Posts Tagged ‘enlightenment’

November 25

I’ve had readers ask me why I haven’t written Day 365.  It didn’t begin as intentional – I didn’t mean to skip the last day.  I wasn’t ignoring it.  In a way, I wasn’t thinking about it at all.  But then I realized the obligation of writing a daily blog was a kind of practice in meditation – I have been focusing on writing like I focus on meditative breathing; and since I am a beginner at meditation – liable for straying from focus – I would make it a practice to return to the breath, so to speak, to get back on track.  It has been quite a commitment to open myself up to this discovery, or discoveries, that I have hoped would bring me to a higher level of consciousness and enlightenment.

When I realized the analogy of meditation, while it’s equally important to commit to meditation on a daily basis, I also realized that to a Buddhist, days melt together into an infinite stretch.  What is time, anyway?  It’s a measurement man had created for himself – really for farming purposes.  I’m not suggesting there’s no purpose or ceremony in an individual day, but, rather, each day is like a wave on an ocean.  We don’t always look out to the sea and see every single wave that rises, crests and falls.  But those waves are out there, they matter, they keep the rhythm of the ocean alive, they are constant and they follow a larger source and rhythm that we don’t even see.  Most of us don’t even feel it, which is sad.  But, I do.  Feel the source (not see every wave!).  And, thus, are my days – 344, 362, 365, whatever.  It doesn’t really matter.  My journey began long before the blog and my evolution continues to excelerate well past that missed day.

I was going to go back and write it, but when I was collecting the written entries to work this blog into a book project I’m hoping to get published, I realized I had accidentally skipped a day.  So, I’m actually two days short.

But, kind reader, don’t be dismayed that I have skipped or missed two days.  I am not dismayed, myself.  Those blanks, too, have served their purpose in my story.

If there must be some kind of closure to the 365 Days Until Love blog, however, let it be this…

Jane Goodall once wrote:
I have found that to love and to be loved is the most empowering and exhilirating of all human emotions.

And that applies to love in all of its manifestations.

John Denver wrote a song (perfomed with opera’s legendary tenor Placido Domingo) called Perhaps Love.  I write the lyrics below (without permission):

(Placido Domingo)
Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don’t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

(John Denver)

(Placido Domingo)
Oh, Love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel

(John Denver)
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel

(Placido Domingo)
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don’t know

(John starts joined by Placido)
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside
Thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

(Placido Domingo)
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go

(John Denver)
And some say love is everything
Some say they don’t know

(John starts joined by Placido)
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

When Denver wrote the song he was thinking about all the ways he experienced love.  He thought about what all people must think of love, and the song came to him effortlessly.  A turning point for him, as an artist and musician, happened when he listened to Domingo sing the song with him in a live concert.  Denver was deeply impressed by the way Domingo sang his lyrics, which, thus, changed the way Denver sang his own songs from there on.  He had said, “when Placido sang the word steel, you felt steel.  When he sang the word cloud, you felt a cloud.”

And that is how I consider my work, now, moving forward, as an artist and as a humble woman – daughter, sister, friend, lover – to say what I mean and mean what I say, to feel and express myself deeply and fully, and to have strength in my love and loving.  And this I mean for love in all of its beautiful manifestations.





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Tuesday, April 29
11:37 p.m.

I overslept this morning – a function of a cold coming on.  Not so surprising after a business trip and airplane travel.

I left work in the afternoon for a meeting with a videographer to discuss a marketing opportunity.  We had a really great chat that extended beyond the business meeting and covered topics like heritage, culture, society, literature and cinema, family, and so on.  But it was more, I felt myself connecting on the very themes that have been orbiting my life these days.

I find myself connecting with people on themes of consciousness, enlightenment and compassion more and more often.  These aren’t just principles and values that I am reading about in the spiritual books I have been drawn to, but, rather, I feel a kinetic energy in the universe that it infectious.  It’s remarkable to hear other people experiencing this, too.

