Everything Flows Onward

finding my dharma. living my dharma.

Campaign of Gratitude: Day 5 November 29, 2008

Filed under: holidays,thanks — Jenny @ 4:55 pm

Today I’m grateful for the following (presented in list form because I’m too tired and pressed for time to provide fluff this morning):

  1. Finding the local radio station that plays Christmas music 24×7 this month.
  2. Trader Joe’s array of frozen burritos.
  3. Not having had to be a shopper on Black Friday.
  4. Surviving working Black Friday at Hallmark.
  5. A free pound of coffee a week.
  6. Revisiting the teeny-bopper that still resides deep in my heart and swooning with Laura at the movie theater, watching Twilight.
  7. That I made all my Thanksgiving travels in safety, which is a lot more than many other people in the country can say.
  8. The sweet relief that Child’s Pose, Hero’s Pose and Legs-up-the-Wall provide after a long day on my feet and legs.

Happy Holidays, friends. Be kind to those who work retail, be patient in line, don’t get caught up in materialism. Remember that the whole point of this is to GIVE. And not to just give THINGS but to give your thoughts, your love and spread joy.

 

Campaign of Gratitude: Day 4 aka Gratitude Vomit November 27, 2008

Filed under: healthy spirit,home,kitten,life,om,peace,sangha,thanks,the Best,travel,yoga — Jenny @ 7:47 pm

Today, I’m thankful for… well… today.

I’m thankful for a really fantastic morning yoga class that I really feel brought me in to spiritual alignment with this Thanksgiving day. I’m thankful for the energy of love and compassion and gratitude that resides in my Sangha and thus, resides in me.

I’m thankful that my kitten has little ways of showing me she loves me and that she misses me when I’m not home.

I’m thankful for a my 30% employee discount at Starbucks. I’m VERY thankful for Starbucks Lemon Loaf. I’m EXTREMELY thankful for triple shot lattes.

I’m thankful I made it to St. Louis safely. I’m thankful gas is even cheaper here than in Evansville. (Although I’ll save my concerns about what deflation does for those of us paying back any sort of loan for a day that I’m not supposed to be giving thanks…) I’m thankful for getting to do 2 loads of FREE (to me) laundry.

I’m thankful for a kitchen full to the brim of delicious food today, when, for so many others in the world, today is just another day they are hungry. (Wow… all of a sudden I don’t feel right about my impending over indulgence…)

I’m thankful to have gotten to spend a portion of this day with my Sangha, for getting to next spend a portion of this day with my family and more still, for getting to spend a portion of this day with my best friend.

I’m thankful to have so very many things to be thankful for when the day is barely half over.

I’m not just living dharma today, I’m living luck.

 

Campaign of Gratitude: Day 3

Filed under: geography,plans,thanks,travel — Jenny @ 2:13 am

Sweet, sweet patience.

I attempted to write this blog three separate times today but every time, I was at a loss for what to be thankful for today. Sure, I found things to be thankful for, but nothing for which I was so thankful that I wanted to dedicate an entire day’s blog to it and it alone. So I said to myself each time, “Well, the day’s not over. I’ll wait and I’m sure by the day’s end, something will come forward.” Et voila.

Today,then, I’m thankful for two things. 1) Patience, and 2) I am thankful for T-Mobile. They are always so splendidly helpful on a regular basis and that’s something I really, truly appreciate. (Especially as someone who used to be a Sprint-subscriber. I experienced truly awful service during those dark days.) Suffice it to say that I’m very enthusiastic about my cell phone service provider. And suffice it to say that my heart just swelled to three times its normal size.

T-Mobile is running a promotion through part of December that offers it’s subscribers free companion flights for renewing their service for two years. How amazing is that?! They just made my dream of taking a cross-country vacation to Seattle next year come true.

Spectacular! Thanks, T-Mobile!

 

Campaign of Gratitude: Day 2 November 25, 2008

Filed under: healthy spirit,reading,thanks — Jenny @ 5:31 pm

Today I’m grateful for Young Adult Literature.

It occurs to me, looking at my bookshelf now, that YA lit has brought me countless hours of entertainment. How many times have I escaped to the world of Harry Potter, in book or movie form? How often did I scan the pages of Mugglenet.com, dissecting every word J.K. Rowling ever wrote? How many tears has John Green stolen from me? How many laughs from Maureen Johnson? And now, Stephanie Meyer, whose Twilight series has been my recent literary obsession (and probably soon-to-be cinematic obsession as well). How many times has her narrative made my heart skip a beat, taken my breath away, broken my heart, literally had me sobbing from behind the pages and then euphorically happy?

I’ll argue as long as the day that YA lit is not just kids’ stuff. I’m almost 25 years old, and these are some of the best books I’ve ever read. The aforementioned authors are the only ones to ever have elicited such physical emotional reactions from me, and I think that’s really saying something on the subject of their caliber. Not to mention the symbolism that runs rampant through so many of these books, most notably J.K. Rowling’s, John Green’s and Yann Martel’s works. I also think that YA books are so spectacularly filled with messages of hope. With the world as it is today, it’s highly commendable, in my opinion, that something geared toward the youth can carry such an optimistic outlook.

