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Soy means “I am”

Cooking calms me; all its ingredients and sensual gratification organize me back into making sense, when, somehow, I’ve stopped making it. Last week, I was reading a new cook book when I remembered what I learned on the yoga mat: sometimes it’s bliss, sometimes it blows. If you can be equally as present when it blows, the bliss will find you right there and carry you.

I’d been in a surly mood for a couple of days running. Hungry for dinner, radio playing, I flipped through the book, reading snippets, and landed on a page about soy. As I began to read it, the radio announcer introduced a story about soy.

Tiny synchronicities

I love when that happens. Randomly reading about soy while just as randomly hearing it on the radio? I read a bit more till I realized there was an opportunity here. The translation of “soy” popped into my head. “I am,” I heard myself say. In Spanish, “soy” means “I am.”

I let my eyes hover over the page, its content no longer the point. “What about ‘I am’ in this moment?” I think. And immediately it reminds me that I am a part of the relationship that has been pissing me off for two days. If I materialize into it, commit to it even if it pains me (I think they call this “getting accountable”), just like on the yoga mat, then there’ll be a state change. What blows will turn blissful. I’ll be let off the hook of my anger. By seeing myself as part of the problem, part of the whole, I’m no longer out of synch. I’m flowing, stretching, seeing where I can adjust my posture, my point of view, my compassion.

Writing is listening

That was the end of the mood, and a perfect example of “Writing Is Listening.” Writing is the exercise of listening to our lives, our characters, the worlds we’re building in our stories, and assembling them into words. But if you’re tuned into the muse and listening, it’s inevitable you’ll get as much advice for your life as you do your story.

She shows up in the most curious of places. Stuck on something? Be present with the irritation, the anger, the overwhelm. Hang out with it for a while and feel it, knowing the bliss is out there in the shape of a muse who leaves answers where you least expect them.

Speaking of muses…

Our recent Story Telling Party ended with a wild and beautiful story about synchronicities between nature and death and life and magic and fear and expectation. Everyone’s stories had us perked up and listening, and settling deep into understanding of ourselves and each other in new ways. Sign up on the sidebar to receive an invite to the next Story Charming Party this February in Portland.


On budgeting. In love.

January 11, 2011

I have this story I love to tell about the day I turned my money around. I was broke. Busted, disgusted, can’t be trusted, as my college roommate used to say. So much so that I wondered if I wasn’t broke, but broken.

I was also training for a marathon. Running is free, after all. I loved the daily run. It felt like an accomplishment, not ever having been a runner before. I had unlocked the secret for myself, which was that running is a technical sport. It’s not just an activity where you throw yourself at the road, run really fast and it’s over. You can time your pace, feel each muscle, call on other muscles when those are tired. You can build your stamina by way of strengthening your heart, and you can strengthen your heart with a stretch of road and a wristwatch heart monitor.

You can also let your mind unspool out there on the path. And if you have a mind like mine, you know it’s like taking the dog out to play. You have to let it run all over the place at some point if you want to have a relaxing night.

Not love

For all I loved about running, I HATED the first mile. It’s horrible. It hurts. For the first eleven minutes of every run, I negotiated, one side a chorale spectacular resounding the suck factor and saying I was stupid for even trying. The other side just shouldered the weight, like a grim old man shoveling snow. Nobody else gonna do it ain’t no sun gonna clear it but me coffee’s gonna taste good this mornin, ‘f I don’t stroke before I git there.

So one morning, when I looked up and saw I had run two miles without so much as a peep from my choir, no aching joints, no pleading psyche, I gasped. I laughed. I searched my mind for what had occupied it so intently that I couldn’t feel the vice of my nemesis first mile.

It was my budget. I was juggling it. If I give $10 a week to x and pay my gas bill a little late, then pay y $25 every other…

Not broke

I wondered at this a second. Being broke took up every waking moment. I hated it more than I hated the first mile. But…I LIKED this juggling. It was a puzzle. My mind took it to task and I got all kinds of satisfaction being clever enough to figure it out each moment. In that moment, I was a changed woman. I decided that if I loved budgeting my debt so much, why not budget my millions? Within a few months’ time, I had queued up two job interviews at investment companies.

I got the job I wanted. My broke got healed. I’m not budgeting millions, but I’m not busted anymore either. I AM still enjoying the strategies of money.

So it occurs to me this morning to apply this to love.

The Law of Three

My dad used to tell me that I brought home strays. Which may explain why, in my late 20s, I finally instituted my Law of Three:

If the romantic interest was

Addicted (to even smoking or coffee or Tic Tacs),
On medication for depression, or
Deep in debt due to irresponsible spending

I could not date them.

Having the occasion to pull out the old Law of Three in a recent conversation, I wondered if it wasn’t a little outdated. Nope, still applies, I thought. We all have our issues, but these are the ones I personally need to stay away from.

Increasing the love budget

This morning, I stopped in my mental tracks like I did the day I was running for my money. In setting my standard here, at these bottom absolutes, am I not budgeting my debt, not my millions? If it’s all the same exercise, why don’t I juggle abundance instead of poverty? Poverty of spirit, love, vision, opportunity, happiness. Abundance of the same.

Same coin. Different side.

Same game. Different pride.

My friends, it’s a brand new awareness and I don’t know how to end this post. Seems silly to say it’s a new beginning. Jesus has the corner on that market.

Existential pie chart. Of love.

Maybe borrowing from Joseph Campbell is best here. We’re born whole. We break into pieces. We spend the rest of our journey questing for the pieces and bringing them back to the whole. Peace.

I was broke. I was broken. But that run keeps reminding me, when I’m ready, of different pieces I left behind…and where to find them.

Hm. I’m listening to Pandora right now. The lyrics, “Heaven tastes like this.”

Just looked up the song. “All That Money Wants,” by The Psychedelic Furs.

Don’t you just love serendipity?