Just this night I met a woman in my gym and we had a long conversation about the state of the world and these very themes, the sense of urgency for the world to wake up, this sense of faith in humanity to stand up for what’s right, to work for peace, toward saving the environment, and, most importantly, reaching out for the change in the world that is to come.  You can sense it and feel it – there is an undeniable wave of change that is moving toward us with such force and promise.  Everyone I have been meeting and chatting with has been feeling this, too.  It’s amazing, it’s encouraging and it’s the stuff that’s making so many believers want to participate, to get involved and to do their part.  It is the birth of hope.

After working out, I had a nice chat with our property manager about developing a community garden for those of us who want to plant fruit, veggies and herbs – she seemed keen on the idea and said she’d look into it.  I walked off smiling from ear to ear.  Another step toward improving the environment and a chance to build a grander sense of community. 

I drove over to Pacific Breeze with my book in tow to work on edits.  I hadn’t been there in awhile.  I ordered Vietnamese garden rolls and a comforting bowl of Pho.  When I got home my cold was coming on full force – I became very congested with an annoying runny nose, itchy-red eyes and terrible sneezing.  I wasn’t sure if I was experiencing a cold or if this was my myserious non-allergic rhinitis.  I took a Claritan-D and after 11 p.m. I still wasn’t feeling improved.  I downed a lot of water, a cup of Yogi Bedtime tea to stay hydrated.  This icky feeling would soon pass.  I stretched and took in deep breaths stemming from my chest and burgeoning forth through my mouth, meditating toward balance.


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Friday, April 11
11:49 p.m.

Well, the good news was that it was Friday and we were in for some killer weather, beginning with this afternoon.  When I left the house this morning, it was clear out but cold, around 45 degrees.  By lunchtime it was already in the mid sixties.  The weekend forecast called for a mid to high 70’s on Saturday and high 60’s on Sunday.    Amen.

I got my best night of sleep this week last night.  I went to bed just after midnight and woke up at 7:15 this morning.  An improvement, for sure. 

I had a great meeting today to go over our wine fact sheets with our winemaker, assistant winemaker and vineyard manager.  I really like this crew and would love to do more work with them.  They are smart guys, I always learn a lot from them, and I just love collaborating to discuss the previous vintage, the vineyards, the winemaking, etc.

I left work a little early to meet some colleagues to go over our upcoming San Francisco trip for the Wine Literary Awards and a separate Oregon tasting we’re planning for a small, select group of media.  One of the ladies had to be in Portland, so we met at Clyde Common at 5 p.m. to go over our program, the logistics, etc.  It was a great meeting and I have a lot of follow up work to do on Monday, but I am excited about what we’re doing and feel really great about collaborating with this smart, savy group of women in wine.  We ordered some bubbly and a couple of small plates while we worked.

After, we lingered and ordered dinner and a round of cocktails.  I had a very well made Manhattan, with Makers Mark, which seems to be my spring drink of the moment, with lovely orange peel.  I ordered the rabbit for dinner and a fresh, seasonal side salad.  For desert I had the pot de creme and a cup of Stumptown coffee.

We chatted about love, relationships and heartbreaks.  Since we’re going to San Fran in a couple of weeks, I told the story of how I met the eel, and the girls loved it.  It was fun to recount an interesting encounter.  I don’t date much, so it’s the most interesting story I had to offer.

My friends know about my lingering heartache over a break-up that occurred three years ago.  I know it’s kind of silly, or sad, depending on your perspective.  But, I have only loved two people in my life, and well, my ex was the second and last.  I don’t know, whenever I start talking about love and dating, I freeze up and default to the “I had it once and I’m not sure I’ll ever have it again; I let it slip away, I let it go away.”  And, to be truthful, I haven’t gotten over it.

