Roll With The Punches

Life

2017 was such a shitty year for me that I decided that my mantra for 2018 would be “Roll With The Punches.” It turned out to serve me very well. To be honest, I didn’t get punched very much in 2018. Or if I did, I don’t remember the sting. In which case, the mantra really did serve me very well.

I feel like I learned and grew a lot this year as a human. I was very introspective and did a lot of self reflection via the Tarot and journaling. I enjoyed sketching everyday.

So what exactly does “Roll with the punches” mean for me, after a year of living it? It means acceptance. It means acceptance of everything, good or bad. Just lean into everything. Don’t ignore the bad stuff. Don’t ignore the anger, the grief, the sadness, or the pain, just because it’s an uncomfortable experience. Invite it in and ask it what it has to teach you.

I think the biggest example of this lesson for me this year was when I sprained my knee. It was very tempting to be angry with the turn of events and get down on myself for not being able to exercise. But when it happened I decided that I was just going to accept the circumstances. So instead of getting angry and upset I kind of enjoyed moving around the world more slowly and noticing things I wouldn’t normally notice because I’m usually rushing around. I don’t want to say that hurting my knee has been a blessing but in a way it kind of has. It shook things up and changed my world for awhile.

I feel like, learning this lesson, I’ve unlocked an achievement (if life was a video game). I feel happier than I’ve been in ages. I have learned that I can be happy even when I’m sad. That’s kind of a neat trick.

Here is my 1 Second Everyday video for 2018. Happy New Year! I hope 2019 brings happiness and peace to all of your lives.

NYE Reflection – goodbye 2017

Life

I’m just going to get this out right here at the start: This was a year of letting go, of losing things that I’ve taken for granted. It was a painful year, starting with the loss of President Obama, and not knowing where our country was going to go with President Voldemort in power (sorry, I still can’t speak his name and “president” in the same sentence). It was an anxiety-ridden, painful fucking year.

I don’t want to go on about the losses because that isn’t where I want to go with this post. But I just have to say that, damn, it hurt when Newspace closed. It still really hurts to think about it. I did not see that coming. I had lots of plans to utilize that space, to improve my darkroom printing skills and, boom, it was just gone in a weekend. The good news is that the awesome equipment was saved by some Newspace volunteers and The Portland Darkroom was started  and they are doing a great job. It’s not really something I am able to use at this point in time but I’m glad they are there. Still, I really miss the easy accessibility of Newspace. I miss that space.

The fire in the Gorge was another devastating blow. We’re still are unable to visit all of our favorite waterfalls and I’m not sure when they will reopen. So there is that. But life, renewal, new growth, etc, etc. We will be able to go back there someday. Nature is stronger than the stupidity of humans.

The theme continues: Our sangha is losing it’s lovely space because the owner of the building is selling. But, again, there is the theme of renewal here: we will end up in a fantastic space that may end up being better than what we have now (though some of our conveniences will be gone but that is OK. We will work it out). I’m actually kind of excited about this new space and have even envisioned us being in that space! It’s kind of cool to see this manifesting.

The List Of Bad Things kind of goes on an on, but I want to stop there. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Roll With The Punches is my new motto and I think this year has taught me to do that. I just got so tired of getting upset at everything. It was exhausting. I’m not saying I’m going to not feel upset. Fake positivity is unhealthy and I don’t even think I am capable of that because I feel ALL THE FEELINGS.  I think the key for me is to feel the feeling and then let it go. Not dwell on it. Don’t get caught up in that horrible recursive loop of negativity. Instead, find the silver lining and move on.

What I really want to do here is focus on the highlights and there were some wonderful highlights! One of them was meeting an internet friend in person that I’ve known for more than 10 years. We had such an amazing time catching up and I hope that we will have many more real life chats in the future. Another highlight was  running  a half marathon! And I beat my time from last year!  Also, I got to display my pinhole photography at the library, which has been a great honor. And the total solar eclipse! OMG. That falls under a highlight of my life, and I wasn’t even in the path of totality! I’m making it a mission to see the next total eclipse in a few years. And finally, I was profoundly moved by the women’s march, and continue to be moved the the #metoo movement. The bravery of the women who have come forward is empowering. I feel like this has been the year of Don’t Fuck With Women and it is amazing. This collective empowerment has empowered me on a personal level, as well. And I go into 2018 filled with optimism and hope for the future.

Happy New Year to all of you, my friends! Here’s to a fantastic 2018! May we all have less punches to roll with.

Oh! And here is my One Second A Day video:

I had a lot of chocolate croissants in 2017!

Goodbye 2016

Life

Last month, after the devastating election results, I had dinner with a couple of wonderful women at a friend’s house. After dinner my friend wanted to do an activity. She had this fun paper with a rainbow printed on it as background decoration. She wanted us to make a list of all of the good things that happened this past year. She thought this was a great way to get our minds off of the possibly terrifying future.  It totally worked. As soon as I started writing I could think of dozens of really great things that I experienced in 2016.

Starting with the death of David Bowie and ending with the death of Princess Leia, with Brexit and Trump in between, we have all been through a lot of bad stuff.  If I can be honest, this is probably only the beginning of our troubles since we are facing 4 years of god knows what. However, instead of reliving the awful things (as our brains are biologically programmed to do) I would prefer to rise up against my lizard brain and look at the positive.

