear it:

“And then I thought of how many stupid times a day I use the word “I.”

Thanks, Mia Thermopolis. You’re right. As a future therapist, that lesson needs to be one learned pronto.

Because, as Mother Teresa says (yeah I know, you can always count on her for a good, straight up guilt trip that gets you right back in line – that’s a smart saintly woman for you):

“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.”

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Spirituality – An Update

It has been a few months since I wrote about my spiritual journey, which is still alive and well, in fact. I’m still leaving the door open for possibilities. Actually I feel more spiritually connected than I ever have, and I am loving it.
Unfortunately, moving to NC has made things a bit difficult. It’s harder for me to find religious centers here than it was in the more liberal Colorado- despite Colorado Springs being the bedrock of church-dom, there actually are quite a few other religious opportunities there. So needless to say, I haven’t visited any religious centers here yet. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been spiritually searching or open.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and listening to different people in different traditions.

Before I moved to NC, back in March, I very briefly dated a guy who was a Jehovah’s Witness. That was a really enlightening experience! I had the opportunity to go to Memorial, which commemorates the last meal that Jesus has with his disciples. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing but I really enjoyed the entire experience. From this guy I also learned quite a bit about Witness’s beliefs as a whole – about the new era, their traditions in disfellowshipping, beliefs in an afterlife, the lack of belief in the Trinity. I’m still really thankful for having such a great window into a different way of thinking. Still wish people could be more open-minded. The amount of unneeded “persecution” and just plain mean behavior that Witness’s face for no reason is astounding to me.

I had an energy healing done a few weeks ago by a woman who does Akashic readings; she is also a good friend. Before I went I did a lot of reading on Akashic readings. Very interesting! As a psychology major I find it relates a lot to Jung’s view of the collective unconscious. Things that make me go hmmm! 🙂 I would actually go back and get a reading but I am without money. =P

My cousin Andrea (hi, Andrea!) sent me a link to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints General Conference, which I listened to a bit of. I really enjoyed learning more about Mormonism through this window. I was surprised by the similarities in thought to my church growing up. I just find it interesting that Christians tend to judge Mormonism without actually talking to a Mormon. I really find it interesting and frustrating that Christians so easily judge another person’s spiritual connection to God. I can say that not everyone I listened to on the conference sounded genuine, but there was at least one speaker that I heard that seemed heartfelt in what he said. As a whole I respect these people and their views. Hard not to, as well, when I see such devotion in my cousin, and see that her spirituality is so vibrant. Hunger to know God is something I can’t help but respect.

I’ve been listening to a lot of recordings by a Buddhist monk, which I have really appreciated. I am planning on being on an interactive phone call about practice with her sometime in the near future. I’ve done a lot of reading and learning about Buddhism. I really enjoy the thoughts on living in awareness, along with several other themes I’ve noticed – living without attachment, centeredness in goodness of self, etc. I’ve garnered a lot of spiritual knowledge about meditation from the Buddhist tradition and have been meditating almost every night for the past month. My meditation usually consists of one or two things:

Breath/Mindfulness Meditation: Where I only focus on my breath, nothing else. At first I just tried to empty my mind without help, lately I’ve taken to counting for 5 minutes and then pure breath focus. The counting is counting as you take a breath. You count 10 breaths and then start over at 1. This gives the mind something to focus on. So I do this for about 5 rounds/5 minutes and then do pure breath meditation for another 5 minutes or so. I’m only at about 10-15 minutes per session; working myself up to longer and longer amounts of time works well for me. I started at 2 minutes. I find this works well for me because I have really low motivation to meditate at first. If I tell myself “Just do it for 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes” I usually end up meditating longer. I just have to get myself started.