My sinuses began to act up.  Funny how heartache can do that.  I find that my sinuses act up around my monthly cycle, and that is actually a symptom of non-allergic rhinitis, which I don’t quite understand.  I only know that I often need Claritan-D to clear up.  It’s really bizarre.  The combo of Claritan-D and Breathe Right Nose Strips seem to be the only solution for me for breathing at night.  Anyway, I don’t understand how my rhinitis response is non-allergic, as I sneeze, get congested,  itchy eyes, a terribly runny nose, sinus pressure and headache.  Allergic symptoms.  Only, after two scratch tests in a year, I have no signs of traditional allergies.  Is it possible I’m allergic to agents in the air that aren’t included in those scratch tests?  Well, duh.  That’s what I think!

But, they say at least one in three people with rhinitis have no allergies.  Explain that one to me!  Non-allergic rhinitis usually afflicts adults and causes year-round symptoms, especially runny nose and nasal congestion, which is my biggest complaint. This problem differs from allergic rhinitis because the immune system does not seem to be involved. Unfortunately, there’s not a good understanding of why non-allergic rhinitis occurs, so I am without answers and preventative measures.  The symptoms are mostly triggered by strong smells, pollution, smoke and other irritants.  It’s also linked to oral contraceptives, which I have been on since I was twenty, prescribed for medical reasons and not birth control (heavy, painful periods that could be linked to potential endometriosis).  I don’t think my celiac disease is linked to the rhinitis, but, for certain, my deviated septum doesn’t help.

I need to schedule an appointment with the doctor in Portland that was referred to me by the allergist I went to in January.  I kept putting the appointment off because of my health insurance, but I think I really need to schedule that appointment sooner than later.

Kerry met us for dinner and we went for a walk after dinner.  I was still quite reflective, quietly and to myself, about the pain of failed love.  I can’t help but to beat myself up for love that went wrong, even though I know that’s wrong of me.  I can’t help but to miss my ex and wish things had been different.

Pema Chodron says of love that will not die:  In difficult times , it is only bodhichitta that heals.  When inspiration has become hidden, when we feel ready to give up, this is the time  when healing  can be found in the tenderness of pain itself.  This is the time to touch the genuine heart of bodhichitta.

Bodhichitta, in Buddhism, is the wish to attain complete enlightenment (Buddhahood), in order to be of benefit to all sentient beings (beings who are trapped in cyclic existence and have not yet reached Buddhahood).   Bodhichitta translates to “awakening” or “enlightenment”, and also refers to “mind of enlightenment” or “spirit of awakening”.

As for matters of the heart, I am still on my bodhichitta quest, I am on a path to understanding the meaning of my heartaches, heartbreaks or even harmony in love, and am close, I think, to reaching a state of enlightenment and awakening.  I still have much to learn, but in experiencing my heartaches, heartbreaks and harmonies in love, I am able to get to a greater place of compassion and understanding of what those loves were meant to teach me, to bring to my life, to awaken me to, and to allow me to experience the senses, emotions and spirituality of love.  I am not there yet, but in allowing myself to heal and experience the loss and heartbreak of my last break-up, well, I am gaining enlightenment, I hope.

What’s interesting about this Buddhist concept is the placement of samsara (the entrapment of cyclic existence) ; the goal of Buddhist practice is primarily for an individual to escape from samsāra with the aspiration to be reborn infinite numbers of times to liberate all those other beings still trapped in samsāra.

Where I give myself credit, I do not go from one relationship to the next.  I am not trapping myself in cycles of bad or unhealthy behavior, of putting myself in obvious situations that are wrong for me, that would ultimately lead to getting my heart broken all over again.  I am not making the poor choices.  I am not falling for the men who are emotionally or spiritually unavailable.

It has been three years since that break-up, since I lost that love, since my heart was broken.  And I have not repeated mistakes.  I have virtually given in to myself and sought to seek self-love, healing, enlightenment and compassion.

According to Pema Chodron’s message on love that won’t die, I am on the right path.