So I’m thankful for the talents of these authors and for this genre of literature. I’m thankful for being introduced to this niche that is so adept at allowing me to escape the real world for a little bit of each day, that’s given me characters for whom I care so much, afforded me some really fantastic conversations with my friends and continued to add fuel to the fire that is my love of reading.

 

Campaign of Gratitude: Day 1 November 24, 2008

This week I’m on a campaign of gratitude. It’s Thanksgiving week, and so I figure there’s no time like the present to do it. My goal is going to be to update at least 5 times this week and talk about something for which I am grateful. Shouldn’t be too hard.

Originally I started by making a list of what I wanted to talk about each day but a couple things happened that caused me to alter my subject for this first day. 1) I pulled out an old notebook this weekend to bring to yoga teacher training and, 2) a disturbing article I found online.

The notebook I happened to pull out was the one I used when I was in therapy with Jane my last semester at Murray. There were a couple journal entries in there. The most notable was the first entry, dated July 18th 2007. It was shocking reading the things I wrote:

“…How I feel is confused, chaotic, without control. I feel pressure from myself to get past this, pressure from others to do what they think is best and fear of letting everyone down.”

“I freak out when there are unknowns.”

“I’ve receded into a totally isolated place in my mind and I’ve kept myself from being really honest with even my closest friends and family.”

“Mood swings: I got the nickname of ‘Bipolar Jenny’ last year.”

“Now I am trying to face my demons and I intend to work past them. Now I feel vulnerable and chaotic all over again but the only way I know how to deal is unhealthy so I feel more out of control because I have no coping methods to turn to. I hate being vulnerable. I do not tolerate weakness on my part. I need to be a stonewall and a pillar of strength. I don’t want to be taken advantage of.”

I finished reading that first entry and it was weird how I could only remotely remember those feelings. It seemed to me I was reading about a third party. I was a little taken aback and simultaneously grieving for this girl. How could any single person have all of that going on in their head at one time? Such an unfair burden to carry. No one should live that way.

Then I moved to the next entry and was baffled once more.

July 19th 2007:

“You know, sometimes, I may freak out, but when the day is over there is one thing I know about myself and that is that I am strong and I will achieve the things I want. And I’m positive—I know I will get over this hurdle. Life can be a struggle but all it takes is knowing you can make it… with a little bit of work. And I am ready to work.”

Just one day later, there it was: hope and resolve. What a gift. How lucky am I that it was with me, literally, from the beginning. On July 18th I had hit the lowest point in my entire life to date. But on July 19th, I was already asserting my determination. I’m filled with so much pride for that girl. I’m actually at a loss for words. That girl was me. ME. I know when I wrote that second journal entry that I had no idea how impressive it was. I had no idea the implications. I wonder now if, as I was writing them then, I believed them. I mean, it’s clear I did on some level because I’m here now and I’m infinity times healthier and happier. One thing I know is that for as much as I yearned to recover, I certainly hadn’t really considered what life would be like once I had done so. I had no idea it could be so good and so free.

So this becomes the first subject of my gratitude this week. I know this seems like an egotistical way to start the week, but I maintain that until we find the light within, we cannot shine it out. But today, I am grateful for my strength, my resolve, my optimism. I had so much help along the way in my recovery but I also must recognize that without my own determination, I’d never be in the place where I am now. So I’m going to honor myself, give thanks to myself. I’ve done myself a huge deal of benefit in the past year and a half.

The other thing that brought this idea for day one’s gratitude is that I saw this article online: http://www.newsweek.com/id/170528.

It tears my heart out to think that anyone else is living the way that I do. It seems like it was one thing for me to have struggled but the idea of other people struggling is almost intolerable. No one should go through life that way. It’s just not fair. Something has to be done; these girls need to be reached out to. And I want to be one of those doing it. I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet and I don’t know what the community in Evansville is like, but I’ve got to do something. I have been given a great gift and it is only fitting that now, I should pass it on to someone who needs it, too.

 

On Flying Alone: Airplanes and Love Notes to My Multitudes November 19, 2008

I love flying on planes and I love to do it by myself. There’s something that is always moving to me about being one of many ones. I mean to point out that so many people on planes are traveling alone.

I love to look at them all and wonder who they are and where they’re going and why they’re going there and if they’ll ever come back. I wonder if they’re going home or if they’re leaving and if they’re sad or they’re excited. I wonder if they’re going somewhere they’ve never been before and if they’re scared at all. I wonder if they’re starting over from the beginning or picking up where they left off. Will someone they love be waiting for them with a rapturous smile or will they be walking into a complete unknown when they deboard the plane?

I marvel at this sort of public anonymity. This no-questions-asked rhythm of coming and going. Leaving in a way that is so obvious, going so far away that you have to take to the air to do it. Yet giving no reason for your departure. Everyone is just going or coming and letting it be just that. It’s fascinating.

