Month: August 2007

Here I go, shooting my big mouth off again

me at Subject Line Here

Believe it or not, it’s been over a year since I’ve been on a stage. Yup, one whole year (and a summer) since Shane Nickerson organized the first L.A. blogger performance thingy I’d ever heard of, “Subject Line Here.”

Since then, Leah Peterson of LeahPeah has taken on the heinous task of riding nerd herd patrol. I was unable to attend the first gathering of L.A. Bloggers Live! because I was busy being inducted as Chief Nerd, but–gawd help us all–I’m doing this one. (I have no idea what I’m doing yet, but oh, well!)

Here’s the line up as of now:

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 22nd, at Tangier. 4 bucks cheep. Be there or be square.

Oh, wait, if you’re reading this, you probably already are…

xxx
c

What I learned on my trip to Seattle

seattle!

  1. The standards for Seattle coffee are so high that even Starbucks tastes better there.
  2. The early settlers accidentally built all of their gift shops underground.
  3. Two miles feels like 22 when it is all uphill.
  4. Mel Brooks has another big hit on his hands.
  5. Crumpets taste better by the water.
  6. Ditto cupcakes, ham & eggs, beer, coconut pie, and everything on the menu at Etta’s.
  7. If I lived there, I would have two muffin tops.
  8. From across the room, in glasses and pigtails, I am Decoy Megan Mullally.
  9. The ride to Bainbridge beats the island itself, hands down.
  10. I still like Portland best.

Hypn07, Day 30: With a whisper, not a bang

flutter

This covers day 30 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here; you can read all of the entries in chronological order here.

like butterfly wings

that create the breeze
that releases the wheel
the statue
the equation
the story
or the love inside hearts
that really moves mountains

sometimes the ending
comes quietly

but it is no less extraordinary
for coming without fanfare
or parades
or exclamation points
or punctuation
of any kind
except maybe
ellipses

if the end
is really the beginning
then maybe ellipses
are the only way to go…

xxx
c

Image by darrin170 via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Hypn07, Day 29: A place where everybody knows your name

wonderful world

This covers day 29 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here; you can read all of the entries in chronological order here.

As I’ve mentioned before, most people wouldn’t know it to look at me, but my self-esteem usually hovers between weak and non-existent. I’ve made up for my shortfall in this area the way I suspect most people like me do, with a combination of bluster, good face and lotsa hustle.

But I’m finally realizing the need to address this core issue of lack head on. I mean, I can continue with the tap dancing, but Jesus God, it’s exhausting, and I suspect that energy could be put to more productive use. Besides, using the team or “hive mind” theories of advancement (the latter of which is maybe more appropriate to a discussion about sub-personalities), isn’t it just way more efficient to utilize all of your resources? If I’m really interested in moving things forward, wouldn’t a few extra bodies help?

So, how to get there? Well, first you get that 98-lb. weakling, self-esteem, in my case, into training. There’s no end to methods for tackling this, but they seem to boil down to two: (1) do what you can with what you’ve got; and (2) act as-if about the rest (I can’t find it right now, but Steve Pavlina has a terrific podcast about using as-if to get you from where you are to where you want to go).

One critical component of moving forward is support. I’ve got a few things already in place, a file of You Go, Grrrl! emails and suchlike to sift through when I get down, and a short list of people to call on when I just plain need comforting. But these are relics of places I’ve been, and chroniclers of events I’ve been through; how does one get to the next step? How do you stay “up” as you turn your attention to the big places you want to get to when all you have is this poor, 98-lb. weakling to escort you?

Apparently, you solicit the support of the people who are already there: your heroes and idols, the people you admire who are farther (waaaaay farther) down the path you’d like to travel.

For the record, I had no idea what Greg was going to do on this last day together. And, like many of our experiments (including, if I’m honest, this whole Hypnotherapy Project itself), I might not have agreed to it had I known what the getting-there would be like. A lot of this is really hard emotional work, even if it does leave you feeling great afterwards.