In my present, I admit that I was brought to tears tonight.  In part, admittedly, from the hormonal influx caused by my monthly cycle, and I’ll even blame my poor sleep patterns during the work week, and stress, in general; but, this happens when I get into deep conversations with my friends about love.  It’s the same dialog – that I don’t believe I will love like that again.  My friends correct me and assure me as soon as I am ready to let go of the heartache of the past, I need to take risks and allow myself to open up to the possibility of loving fully again.

Insert Dione Warwick’s 70’s hit “I know I’ll Never Love This Way Again,” which is sadly applicable to my woes.  On a side note, back in 1979, when that song came out, my sister and I used to roller skate to this ballad ( I was 5 and she was 7) – it was my sister’s favorite song.  Every time I hear it, I actually think of her and miss her (which it seems like she’s a million miles away in Chattanooga).  In some way, I think this song also describes my feelings for her – she is truly the oldest and longest love of my life and always will be – she’s my best friend, my confident and as I listen to this song, I miss her so much and realize I will never love anyone like I love my sister.  What a special relationship and blessing I have to have my sister.  Okay, I started crying again.  Geeeezzzeeee!!!  Funny thing is, I know when she reads this paragraph she’s going to start crying, too.  I expect a phone call within the next 24 hours!!

Okay, clearly I am on an emotional roller coaster this evening.  I am missing my sister,  I am sad or perhaps nostalgic over the love I lost three years ago.  So, I have not achieved bodhichitta yet.  But, I think I am on my way.  And, at minimum, I am grateful that I have the capacity to love and feel so deeply.  How sad is it to live a cold, frozen life without the ability to experience full, deep emotion.  My ex never loved another, he admitted he couldn’t, and still it haunts me at how sad it is that this man could not allow himself to experience the fullness of love, the joy, beauty and blessing of love.  And all because of fear.

As frightened as I am to love again, or, more, to potentially hurt again, I am at least satisfied that I have, indeed loved.  Fully, deeply, passionately, whole-heartedly and unconditionally.  So, I can’t be that bad or behind in the matters of the heart.

Through my compassion and path to enlightenment, I recognize how fragile we are.  We are all such babies when it comes to love, to the risk of putting the heart out there, we are so vulnerable and tender and delicate.  It makes me realize how careful I must be with another’s heart.  I am guilty of being flippant, arrogant, even coarse in the early stages of dating or loving.  And I vow to be more careful, to be more compassionate and gentle.  If that is what I am to learn from enduring my own pain and suffering, well, that alone has made me a better, kinder person.

So, I’ll be okay.  I will continue to heal and grow.  And, I will love this way again.  (I have replayed Dione’s song on youtube.com over and over again…).




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Friday, April 4
11:53 p.m.

My head was all a-buzz with the wisdom shared by Elizabeth Gilbert last night.  It was refreshing to hear her share more stories, including the ones about her first book tour (a couple of books before Eat, Pray, Love), and how she’d arrive at bookshops where forty seats were pulled out and only one person showed up, only, he didn’t really show up, he was that weird, creepy guy who lingers at the book store (you know that guy).  That was her recollection, and, ultimately, she was quite humbled by the concert hall sized turn-outs she’s now commanding.

I loved how she admitted to her lack of discipline regarding meditation, as in the ‘Pray’ part of her book, she was at an Ashram in India doing quite a lot of that.  It just goes to show that it’s impossible to be perfectly balanced and practicing everything that makes an enlightened person, well, alight.  It made me feel better about my inability to stick with my meditation every day.  Still, I hope to improve.  I’m always trying to improve!

She’s a good role model for me.  I really related to her stories about always knowing she wanted to be a writer.  Yup.  I have plenty of my story telling early days well preserved in my memory – like when I was in third grade and on the days we had show-and-tell, and I forgot to bring something in, I would still raise my hand and go to the front of the class to tell…a story, or rehash a weird dream I had the night before, fully embellishing it for added drama.  I had quite an imagination.  In fact, I still have at home copies of miniture books I’d write, most notably The Frozen Lake’s Blue Tint, a paranormal story about a girl who drowned in a lake by her family’s cabin in the Virginia mountains.  It was inspired by Disney’s The Watcher in the Woods, especially the part when the main character, Jan, is at one point underwater caught on a branch in a stream, which gave me nightmares.