It occurs to me that I love to leave. I always like to imagine myself as one of the people who are leaving, no matter what kind of trip I’m on. Whether it’s a departure or an arrival. To me it’s the bravest travel there is. I’ve always been captivated by the idea of leaving all things familiar behind and going where I have never existed to anyone before. The slate is wiped clean and I can be a new person. I can invent a new me. Sometimes I like to retain a bit of the Old Jenny, the bits I really liked and the ones that are Me inside and out. But I like the idea of getting the chance to be something I’ve always wanted to be and not having to explain why I’m this way now. In a new place no one knows, I proclaim myself to be how I want to be. Sometimes I discover that how I thought I wanted to be isn’t really what I wanted to be and I return to the parts of Me that remain.

But even still, leaving is scary. It is a difficult process. I don’t meant to make it sound like it’s all fun and games. As a matter of fact, I don’t see it as a game, but as an undeniable duty to myself. There is certainly a struggle (metaphorically) to be met once I get where I’m going (geographically). But in the end, the geography is not what is important. It’s not the destination, but the journey. I find more of Me, a part of Me that I didn’t know was actually Me. This is the reward for this kind of lifestyle. Finding new parts of Me, my confidence grows and I feel more complete. I can state surely that This is Me.

Walt Whitman wrote, “I contain multitudes.” This is the basis for how I feel it necessary to live my life. So my mission is this: discover my multitudes, or as many as I can while the opportunity is mine.

Some notes, though: This is selfish. The way I think is beyond selfish, even. This isn’t something that has escaped me, unnoticed. Sometimes it hurts people, sometimes I ignore that I am not the only one who contains multitudes. I am transient and I don’t think of what my talk of leaving means to others. I don’t have a solution yet for selfishness, so I just want to acknowledge that I know it’s there. If you’re reading this and I’ve ever hurt you, I’m sorry. But there are those of you that take me as I am (I have 2 people in mind and I trust you know who you are). There is beauty and comfort in your roles in my life because I know that no matter where I go, I have never left you, and will never leave you. And no matter where you two go, you have never left me, and will never leave me. I said this recently in a spiel to one of you, but now let me say it to you both: You are Me. This is something I’ve discovered along my journey. You are each one of my multitudes.

Epilogue:
I have to say… when I started writing this post, I had no idea it was going to end up going where it went. But I’m glad it did. I think for the people who don’t understand the way that I think, it’s important to illustrate that leaving isn’t an attempt to erase the past or to push people away. In leaving, I think we afford ourselves the opportunity to find the truth, love and strength of our relationships, such that no matter where we go, we find we are never alone.

 

On How Time Passes When You Blink

Filed under: change,fear,life,strength,uncertainty,work — Jenny @ 5:21 pm

Well, this is interesting.

A week ago, I had a different life. Then, I went away for a little bit. When I came back, everything had changed. Or at least if feels that way. Before Connecticut, I worked full-time for a credit card company—a job that I hated. After Connecticut, I’m a barista, working for Starbucks in a job I hope I’ll love. The change is a little bit scary. I’ve got a laundry list of things to stress about (if I choose to take it that far, beyond “things to just be aware of”).

The weirdest part though is how it doesn’t feel like there was a buffer between changes. Before Connecticut is abruptly different from After Connecticut. One minute, life was one way: structured, planned out in 15-minute increments, busy, safe. Then I turned my head for a moment and when I turned back, it had quickly become something less structured, almost chaotic, a little less safe. These aren’t bad things; in fact… these are things I’d wanted. I’d said time and again that I wasn’t a Cubicle Girl, or a 9-to-5er.

Listen, I’m a little stressed, okay? I’m not going to lie. I feel as though I’m facing a big unknown right now. I know that all is going to be well. Things will work out. But anytime there is a big change in our lives, a decision that we made, it’s perfectly natural to have that nagging little voice who tries to perk up and asks us, “Yeah but what if this wasn’t the right decision?” Part of me wants to know just exactly how things are going to change, because they aren’t done changing yet.

This is the scariest part of a journey. Right when you start off. It’s exciting, yet unknown. What if you get lost along the way? What if you run out of gas? What if the destination doesn’t meet your expectations? What if airport security makes you leave something behind and the next thing you know you’re in some foreign place and you can’t wash your hair?

Time to breathe. Time to let go. Expectations will be the death of us. (Or maybe just me.)

I’m feeling the pressure, the force of the wind trying to knock me down. But I feel the pressure, the force, because I’m standing up to it. My favorite yoga pose is Tree Pose. It’s the only one I do this for, but I have a mantra that I speak to myself every time we do the pose in class. I won’t give it word for word because it’s “mine” and I want to be selfish with it. But the idea behind it is that I am an immovable structure, rooted to and one with the earth. There are days where a silent wind seems to blow by me and I teeter. But I remind myself of my strength and instead of falling, I reach up and out and down at once and I am a tree and I will not be moved.

So now in my life, with resolve I branch out and I reach for greater heights. I will sway and I will bend, but I will not break. All the time, I remain deeply rooted in the earth.

This is my foundation.