A Place where my Dreaming can have some Space. Mondo Beyondo is a course in Dreaming big and I am giving it a second go round. Follow along with the Exploration here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The List 10 Months Later

Buy our vanagon and sew it a perfect pair of curtains.

Be in New York for Blogher '10 just so I can meet my blog idols.
Go to Canada for 2 months with the boys in the vanagon.

Go back to school to be a doctor.
Go back to Perth and drink beer at Little Creatures with awesome Australians.

Meet Bon and Kate, Andrea and Jen and Neil. Someday meet Ben.

Move to Canada, buy a farm and raise sheep and grow a garden.
Buy the Paradise resort, restore the restaurant and cabins and make it a center for gathering yogis, artists, writers, mountain bikers, boarders and dreamers.
Raise buffalo on acres of land just North of Yosemite and South of Tahoe.
Home school my children.

African dance, modern dance. Dance.

Choreograph a whole dance concert to the soundtrack of Mr. Bungle.
Meet Jessica Whitt and hug her.
Avoid cancer.
Sew my own pair of jeans over and over.
Hand embroider a dress.
Own a Mercedes.
Travel easily and lightly whenever we choose.

Have a 'home' every place we go.

Teach my children to tap dance.
Go to Bhutan as a volunteer PT for three months. Take the family too.
Live in France for a year and speak French everyday.
Participate in a downhill mountain bike race.
Be free of the monetary world in the way of sustainable living :: solar power compost toilets food production.

Make a wedding ring quilt.
Go to Africa to dance with my sisters.
Take photos of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas (again.)

Go to NYC to see old friends and make new ones.

Be a professor of Physical Therapy.
Have so much disposable income I can give it away.
Have one more child, easily (not twins).
Go to Iceland.
Go to Alaska and hike for 7 days.
Watch my boys grow old.

Make friends that last, that care, that like Me, that are complex and smart and whole.

Not grow old and sick and demented.

Friday, April 30, 2010

My (Late) List

A few months ago, my tribe and I decided in order to keep Mondo alive in our lives, we would 'gather' monthly and hold ourselves to a lesson and sharing. Er, obviously, this has come with some challenge and setbacks, but my lovely Kat extended an invitation to write down 10 things that I need. I did it. A few weeks back actually. I wrote it in one of my (too) many small notebooks. The list did not make it to this space, it did not make it to our shared emails, instead it sat in the small closed notebook, written and then left until the next 'breathing' moment.
Afternoon Hike

In the last few weeks I have felt challenged and sad and tired and desperate for support (that email did go out with a plea for hugs and returned to me with folds of love to envelope my soul...thank you, lovelies). And I have felt bolstered and revealed and opened and as if some light balm has been applied to the soul. Right now I feel that I should share this list in a hindsight manner and let it speak for itself ::

Written in the car with a Sharpie pen a few weeks ago...

1. A clean house :: desired due to then upcoming birthday party for the boys (4/24)...achieved on that Saturday with realization that not many cared just how sparkling my windows were or about that hole in the drywall once the kids and water balloon fights set in.

2. Courage to write to a big blogger I love :: I was so on the fence about this but I love this woman and have dreamed about meeting her and her son. I did write, she did write back in a very lovely way and now there is a very real possibility of a meet up.

3. A serger :: Placed on back burner until my fervor over hand sewing dies down. But I did meet a woman (heavily pregnant, Swedish and designer of sweet baby girl clothes) that gave me excellent recommendations on the machine to use, steering me away from what initially was my first choice.

4. To bind in marichyasana :: Not there yet. But so much more open to the possibility. I also shared this need with my yoga teacher and ever since she has been pounding on us with shoulder openers. She is going to get me there, I know it. Be careful what you ask for.

5. A clean slate with work paperwork :: My lack of commitment when it comes to finishing paperwork really gets to me on a subliminal level. I was swimming in undones until I sat down and made it happen. A few hours and no distractions help...but it comes from inside, internal desire to clean up and I did. Of course, that was last Sunday so I really should finish this and switch into work mode. The undones have redone themself.