Metta/Lovingkindness: I haven’t sat and done as much of this. I usually make use of this during yoga. Lovingkindness meditation has 4 tenets: Lovingkindness towards self, lovingkindness towards loved ones, lovingkindness towards a neutral person (one you neither love nor hate) and lovingkindness towards enemies. I have started with lovingkindness towards self. Right now I need a lot of this so I’ve been doing this for the past 2-3 weeks. It’s very simple; I just focus on phrases like:
“May I be happy and peaceful.”
“May I be safe and protected.”
“May I be content.”
“May I have ease of well-being.”
“May I have acceptance of self.”
Most recently, I’ve used “May I be comforted.”
My yoga teachers usually ask us at the beginning of class to set an intention for our practice. My intention has been lovingkindness, and I usually choose one or two phrases to give to myself during practice. To be honest, this has radically revolutionized the way I look at myself and my self esteem. I am still in shock about how much it’s changed my mindset and life. Because of this simple practice, I can say that I truly enjoy and value myself. I feel “in love” with myself in a totally natural sense – fully appreciative of self, fully admiring who I am as a person, full affection for what makes me me. Pablo Neruda says it this way:

I love you, straightforwardly, without complexities or pride.

I am slowly trying a little bit of metta towards loved ones. I have definitely been sending some up to NYC recently.

I’ve also been reading different blogs and websites. When it comes to spirituality, I have a few favorites that I’ll mention:

Soul Questions (http://soulquestions.wordpress.com/) – more of a Christian perspective but mystical Christianity. Really fascinating to me and has proved to stoke a lot of thought in my mind about how “Christianity” doesn’t just fit in a box. I am really drawn to this side of Christianity, actually, and am looking forward to seeing how this kind of thing fits into my future spirituality.
Justin Lee’s blog (http://gcnjustin.tumblr.com/) – just discovered it this morning. Some people who read my blog may be really offended by this guy. I say – too bad, stop reading my blog then. =P I really liked what he had to say. I also find that I relate a lot more to the gay community after how I was treated by the church following my divorce. I especially liked his post about Trendiality.
This blog by Moneyless World – Free World – Priceless World (http://zerocurrency.blogspot.com/2012/11/why-religion.html) – This guy lives without using money at all and has done so since 2001. I don’t know if I could do it, but I find it a really interesting idea. I like his thoughts on attachment to illusion. He relies completely on others for any transportation (he travels quite a bit). I haven’t read a lot of his more spiritual blogs, but I read this one and was really surprised with how much I loved it.
This website from the Buddhist nun I mentioned before (http://awakeningtruth.org/) – Amma is so open with her personal journey and shares a lot of strength and joy. Her thoughts on trauma and fear (in the recordings section) have been especially helpful for me.
My dear friend Shae (http://travelwithme2rwanda.blogspot.com) who is in Rwanda right now, and her open curiosity towards spirituality is really inspiring. The way she approaches diversity and other faiths is something I am striving towards in my own life. And besides all that, she is a heart sister and kindred spirit.

So that’s an update on my spirituality for all those waiting and interested. 🙂 Despite how it has seemed – my spiritual life has been busy and vibrant!

how the light gets in.

I broke open
delicious sweet watermelon rind
scattered across a sidewalk
blood red, flesh pink
down the city streets melting
in the hot hot sun
with black seeds bursting
sliding in the wet-ness
aching to come forth and

break open into the earth
green vines tumbling out
making a mockery of the dust
gaining strength within new soil
planting a testament
open breaking isn’t bloody
disregarded on a sidewalk
it’s an explosion
a secret garden growing deep
deep
d
e
e
p.

 

Copyright 2012, Laurie Works, all rights reserved.

 

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen

Aside

Out of the great deep
I swing up buckets
Nets full of flopping, flailing
shiny bodies.
They once danced
Below the rolling surface
Flitting in and out of
heart-colored coral.
My arms heave
Muscles stretching, feeling fire
Effort dripping down
diamond stories.
Years passed
Dragging up nets
Harnessing mysterious magic
growing underneath.
Lately, I catch drops
In well worn hands
And gaze at the bundles
dancing on deck.

Copyright 2012, Laurie Works, all rights reserved.

Hippie Life

My experience of life has become more and more… hippie-like.

And to be totally honest, I love it. A part of me has always loved hippie type things. One historical event I’ve constantly said I would have loved to be at is Woodstock. Man, I would give anything to be at Woodstock. I’d be the crazy girl with a daisy crown, braided hair, bare feet, bohemian skirt… I might have smoked some ganja back then… if it was the past, anyways. That is not a part of my current hippie lifestyle by any means, considering that I am against substance use. Lol. I substitute incense burning – that’s my smoke. =P haha.

