Archive for June, 2008

Overwhelming gratitude

What a wonderful day. I spent all day with Liz and Bethany. I’m so lucky to have them in my life. We started out by going to Pre’s Rock and depositing my marathon finisher medals there. Steve Prefontaine is a significant inspirational force in my life and I wanted to honor him in this way. This was also our last run together and it was special. We’ve spent years of early mornings and many miles with one another, sharing our lives and the core of our selves. I don’t think I’ve really stopped to think of what my everyday will be like without them. That part hasn’t begun to sink in yet. All I know is that I love them and we have helped each other grow in so many ways and will continue to do so.

Tonight’s going away party was wonderful as well. I felt deeply grateful for all my friends and realized that I have been so blessed with wonderful friendships these last 11 years in Eugene. For whatever reason, I’m not sad that I’ll be leaving this place and these incredible people. I think it’s because they are a part of me. They live within me. How can I miss someone I carry in my heart?

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Marly graduated from FIDM last night.  I am so proud of her.  Over the past two years, she navigated the public transportation system of San Francisco, consistently held down a job and reliably showed up to work on time and when scheduled despite how busy school kept her.  She also dog-sat, house-sat, acted as a nanny for one family, all while taking a full load at school!  Not only did she complete project after project, but she excelled in their execution, impressing her peers, her teachers, and her mom.

She’s back home in Eugene for a short break before heading off to Burlington, VT, with Denton.  It’s time for rest, rejuvenation, and celebration before she starts working wonders, lighting up the visual merchandising scene like a visionary firecracker brigade!

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I am still when I am free of compulsive thinking.
I am free when I am still.

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Friday was the last day of work. I cleared out my office and my computer, saving years of resumes, files, documents, and photographs on my thumb drive. Instead of feeling nostalgic or exhilarated or relieved, I felt nothing. I think I’m exhausted from the culmination of months of selling, clearing out, and closing up shop. And there was still more to do.

I spent yesterday with Mala & Eric at our garage sale. I woke up at 5:15 and started filling Gail’s truck with stuff to sell. We spent 7 hours selling and got rid of a lot. What didn’t sell went to Good Will. I’m sunburnt and burnt-out, but I can see the finish line. It says “July”.

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Going out of business

I thought I started Craiglisting two, maybe three months ago. But when I checked the other night, my first listing was back in January. So I’ve been selling for six months! Where does the time go?

In the beginning, letting go of possessions was difficult. But I began to realize that when I thought of them as things, instead of my things, it was exponentially easier to see them walk out the door with someone who wanted them.

I’m almost finished selling everything. Yay! There’s still more, and it will all be gone by the end of the month.  The Chinese turquoise ring pictured above with braided sterling silver (925) is priced to sell at $12.  Tonight, someone is coming over for the washer and dryer, someone else for the roasting oven, and maybe someone will take the Head Art I have appreciated on the wall for so many years.  It will feel good. As more space opens in my home, more space opens within me.

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Mental training

Buddhism teaches that through mental training, we can mute destructive feelings. Through practice, we learn to override negative paths that once seemed reflexive to us. Over time and with consistent practice, we can change the structure of our brains to process the present through a positive, compassionate filter. It’s all about training the mind.

The book I just finished reading talks about scientific experiments that measured brain activity and brain states through magnetic resonance imaging. Neuroscientists were interested in the plasticity of the brain and if mental training, like meditation, could physically alter the way our brains process information. After studying monks who had clocked thousands of hours in meditation vs folks who hadn’t, the results were significant: “The plasticity of the brain’s emotion circuits is the means by which mental training can bring about enduring physical changes in the brain and hence in one’s mental and emotional state.” (242)

The pay-off in training one’s mind is internal tranquility despite external circumstances. It seems as though the Western world pays a lot of attention to keeping one’s body in shape. We reward athletes and admire their discipline. But what about mental discipline? What would it be like to continually exude compassion, serenity, and presence? I wonder how my life would change if I were to pay the same amount of attention to meditating as I do to exercising? I’m making a commitment to explore that question this year.

In other news:

  • Eugene hosted the Prefontaine Classic on Sunday. As I was taking the photo above in an empty Hayward Field, I saw a hero of mine, Maria Mutola, walk out with her coach. She won the 800m again this year at 1:59.24 and she was honored with an Outstanding Athlete Award. She is a god.
  • Ed Fine turned 41 on Sunday. Happy Birthday, Ed!
  • I’m having a garage sale with Mala next Saturday at her place.
  • I’m lucky in friends.

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