6. A plane ticket to NYC :: Done. And I found it for the same price I once paid in 1998. 300 bucks. Use www.bestfares.com, they really came through for me.

7. Tow hitch for the Subaru :: This is when we thought we might borrow a pop up trailer and hit the road for a month. Yes to the month, no to a tow hitch. We figured that we have gotten by this long with a tent, we should break in the boys with the lowest lap of luxury there is. And spend the difference in a budgeted condo in Whistler for three days while Tim bombs the sloped and I play a heavy rotation of The Incredibles, The Jungle Book and Peter Pan on the conveniently located DVD player in the mountainside accomodations.

8> Courage to take an African dance class :: Now this is an odd one and a story. My middle sister Amanda is a phenomenal West African dancer. I attended a conference in Sept with her and baby sis Em and vowed to embrace the movement and available class in L.A. I did not. I never went.

So she was down for the week in the beginning of April and we headed into L.A. for a mid-week class that we had Googled. Fighting traffic was a bitch at 6:00 p.m. but we made it 30 minutes late and pulled into a small street in deep L.A. and parked and got out fumbling our dance clothes and what-nots and consulted our iPhones and realised the class was not happening when the address given gave us a shop front of tax preparation tables. But the community was crazy good around there, lots of West Aftricans in dress wandering so we were convinced it was there, somewhere. We wandered a bit and again realised we were out of place and then my sister dropped another pair of panties out of her dance bag and a guy honked for us to pick them up and it was time to get in the car and head home.

But the amazing thing about the two hour detour was that it was the first time in about ten years that we have been alone for more than a few minutes. Time to talk and process being sisters and wives and mothers and others and talk, let it out. Ask and receive.

And the other gift? She is coming to stay with us for a week with Baby girl Kayda and she will be all ours, to completely immerse ourselves in this family that we are. And take that dance class with Mareme Faye on Saturday. Oh, yeah.

I only got to 8 but that was more than enough. And I know it is late and after the fact but I find it interesting that blogging the list afterwards shows just what kind of power listing has. It is almost frightening, the clarity it can bring. And the realisation of potential.

And here it is...the wildflowers taken root in my life. They look like weeds until they flower. A very good metaphor for my life as it is.
Spring backyard action

Oh, yeah, there is this guy and this guy and this guy that make it pretty right (usually) too.

Spring backyard action
Afternoon Hike
Afternoon Hike

I have also decided that wearing a white Fedora is completely acceptable sun protection as it makes me feel fab and the husband asked it is cam with a 'costume' post-kid hours. So the courage to wear a hat (if it was number 9) has totally been found.
Afternoon Hike

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nod to my Homegirls

Library books

Feeling a little less than inspired in some of the dream categories but I have been following the unfolding of my tribe avidly. They are in such wonderful places and I am loving all that they do. I went to the Library to find some new reads, one on writing after Kat spoke of it so beautifully and the other just jumped out from the shelf as if to say "Well maybe you can. Have you tried?". The third novel with no spine...yeah that is just a trashy novel in case I find it all too heavy.

Other wonderful reads....A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I almost cry as I turn the pages because it means I am getting closer to the end and I never ever want this book to end. And my friend's first novel, a final draft that is so good and oddly enough, set not far from the neighborhood illuminated in Tree.

And hoping that the reading will help generate whatever it is that I need in order to find movement. We'll just have to see.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I am struck sometimes about the continuity of my life as it is now. These thoughts are prompted by the late afternoon sun slanting at the very same angle it did when I was a small child. I view it from the same seat; the chair is different, the table also, the children running in the gold light are mine own now, but still, it all feels so familiar. Because it is.

This is the same home I grew up in, I just saw the mildly retarded woman in our neighborhood on her scooter, moving through the light...she is the same one that used to ride a bike and one morning as I biked to school in the early foggy day we came head to head, our bikes colliding, me into the street and biting right through that thin spot under my lip from the crash and she frightened and befuddled and then my brothers ushered me into the school office with a white collared shirt stained with blood and it was all okay. Now my brother owns a home one street over from where the crash happened and she still rides the neighborhood, now from a comfortable motorized seat and I still love seeing her and remembering that morning.