So  here we go. The good parts of 2016, with pictures. (It probably goes without saying, but click the photo for details)

Other highlights not pictured:

There. I feel better already.

Here’s hoping 2017 will be equally as great, if not a million times better.

Happy New Year, friends! May you be peaceful, well, safe, and happy in the new year.

Goodbye 2015

Life

This has been a good year for me. It was very introspective. It was kind of spiritual. It was very peaceful. I did a lot of meditating and reading. I did a lot of questioning and sitting back and observing and being in the moment.  I did a lot of learning about myself.

Here are some highlights:

  • WEZC. OK, I am not supposed to brag about these things but something happened this past year in which I played a very minor part but I am so proud of it. It is this: I helped found a zen center. This past year the little sitting group that I belong to became an actual, government approved, zen center. I am on the board of directors and played a very, very minor roll in this but, still. I have been with this group from the very beginning and I have seen it grow.  I can’t wait to see where the next 6 years take us. It’s been really amazing to watch this whole thing blossom. And the people in this group are some of my dearest friends. I just couldn’t be more proud of us.
  • Reading, reading, reading. First of all, I read like a motherfucker this year!! 61 books!!  granted, most were kids books or graphic novels, but still. some of them were very adult. It’s really hard to pick a favorite because I read some really good books. I am going to have to go with a three way tie between Enduring Love, Dune, and Kafka On The Shore.
  • I became a vegetarian. Again. Aside from a couple of blips I’ve been sticking with it pretty well. I actually don’t miss meat at all. Well maybe I miss bacon a little.
  • Next Best Thing Pinhole Project. I continued contributing to the Next Best Thing Pinhole Project this past year! It was such an honor to participate and be among such talent.
  • Drawing. I was really into sketching this year and I enjoyed it immensely. I developed a practice of drawing something everyday and the practice has helped me become more mindful. And then *poof* my desire to draw left me. I am very sad about this. I would like to try to rekindle this desire in the coming year.
  • Poetry! I signed up for a poetry writing course via WordPress and manged to write a poem every single day for two weeks. And I published them all on this blog. I really enjoyed these two weeks. I enjoyed the creative challenge and it is fantastic to have a little something to show for it.
  • 100 Days Project. I posted something here on my blog everyday for 100 days. I really enjoyed doing that and I will plan on doing it again next year, but I think I will pick a different time of year. I am probably going to have the time-frame coincide with my trip to Barcelona next year. I have truly enjoyed all of the great conversation these past 100 days! I have done a lot of brain grappling on this blog over the years and, especially over the past few months, and I appreciate that it generated thoughtful conversation from you. You have all made me think and grow. Thank you for that!

I have been scrolling through the posts on my blog over the past year and I realize that I went through some rough patches of depression, so there were some not so great moments. But this is life. I have made it through these rough patches and today I am feeling good. I am happy and I am looking forward to a great year in 2016!

Since today marks the last post of my 100 Days project, I’m thinking that I might take January off from blogging, to give myself a break. We’ll see. I might miss it too much to take the whole month off. I’d like to take some time for myself, maybe develop my drawing practice again.

In the mean time, I wish you all a fantastic, and safe, New Years Eve. And may you have a peaceful and joyful 2016!

P.S. the video is my 1 Second Every Day project. I have been doing this now for 3 years. It is a compilation of 1 second from each day of 2015. 

2012

Life

Me and Paris

Visiting Paris = The highlight of my life.

I had an amazing year. Finally. A year that was all good. I can’t think of anything to complain about regarding the past year, and for this I am grateful (’cause the past several years have been kinda painful. Thanks for the break, Universe!)

Travel. If someone had told me a year ago that I would visit France in the coming year I would have called them a liar. But I DID IT! I went to France! And I loved it! And now I want to go back. And I want to visit ALL THE PLACES.

Photography. I had a lot of fun this year with it. I always do but exploring film photography was super fun. I will be doing more of it in the coming year. First on the list of things to do: develop my own film already! (taking it in to be developed is breaking the bank. I need my money to visit ALL THE PLACES.)

Running. I have had an on again/off again relationship with running for most of my life. Regardless, It is my favorite form of exercise and it is important to me. My big running goal has been to run 5 miles. This goal, for whatever reason, had eluded me. Not anymore! This past summer I finally reached that milestone and even surpassed it! Yay me!

Blogging. I moved my blog to WordPress.com about a year ago and in the process have been plugged into an amazing blogging community, the likes of which I haven’t seen in years. I have seriously enjoyed “meeting” and getting to know all of you! And I continue to enjoy being introduced to many amazing and inspiring blogs. Also, I managed to blog everyday this year! Well except for that one day in August. But it’s JUST ONE. Hmm. It appears missed a day in June as well. so two days. I missed TWO DAYS out of an entire year. Do I get a medal? No? oh well. It was nice to check in everyday here. For the most part, it was a very positive experience. I might do it again next year. Or I might take a tiny break. We’ll see.

Favorites of 2012.

Two favorite books:

Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins

Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art

Read them both. They are excellent.

Three favorite albums

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The Heist

Caravan Palace: Panic

Grimes: Visions 

Happy new year!!!