Anyway, her lecture sparked in me the ember that has always burned inside me, and that is the desire to create stories, to write.

It had been a long week.  I didn’t leave work until 6:45 – for a Friday, that’s late.  I was going to go for a walk-in pedicure near by home and then stay in and watch movies.  On my way home, I was persuaded to grab sushi for dinner.   I was going to meet Kerry at Bay 13 in the Pearl District.  I arrived first and grabbed a couple of seats at the bar.  I ordered a Manhattan and nibbled on a plate of tangy ceviche that was served with citrus, cilantro and Taro chips until Kerry arrived.  We ordered a couple sushi rolls, the Rainbow Roll of tuna, salmon, Hamachi, crab and avocado, and the Bay 13 Roll of salmon, Wakame, Daikon Sprouts and Black Tobiko.  The bartender kindly brought me a bottle of wheat-free/gluten-free Tamari sauce.

Seated at the bar next to us was a really nice guy who owns a small winery in the Gorge.  We ended up chatting with him for an hour or so.  Kerry and I shared a Millennium Farms green salad with a light, sweet lemon dressing.  We sampled his Cabernet, which was delightful – it was medium bodied with nice hints of vanilla, cream, dark fruits, spice and white pepper.  It would pair beautifully with a number of foods.

After dinner, I drove home and was welcomed by Shadow.  He mewed at me and rubbed up against my leg and I brought him some food, then fed my kitties and then watched ABC’s Nightline.  I stretched and did some simple yoga poses and stretches, then sipped on Yogi Bedtime tea.  I didn’t have any tension and felt immense gratitude for what I have in my life. 

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Wednesday, April 2
9:37 p.m.

So I have decided to do some casting calls to make some extra cash – both in print photo shoots (oh, nothing glamourous – just local businesses needed a thirty-something, attractive wife sitting at a banker’s desk with her husband, or at a computer in an office) and as an extra in locally shot films.  I need to beef up my savings account.  I used to model in DC back in the 90’s – again, just local stuff.  I’m hoping to do some head shots – for local skin products (all natural markets, etc.).  I was an extra in a few movies filmed in DC, including The Replacements , which was filmed at the Baltimore Ravens stadium, starring Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman.  And when I worked for PBS, back in 1998, I was on-air talent (reading from the teleprompter) for the satellite service pledge drives, which reached a few million viewers – the programs I did the pledge drive for included a Mary Chapin Carpenter concert, a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band reunion tour show, and a kid’s programming special called Peter, Paul & Mommy, too (featuring Peter, Paul & Mary).  So, we’ll see what we get.  I’m hoping if I can get a few gigs here and there, I can free myself of the pressure to perform in my writing, so that I can enjoy the process and focus on my craft – not the results or the price per word.

In the meantime, I was flattered to get contacted by a journalism student today who came across my blog and wants to interveiw me for an article she’s writing on blogging.  It will be good practice.

I read an article on WordPress.com last night reporting two bloggers who got book deals for their blogs – one of them got a $300K advance!  It’s time to start thinking about finding a developmental editor!

After a very busy day of work, I went home to change for the gym and ran to the grocery store with the gift card my mom sent me.  Yes, she sends me gift cards to grocery stores.  I tell her she shouldn’t do it – but, she feels badly about the cost of my gluten-free diet and wants to encourage me to eat healthy, organic fruits and vegetables and whole, gluten-free grains.  The woman was a dietitian for years, I can’t stop her.  I’m not a mother, but I suppose once you are, you never stop wanting to mother your children.  And my mother isn’t the controlling, intefering kind, rather she just wants to do everything she can to ensure her children are happy and healthy.  I appreciate her gestures, even if I do feel badly that she’s spending money on me that she could be spending on herself.