It was not the plan, you know? To return to my town of origin, have my children in the same home I grew in, put them down every night to sleep in the room I once drifted into my own childhood oblivion. I did things in that room that make me blush now when I recall, some of them not with my now husband. And I watch as this home reincarnates itself over and over, first to accommodate 4 then 5 then 6 then 10 then back down now to 7, you get the idea.

(taken 'at work' today)
There is something so comfortable about it all. I thought it would make me feel constricted and pained, that I would feel as if I have done not enough, not proved my worth. Instead I spend my days moving about and through it, occasionally frustrated by the eternal mess and undone doorways, but most often embracng the light and the continuity of it all.

I just saw a patient that lived next door to my husband as he was growing up, her grandchildren and grandnephews played with him in the small leftover orchard of orange trees behind their joined yards. We talked of the time she has spent here, in her home, we laughed about it. And then I took a short drive north into a canyon just above our home. It was ravaged by fire in 2004 and only four homes are left. Homes built by hand, by folks who like to be just a little bit removed from the norm. The notes on her computerized patient chart cautioned me to look in the trees for cougars if I visited in the early morning or late afternoon. These are my stomping ground.

My formative years shaped by the gentle upslope and canyon breezes and me tromping silly and drunk through the parks where I now take my kids to play. I still remember being in those same parks with my mama and wondering what those big kids were doing, over there on the park tables, slumped over, trying to hide something. And now I giggle just a little when I see those same kids when we are there, remembering when I became one of them. Knowing now someday my kids might be them too.

I love my home. A quiet passion. I always have designs to leave, my Mondo dreams made that awfully clear. But it is only because I know I have somewhere to come back to. So solid, a rock, a place to call mine own. It will be here, flowers blooming, bulbs planted years ago coming forth when they receive enough rain to flourish. It will be here as it is, home. Nothing special. Ranch style, 1450 square feet of square rooms and beautiful foothill light. There was no grand architect, no special planning, no gate to get in. Just a cul-de-sac and a small home. But it holds all that is dear to me, all that is good and beautiful. I leave because I can always come back. Always have been able to, and I always have.

That is continuity.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Mondo Update

Our little Mondo tribe agreed to make March 13 a check-in/Mondo lesson. And it has come upon me with stealth and I find myself startled to see the date. It seemed like so long ago when we took the class, but then the March date seemed long off. When will I learn about the tricksy-ness of time? Probably never.

I suggested that we use one of the last Mondo lessons as our guide....the search for synchronicity. What a word, what a word to let roll off the tongue, into the air and let hover around. The interesting thing about synchronicity is that it did not seem that hard to find when I started looking for it....it hovers like the word, hovers around all the events of the days, longing to be acknowledged. Or maybe it is just my longing to find it. Anyhows...
Spring Snaps :: Backyard

1:: For example, Wednesday, unwashed and unkempt from yet another long morning struggle with Owen (the child that occasionally wakes at 4 and will not go back to sleep so instead sits on my pillow by my head twitching and talking), I head out for work. I am disgruntled and tired and my schedule is totally off. There is a one hour gap between patients that needs filling, instead I head to Starbucks to sit with the laptop and do paperwork. I notice a young women across the table, she notices me and strikes up a conversation. Turns out she is in a Master's program at the school where I thought I might seek eventual teaching employment...her mother is faculty, she deeply involved in student body activities and deeply knowledgeable of the whole interesting tangle that is post-doc education. She speaks with energy and commitment and at the end of our conversation hands me her card and asks if I would be interested in speaking about my experience in my health profession to the student members she gathers for inservices and such. She is all of 26 years old. And I really liked her vibe. I think we will be seeing each other again.