My current hippie lifestyle, well… let me tell you about it. I have a consistent spiritual practice for the first time in my life. I get up in the morning and immediately pray. I recently bought a yoga membership which I adore, and plan on using every day. I meditate every night before I go to bed, burn some incense, read some Rumi (spiritual poetry), and journal on that. I dyed my hair with blue. I have an increasing affinity for hemp bracelets.

I’m not going to lie. I want to be the crazy old hippie lady with the long silver hair who hangs wind chimes with half-moons on her porch. The crazy one who gets up early in the morning and sits in her garden to “gather energy from the earth.” Who drinks her coffee and faces the beach every morning and raises her arms to the sun. The one who has a garden and eats only vegetables from her garden. Her house smells like incense. She smells like patchouli oil. She loves trees and will often be seen hugging them with a bright warm smile on her face. And yes, she is a warm, warm person with a lot of loving energy! She comments on your aura and you kinda laugh at her but you can’t help but love her. She eats a lot of organic food, she might be vegan even. (But she can’t give up her coffee, she just gets it organically from a single source farm, and makes it herself at her house every morning. YUM!) Her therapy office is also a yoga studio is also an art studio. (yes that sentence was intentional) It’s a warm restful place that’s open for anyone.

All of you probably think I’m nuts.

Oh well. I love it. And I love my new hippie stylings (though I wouldn’t claim that I’m a total hippie because that isn’t true). So deal!! 🙂

so. much. love.

I’m whirling with thoughts right now. Stirred up by my whirlwind weekend (say that three times fast!). I flew out to Seattle on Thursday morning at 5am, and didn’t reach my final destination until 1:00pm on Friday. We stopped for 2-3 hours to sleep. Plane, plane, bus, car, car. That was the order of my travels; rewind it and you get my trip back.

Despite the short amount of time I actually had in Smithers, B.C. for my best friend’s wedding, I come away feeling refreshed. Not bodily, because my body is about to crap out on me. Haha. But in my soul, deep down, I feel warm. Embraced. Deeply loved.

My heart is so full thinking of the things I’ve seen. I saw my lovely best friend, embraced by those she grew up around. Showered with so much love that it seemed to sparkle in each little sunbeam that danced down on her hair while she said her vows. Love that exploded on the dance floor, sang tears into the microphone, whispered sweet nothings into her ear with a hand on the small of her back. So. much. love.

Love that I poured out, too, with cards, and words, and shared little smiles in the bathroom on the morning of. I’ve known you since I was 5, dear best, and here we are still. 18 years later. What is more beautiful than seeing you, in your white wedding dress, standing here after all this time? My heart is full.

There was so much love that it overflowed and spilled out on everyone.  There was just too much love to keep inside. I have to say that I think everyone at this wedding got a little sparkly thimbleful of love this weekend, and that thimble had enough for a good long drink. Some of us standing a little closer got a good dumping of shiny love. A pailful-of-water-dumping of shiny love.

Still in awe. Still amazed. Still so full of love for the beautiful woman that inspired this showering – so incredibly proud I get to call her best friend. This is what comes to mind of the newly-crowned Mrs. Hutton:

“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies…
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Seattle

Well here I sit in the Seattle airport, waiting for the bus that will take me to Vancouver. I was thinking about it on the airplane and wondering why I’ve never blogged about my travels before. I then realized – I’ve never had a laptop on my travels before! This is pretty nifty. 🙂

I’ve also decided that I’m pretty satisfied with how I’ve arranged this trip. Because I’m taking a bus to Vancouver and not flying straight there, I get the scenic route. 🙂 I’m curious as to how scenic it will be on the bus, too. 😉 Considering the rep buses get for “interesting” passengers. Don’t worry – I can be far and beyond interesting if I need to be. 😉

In any case, I’ll be on the road to get to Vancouver and I get to see the sights. Not to mention that I also get to go to one more place – Seattle. Win! Putting more destinations on my map is ALWAYS a win. 🙂

So, last flight I spent mostly doing homework, sleeping, and a bit of fun reading. I’ve got a ton of homework due when I get back, but I’m kinda okay with it because I have so much travel time to do it in! I’m already more than halfway reviewed for my Brain and Behavior class (Biopsych) which quite honestly is a bitch because it’s all terms – cerebellum, pons, dorsal, rostral, sagittal… and that’s just a sampling. That’s the easy ones. Haha. I spent much of last flight collecting all those terms and putting them in a Word document along with meanings and a blurb about what each part does. That way hopefully I’ll keep my orientation about me in the midst of the sea of crazy definitions.