At the gym, I ran on the treadmill for thirty minutes then went home and made myself a beautiful salad of organic baby romaine lettuce, red, orange and yellow baby peppers, red onion, carrot shavings, pecans, and yellow and red grape tomatoes with a lite, homemade honey mustard dressing and then I sauteed broccolini in olive oil with chopped garlic, pine nuts and lemon juice, which I topped with parmesan.  I had a tall glass of water with a fresh slice of lime.  It was fresh and tasty.  My mother would have approved.

 I had a cup of Yogi India Spice tea afterwards.

Well after the food had settled, I meditated for 15 minutes.  I have been trying to stop stressing, to come up with sensible, creative solutions to take care of myself, financially, and to get more disciplined about making the most of my workouts, eating well-balanced meals (small portions), sticking to a yoga and strength training program, all to get balanced. 

I embrace myself – my single, happy, soon to be balanced and enlightened self.

It’s funny.  After I engage in activites and practices that are supposed to help me to acheive balance and enlightenment, I have closed myself off from the idea of partnering up, getting hitched, looking for a man.  I don’t look for men.  I hate the idea of seeking out love, because it seems to me that if you are actively looking for it, then there’s something inside of you that’s terribly lacking to send you out in the world to seek an idea of happiness in the form of another person.  I just won’t do it.  Being lonely is not a reason to search for the love of your life.  And I’m still not sold on the idea that there’s just one love in a lifetime.  So, you live your life to the fullest and resolve what has you so scared about being alone (as if being solo is like having the plague).  

Anyway, I am comfortably alone and not seeking love.  I’m not 100% closing off the idea of falling in love, but, it will have to find me.  Which may sound like a contradiction to this whole blog.  The thing is, my 365 Days Until Love search may have started with a starry-eyed concept of finally being ready for love.  But, perhaps I was wrong.  I mean, that was only the beginning.  And, besides, are we ever truly ready for love?  Or does good love come when you least expect it, when you least want it, when you are making big plans for your wonderfully solo life?  Hell if I know.  But, I suspect much of this journey of journaling through a year of my life has led me to identifying certain patterns – and looking back from the beginning, reading along what I have written, I see many subtle changes in my mindset and even in the direction of the path I’m headed down.  The quest for enlightenment and compassion only evolved in the new year, not from the beginning.  I have been able to experience the causes of my own illnesses prompted by stress – mostly my bouts of congestion.  So, I have experienced optimum health when I am happy, relaxed and balanced.  And as soon as I got stressed again, the congestion is back on and I’m riddled with physical tension.  So, I have seen the power of the results – I just have to get disciplined in my practices.

By writing through the mundane, I have learned some extraordinary things about myself, that I am not seeking the kind of life that has so many trying to keep up with the Joneses, where I am culturally obligated to marry, work hard to make a lot of money so that I can buy really cool things, and a huge house that my husband and I can’t really afford, then pop out 2.5 kids, go nuts trying to balance work and my crazy family, to the point where I am exhausted, unhappy and unfilled, but I have to lie to myself and the world that I am happy, balanced and fulfilled or else I’d be a terrible mother – and that is the worst thing a woman can be, worse than a prostitute servicing government officials. 

I mean, if that happens, it happens, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more about myself – certainly in setting boundaries!

I would be remiss not to mention the eel that I had met back in October, when I first returned to Oregon.  I didn’t take that encounter seriously, well, because he left two days later to move to San Francisco.  Oddly, I get random emails, including one today, as part of a group forward.  I appreciate the gesture, of being included when the email is an informative one like the one I received today.  But, well, I couldn’t help but wonder, why do some men orbit  your atmosphere?  I mean, what’s the point?  I can’t exactly be friends with someone who I don’t really know, who lives that far away, right?  There’s definitely attraction, but, again, what’s the point?  I kind of feel like if the eel wanted to hang with the salmon, he’d swim upstream for a visit and test out the waters, so to speak.  So, by the grace of logic, I have figured that one out.  I think.  The eel isn’t interested in swimming with the salmon right now, but the eel is interested in keeping in touch with the salmon just in case a climatic change occurs where the eel and salmon might be swimming in the same waters.  Meantime, the salmon is happily swimming in her clear, temperate, safe stream.  (note: if you’re reading this and you’re confused about the eel and the salmon, you’ll have to go back to the beginning of this blog to understand).