On Friday, he put me under and brought me to a large room. And one by one, all of my heroes and idols came to me and said a few words: some, of encouragement; some, of advice; some, just a “hello”. Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King. I met old teachers and bosses, leaders whose skills I admire even more now that I’m learning how to lead. I met Oprah and Barack Obama. And at the very end, my core of support, my parents and my paternal grandparents, whose approval and admiration meant more than anyone’s to me, came out to greet me. I’m weeping now as I write about it, but believe me, I was weeping more then, and from the start. Wave upon wave of love and support and the power of the ages swept over me; it’s a good thing Greg picked a Friday, is all I have to say.

Well, of course, that’s not all I have to say. I have to say this: we are not alone in our quest. We are supported, all of us, by some invisible (but no less real for it) web of energy that flows between us now, and through us to all people of all time. It’s right there, right there, all the time, ready to tap into whenever we need it.

The trick, of course, is letting ourselves do it. It’s so easy to get closed off as we navigate through our super-sped up world. It’s easy to be a grownup and hard to be an adult who accepts that a part of herself is eternally childlike. But I am, and you are. You are still that child inside who, hopefully, had a time of wonder and wide-open imagination. And if you did, you can go there anytime and experience the greatness of the All-That-Is.

I don’t live there all the time; I’m not sure if it’s a good thing to do that. But to know it’s there, to understand that at the core, we are love and love is all that matters, and to live with that knowledge all the time, well, I’m not there yet, either, but I can start to see what it will be like.

And it is the most beautiful, beautiful thing of all.

xxx
c

Photomosaic by MontanaRaven, from 36 Flickr photos by other contributors, via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license. For the record, I couldn’t link directly to the Flickr page with that image, so I created a workaround URL; it says http://xrl.us/wonderful, but it redirects to her Flickr page.

Hypn07, Day 28: No one wants the party to be over

best friends

This covers day 28 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here; you can read all of the entries in chronological order here.

A funny thing happened at the end of my last week: I started flipping out about the whole thing ending.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew I’d find plenty of use for all of that extra time I’d be getting back come Monday. (The project was due to end on Saturday, a “tape day” for me, so much less of a time commitment.) But I’d come to rely on and look forward to this everyday therapy, this daily confab with a good friend who was also on the path but whose job at this juncture was taking care of me.

I am not used to being the one taken care of, or cared for, you see. This became abundantly clear during my five-month incarceration in Cedars Sinai and my own apartment while recovering from my Crohn’s onset. As I’ve discussed before, when you’re unable to walk up a flight of stairs sans assistance, you learn pretty fast what it’s like having people help you out. (Topline: hard, at least for some of us.)

Add to that what my actual shrink calls my (lack-of-)entitlement issues, and you can see where this time with Greg was some heady stuff. Talking when I wanted to talk, about myself and some high-level, non-immediate issues, it was like being a sophomore in college again, only with someone way smarter and more experienced, who mainly wanted to talk about you.

I got a little lax in that last week. My notes are sketchy in those last few days, and I was busy enough to feel okay with putting off my updates until I wasn’t so busy. Greg’s notes are sketchy, too, but he has down that we did a live recap of the doorways trip, which makes sense since Thursdays are big days for me and Day 28 was a Thursday.

Four weeks of intensive growth is splendid, but a bit overwhelming. And writing from four days after the whole shebang is over, I can see that while things have begun to shift in this heady time, the real growth will happen much as it always does, slowly and over the long term.

At which point, of course, it will seem to have happened all at once. The 10-year overnight success, personal growth edition.

xxx
c

Image by tobym via Flickr
, used under a Creative Commons license.

Hypn07, Day 27: My kingdom for a cookie

cookies

This covers day 27 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here; you can read all of the entries in chronological order here.

When I first worked with Greg over a year ago, it was (ostensibly) to help me get back on the SCD, the diet I use to control my Crohn’s disease. The dang recording he made me worked so well, though, that I immediately told him we should not waste one more second on the diet stuff, I’d take care of that on my own time, but that we should start poking around to see what other enormo-changes we could effect.

Fast-forward to one year later. I’m back off the diet (big time) and in need of a tape that’s not a tape, or what I like to call “a digital file.” So yesterday, we made me a new recording to keep me off the bread and sugar, chocolate and potatoes, rice and soybeans.