Also, the flight was really empty so I had a whole seat between me and the other girl in my aisle! We were both pretty excited about this. I am so thankful for extra room on airplanes because it doesn’t happen often. In the amount of flying I’ve done (don’t ask me to count flights, but I’ve gone overseas 6 times) I’ve only gotten extra room maybe 3 times. So, I count myself super lucky when I get it, and I celebrate by spreading out! 🙂

Ok that sounded really boring – but that’s what you get cuz that’s what happened. 😀

Another thing I’ve been thinking about… I am a really exuberant person!! Online especially. My Facebook is full of CAPS LOCK!!!!!! Yes, I do mean it with the exclamation points because I’m always EXCLAIMING SOMETHING!!!! I use it with full intention too. I know caps means yelling. In real life if someone was there with me, I’d be as close to yelling as I could decently get. Also – have you seen the amount of smiley faces in this post so far?

Interesting observations, guys.

Still wishing I had more time in Seattle to hunt down some amazing coffee. Not fair that I’m mostly stuck in the airport. Sigh.

 

A Short Update

I’m currently sitting in the Charlotte, NC airport waiting for my flight to Seattle. I’m heading to my best friend Carly’s wedding. But she’s not just any best friend. I’ve known her since I was 5 years old. I remember running through church hallways with her screaming and laughing. I remember swimming in the lake, I remember her super cool loft room in her mom’s old B&B. I remember lots of things.

Really the reason I started writing this post is, I’m traveling and I felt like documenting it.

I was “asleep” (for all intents and purposes) for my last flight, which lasted about 35 minutes. As we took off, my eyes closed, I reflected again on how darn much I love flying. There’s something about it. A certain tingle that goes through my body when the plane lifts off the ground. Maybe it’s just the natural human inclination to want to leave the ground, to want to be more. But it’s not just that. Flying means adventure. Flying reminds me of every trip I’ve ever been on. In that sense it’s absolutely tantalizing! I remember London and I am almost salivating with desire to be back. That sounds pretty vulgar, haha… But it’s just the truth. London, Vienna, Hong Kong, and places unknown (my latest outlandish desire is Dublin). Flying to me means freedom, jumping off into the unknown. What a feeling, I have to tell ya!

And ya know, I’m so glad to be going out of the country again. I know, I know, it’s just Canada. But I was thinking – this is my first time in Canada in at least 7 years, if not more like 10. And it’s my very first time alone. My heart thrills at that word – alone. Alone and independent while traveling – it equals adventure! I think I’m jinxing myself just saying that haha. Hopefully it’s not a terrible jinx. I suppose we’ll see! 😀

I might write again in a few hours when I get to Seattle. Let you in on a little more of my travel experience. And not only that, but the experience of seeing my best friend get all murrrrrrried and stuff!! *sniff sniff* Oh, the tears are gonna come. As for now, it’s 6:48 am, I slept 2 hours last night, so I am going to sign off and try to find some shut eye.

Non-Equilibrium.

I follow slow tides
with questioning glances and
furtive eyes.
This is what I do
when I dip below the surface
into invisible domains of blue.
Uncertainty belays, besets
dances sea-foam round my feet
tickles me with soft swishes.

Did you mean this to be?
did I mean
to leave my footprints backtracked
into squishy sand?
A storm brews
over the deep blue waves
and I worry my lip

watching.

You, intertwined with
me
a tumble of waves and skin
leaving me free-falling
off-balance
which way is up?
Deliciously
abandoning myself to you
a loss of equilibrium, becoming
freedom.

©2012, Laurie Works, all rights reserved.