I would have to meet someone exceptional, someone who just exceeds my expectations exponentially before I am willing to let go of that comfort and safety – someone who’s going to arrive without a search party reeling him in.  Someone who I meet serendipitously in a moment of synchonicity.  Otherwise, I’m just not interested.  And this isn’t necessarily directed to the eel.

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Friday, March 14
10:03 p.m.

I finally broke down and caught this nasty cold/flu thing going around.  Two of my co-workers were out of the office most of this week.  My other co-worker had been sick with it last week, and her husband had it really bad, accompanied by a terrible fever that came with shakes.  So, I was preparing myself for the worst.  My chest hurt, my throat hurt, I felt weak and exhausted.  I’ve had an incredible thirst and can’t seem to drink enough water.  I’m congested and just trying to breathe slowly.

I left work early in the afternoon to go pick up our printed labels in Beaverton for a few of our wines that we’ll bottle in the coming weeks.   Then, I drove over to Hillsboro Hyundai to get my stereo replaced – the CD player stopped loading CDs, so, since it was under warranty, the dealership ordered a new one and installed it.

I went to the grocery store to pick up chard and celerey for home made chicken soup with sprouted brown rice and carrots, fresh pepper and thyme, an ideal, nourishing meal for when you’re not feeling well.  

After, I went to the gym.  I thought it might help to loosen things up, help me breathe.  So, I got on the exercise bike for 30 minutes, followed by the treadmill for an additional twenty minutes.  I got home, put on my pajamas, made the soup and sipped on a cup of hot Elixir tonic in Virtual Buddha.  I was physically drained.

I turned on the television and watched the end of Grey’s Anatomy.  I didn’t know it was now on Friday nights.  Was this temporary?  After I caught a special on Tibet on the Discovery Channel.  I was so excited.  The program was called Kora: Tibet and the Trail of Truth by Schreiner Productions.  It was an engaging program that centered mostly around the journey to Mt. Kailash, a mystical Himalayan peak on the very western border of Tibet and Nepal.  Some interesting facts – Mt. Kailash provides water for half the world’s people, it’s the source of some of the longest rivers in Asia, stands just under 22, 000 feet tall and is one of the most sacred places to Buddhists and Hindu.  It also has not been climbed – it’s off limits to climbers because of its religious significance.  The Tibetan name for Kailash is Gangs Rin-po-che, which translates to “precious jewel of snows”. 

The Schreiner brothers ask the question – why does Chomolungma, which translates to “mother, goddess of earth,” (better known to westerners as Mt. Everest) get so much more attention than Mt. Kailash?  In part, it’s because of the religious protection.  But Everest is also easier to get to, not far from Lhasa, whereas Mt. Kailash is a journey all the way to the western border.  And Everest is the tallest mountain on the earth, just over 29,000 feet tall.  Sadly, though, the documentary shows an offensively defiled Everest, now touristy, much like the Disney of Tibet. 

Also sad is how China is modernizing Tibet too quickly, creating pollution and pushing some animal species into extinction (like the black neck crane).  Plus, the glaciers are now melting at 7% a year.  This reinforces my desire to get to Tibet before China totally ruins it and makes it a tourist trap.  China sees the gold mine Tibet is for tourism and is certainly taking advantage of this.  What’s worse, the Schreiners showcased how, since China invaded Tibet in the late 1950’s, a kind of cultural genocide is taking place in Tibet.  It’s heartbreaking.  Children are begging for money and are happy just to receive pencils.  This makes me want to bring books, pencils, paper, notebooks – anything school aged children could use.  Perhaps I will tie this into my journey.  I’ll find a way to bring materials to these deserving children.