Now, I’m fairly brutal with myself: I can force me to do an awful lot. But after a while, this makes life not so much fun and me not so much fun to be around, so to find this lovely, elegant way of doing an end run around myself at the ripe old age of 46 is pretty damned extraordinary. Hypnosis swiftly connects the needed action to the uber-goal, a really handy trick when it comes to delaying gratification. (And in case you hadn’t noticed, a plate of fresh-cut fries from In-and-Out Burger is awfully gratifying in the now.)

It’s up to me to commit, and to reinforce the good lessons learned and habits begun during these almost-30 days with Greg. But I think I’ll probably continue to check in with the blog about my progress in the weeks and months to come.

Partly because it might be illuminating for you. Mostly because it will be honest-making for me…

xxx
c

Image by newyork808 via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Hypn07, Day 26: Teachers are just professional students

The school marm

This covers day 26 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I’m collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here; you can read all of the entries in chronological order here.

I didn’t talk about it, I guess, but I was wicked sick this June. As in, flat-on-my-back, no-work-for-two weeks, lost-my-voice-for-two-days sick.

And it didn’t stop at two weeks because of course, after two weeks of being confined to my quarters, I started to lose my mind and had to get out, had to start working. So as a result, some five (or is it six?) weeks later, I’m still a little sick, I won’t die, but this chest congestion will not leave, and at the end of the day, I start to get a little Brenda Vaccaro-ish around the vowels.

I’ve never really talked about this, either, I guess, but when I was sick with my Crohn’s onset, the real onset, after I’d been hospitalized and diagnosed and to me, the worst of it (the not-knowing) was over, I really embraced my illness. I remembered my mom talking about embracing her cancer this way, and thought she was flippin’ nuts, but once I was really and truly Sick, I got it: you have to make peace with everything that’s in you, because even if it’s only temporary, it’s a part of you. (And by “you,” as the Youngster likes to say, I do mean “me.” So if it’s not your thing, I apologize, and I totally get that we all do this differently.)

Someday I’ll scan them in, but for now, I’ll just tell you about the two spiral notebooks full of drawings I made of my colon, where the Crohn’s was centered. I don’t know what inspired me to do it; I think it might have been wanting to acquaint myself with a part of me where there was a whole lot going on that I couldn’t see. The summer had been one, long, scary mystery, and there was a peaceful kind of control I felt just drawing my colon.

I didn’t draw it as perfect and rosy-pink; I drew it with “bugs”, the bacteria I believed had triggered the Crohn’s, and hearts, all the very toxic but potent meds they were pumping into me to stop the immune response. And as I drew them everyday, I thanked the bugs for teaching me what I needed so much to learn, and told them they could go now because there were some new, different bugs to take their place. (I put myself on heavy doses of acidopholus, and, once I was up to making it, SCD-legal yogurt.)

Greg and I started this Hypno Project a little late because of this new teacher that had shown up. It might be my teacher, but infections being what they are, it could still make Greg sick, too. And early on in our sessions, while I was under Greg asked if maybe the Teacher might be willing to leave; she demurred, saying (rightfully) that I was a little willful and she wasn’t comfortable taking off entirely. He got her to agree to perhaps a sabbatical, and she agreed to pack and plan the date.

Yesterday, he talked to the Teacher again for the first time in awhile. She’s still not willing to go, and was a little defensive about the need to stay. Hell, she was defensive about everything, and it was pretty clear she felt like persona non grata in the kingdom.

So Greg did an interesting thing: he invited the rest of the crew to come and say “hi” to the Teacher. One by one, they all popped in and damned if every last one of them wasn’t fine with her. They all knew it wasn’t anything personal; like the rest of them, she was just there doing her job.

Even as I was talking, because I am always aware that it’s me talking, I thought it was a little strange that I was taking on the personality of this cold/flu/whatever that nailed me to the wall. But of course, it’s not really about that; it’s about me giving myself permission to be sick, to be flawed, to be imperfect. About taking my sweet time to learn my lessons, even though I know I “should” get them faster by now.

I finally (kind of) got that I will always have the Teacher around in some form, because it’s my job to be the student. Of course, I’m going to keep working towards the lessons being a little more fun and a little less painful, but if I ever have no Teacher, it means I’m Done.

And you know, for as much as being sick can be a pain in the rear…or the lungs…or wherever, I’m really not ready to be Done yet.

xxx
c

Image by Robem via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.