2:: I had this idea about France and moving there. That dream may be long off, but a few weeks ago just writing out the dream prompted me to re-visit long forgotten spaces in the brain that hold small silly French phrases from my one year of studying the language. I started saying them to the boys and Mace immediately mimicked me with a very passable French accent. The kid is like a parrot, but his adorable lisp seems to allow just the right intonation to the words.

And I thought how fun it might be to teach them rudimentary French...and work on my own skills at the same time. Google translator has become a good friend lately. That way when France does happen all four of us can order a beer (I mean, bread and chocolate).

3:: Years and years and years ago, Tim and I rode down a street not far from our house. We were on our way to one of those long, ridiculously hard mountain bike rides that he loved to take me on, the ones where we had to climb fire roads for miles and my face would get all crazy red and I would want to kill him but then we would reach the yellow gate and from then on, for miles and miles and minutes and minutes we would race down the single track, I would be holding my breath as I tried to charge corners and berms and my arms would burn from the rattling the trail delivered.... but, yeah, on the way that day we came across a thicket of wild flowers. They were rioting on the side of the road...hip height and thick, all varieties, all colors. This was pre-digital cameras but I had a small camera and I took a few snaps. I would look at those pictures and long to see and smell them again. This had to be at last 10 or 12 years ago.

But finally, this year, a large swath of hill cleared in the backyard beckoned and for the nominal fee of 5 dollars and change I picked up a can of wildflower seeds and Mason and Owen and I scattered them before the rains came. Now, 5 or 6 weeks later, we see the evidence of the simple effort...thick green growth exploding over the small hill, the first tiny blooms are white and shine like sparkles in the midst of the green.
Spring Snaps :: Backyard
And I wonder at myself. For years I rode past that same road, seeking to find those wildflowers again. My printed pictures are long long gone, but their memory lies there, so close. And yet, for years and years I did not do the simple actions above. For many years, I sought wildflowers in other places: Yosemite and Toulumne Meadows, Dinkey Creek Wilderness, Mt Hood. I would pick a few and press them, but the pressing would leach them of their vibrancy, their impact. And still the memory held strong.

Now, today, I wait eagerly to see what comes of this simple backyard experiment. What blooms, what fragrance. The torrents of rain fed those seeds well and the green is so promising. Will they be hip height and full of life? Let's hope so. And if it happens in the month that we are away I will just have to laugh with the true irony of it all...and know that wildflowers usually re-seed themselves and I will be around to see them in all the years to come.

(And yes, I know these are not wildflowers but bulbs....I just really loved the color...and good hold over until the next wave of blooms)

Synchronicity? Tell me, where are you finding yours these days?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What it Is

It is has been quiet around here, huh? Not intentionally, or yes, maybe intentional.

February was an ass kicker. There was so much going on with sick kids and the push and pull of a relationship in flux. Throw some wildly imagined dreams in there and it served for a pretty rough month.

I alternately find myself enchanted and intimidated by this whole idea of dreaming in public spaces. I mean, I put it out there for any person passing by to read. And in the putting it out there it gained some steam, some shape and started to seem like a real possibility.
Found Fruit

What I am alluding to is that my dreams have been professed and I fell in love with one particular one and started to fixate pretty hard on it…the whole get in the vanagon and leave thing. Step one :: find a vanagon, right? Which we did and which I loved and found so enchanting. But then I saw Tim’s demeanor start to shift a little bit and then things took their own turn in his life and some of the whole ‘stars are so aligned’ part began to get a little off center and then we had the whole family involved in the discussion (one of the downsides of living communally is that everyone knows your business)…and in the mix of it all, I found myself crushed and disappointed that my so-called life partner was jumping ship on THE most important dream of my life.

Now, a few days later and a few discussions later and the passing of the worst PMS I have had in years and things are starting to look a little less rocky. And I am finding a new equilibrium and some new realizations. They are pretty new and tender and still re-orienting themselves but they are good ones. My biggest realization is that things do not have to happen on a specific time line, especially the ones I set arbitrarily. There is no rule saying that we had to get the vanagon today and be in it by August and be able to juggle all the things that would need to be juggled in order to leave for months at a time…

Realizing that and accepting it have helped me immensely in the last few days. It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in the ideas I threw around in my Mondo list and I found letting go of this particular dream opened up the possibility of a few more.