What I found most awe inspiring was the portrayal of the Kora pilgrimages, where religious Tibetans walk miles to sacred places, like Mt. Kailash, many prostrating (bowing down in prayer) the whole route around that mountain.  This is an amazing display of stamina – both spiritually and physically!  The producers explain those who embark on the kora seek a ‘lifelong quest for enlightenment’.  The meaning of Buddhism is to take away all human suffering, to hope for peace for all sick and ill humans, and to bring peace in the world, to end all wars. 

The Schreiner brothers show Tibet as a ‘large national forest’ – with a menagerie of wild animals and beautiful landscapes.  I also learned that Dharma really means ‘truth’ and ‘nature’.  To protect one, protects the other.

The documentary ended with the written statement, Tibet Everywhere.    I loved this little film.  It has certainly refreshed my desire to journey to Tibet – and perhaps going as an ambassador by bringing educational materials to Tibet’s struggling children.   Also on Schreiner’s website, I learned about Tibet Tours: outdoors hikes in China and Tibet.

So, before heading up to bed, I researched places to stay on the coast next month, when I go to the writers workshop led by Kim Stafford.  I am very excited and feel this workshop, and the Sitka Center program, no doubt, is  a step in the right direction.

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Thursday, February 28

Well, meditation last night was a disaster.  I tried to sit for my night-time clearing, but I couldn’t do it.  I was too tired.  It was definitely too late to meditate at 11:30 p.m.  So, I said my prayers and went to bed.

Then, when I woke up this morning, once again, my meditation didn’t go the way I had hoped.  Rather, it ended up being an extension of my sleep.  I didn’t have the best night’s sleep.  I tossed and turned quite a bit.  Not sure why.  But, I was too tired to meditate last night and then again this morning.  Rinpoche might say that’s a lazy little Buddhist.  Well, since I’m not officially a Buddhist, I don’t feel so badly.  But I do want to try harder.  I know the benefits of this kind of meditation is life changing. 

But I had a very productive day, and for that I am content.  It is important to me to be useful.  When I see my efforts at work come to fruition, I am happy.  I might not being saving lives, or teaching our future, but I am part of a smart and talented team that seeks excellence in what we do, that aims to create a fine product that can enhance a meal, bring friends, family or lovers together, that can make a special occasion feel even more celebrated.  When I think of my happiest moments sharing a bottle of wine, it’s usually around a table with great friends or my family, smiling, laughing, sharing stories, enjoying each other, and eating amazing, local, seasonal fine cuisine. 

I had forgotten the sentimental reasons of why I enjoyed what I do and, at one point, considered my career to be superfluous, trivial, cursory.  And when I started getting all introspective, I thought I should change my career and do something more meaningful.  I thought I should perhaps get my masters degree in nutrition at Bastyr after my diagnosis of celiac disease.  Or, perhaps I should get back into non-profit work.  But, then I remembered why I loved wine so much and why I ended up moving to Oregon in the first place.  Let’s just say I was slowly rekindling my love affair for Pinot and the wine industry when I returned to this place in September, when I started writing this blog.  And now I am happily serving my company, doing my best to creatively and authentically market and communicate what’s so special about the winery and vineyard that employs me.

Something is changing within me.  I am able to pull myself from places that had become negative in my perception.  I think I’m learning to accept my path, the way it has been winding along, and I’m beginning to trust that I am right where I am supposed to be.  I am breathing better, I’m not suffering from the congestion that had been ailing me for so long.  I am changing for the better, I am recognizing the good and the positive within me.  And my writing has certainly enhanced this experience of being in the moment and appreciating my circumstances, of coming into my own.  My writing is and will continue to be a way for me to work through my personal life, to explore and document, but also to serve my life’s purpose of using my God-given gifts to make the world a better place. 

It is wonderful to be on a journey toward self-reflection and improvement, or enlightenment, and to see your progress along the way.  165 days into this journey to find love (of self, etc.), I am pleased with my progress.

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