And so the latest plan has me a step closer to meeting some of the people that I have ‘met’ through this medium and seeing an old friend in New York in August. And maybe getting to Canada much earlier than I thought. Both trips would be for much less time than I anticipated but that is okay because now both trips can happen.

And there you go…Mondo off track and on track. Sorry to recap it all as an event already occurred…I am not very good at writing when things are not going my way. Just never have been good at blogging the more challenging aspects of life and relationship, intimate details always feel like secret details in the moment.

A few things helped bolster me during the last month and it is good because otherwise I might have just turned down this blog. I’ll make sure to post them up here, but for now, I will just let this out and remind myself and any reading that dreams can happen, sometimes in the most mysterious of ways…

They start as seeds, needing to be planted and left alone, given some water occasionally, then left alone again...
How does your Garden grow?

And sometimes the path of least resistance is just the right path to take.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Action :: More Mondo

I wonder sometimes about the list, about the Power of the List. I posted about lists way back when on my other blog, about how the mere act of writing helps in manifestation. It is heady stuff and might be some of the reason I had such a hesitation when it came to writing out The List. It seemed to hold so much significance for me.

I have been meaning to write a bit more here about the changes since Mondo began, but I am hesitating in another way. Afraid maybe to admit that dreams can come true? And in truth because a part of it is hard...to wonder if it is okay to admit to the Movement in the dreams. But then, that is the whole reason for taking the class, right?

Okay, so after that long and probably unnecessary premise..here it the thing. Dreams in action are awesome but dreams in action are work. The next thing I want to talk about is the Teaching.

There are a few dreams in there about Teaching, about going back to become a Doctor or maybe disseminating my collection of information. I was not terribly surprised by them showing up, more that I am surprised by my lack of movement in the direction of Teaching.

When I embarked in my profession as a Physical Therapist I immediately knew my calling. I knew that I wanted to take on the area of Neurological Rehab, the grey area of strokes and brain injury and spinal cord severing (no pun intended, believe me). I knew what I wanted but was immediately overwhelmed by the reality. Rather than sink into oblivion, or even worse, inability to help, I sought to find the right way to approach the challenge and found a brilliant mentor (albeit an asshole) that gave me the frame work to approach the treatment and the challenges with clarity and focus and some success. It was magical, the knowledge he helped unlock and the way it transformed my treatment. For many years I practiced in the field, finding great reward and always aware that each individual had a story that was written in their body which would help (or sometimes hinder) their recovery. It was always challenging and emotional work, and I am not one for the whole 'distance yourself from the patient' approach and the work took its toll.

A few years before the boys, I started to scale back my work, went part time, still working in the rehab setting but not as a team leader, rather as a sub. I found myself almost satisfied with the positions I held, but I also knew I could not do that and mother at the same time. It would be too much, I have no switch between work and home and little did I know it would be twins in the cards for us. The week I got pregnant, I resigned from my Rehab position and signed on to a home care service.

And then for two years after I was really really busy. Really busy. I kept my toe in the door with occasional patients and regular inservices but did not really return to work until last March. Since then, I have been immersed in the quagmire that is home health. It is the best and worst job I have yet to hold. I control my schedule, I have no office but the one I make, I have a distant but accessible supervisor, I have 70 pages of paperwork per patient, I have a laptop always at the ready and always at their ready and a roster of patients that usually push 70 or older and have all the concomitant issues that go along with that.

I love my patients, I love their individuality, their stories and history, their desire to stay independent and assertive and home. But, uh, home care ain't rocket science. Not at all. It is rare that my skills come to the fore. Rare that they are needed at all.

Anyway, last week one of my colleagues called with a question. Se had a CVA (stroke) patient that she was finding particularly challenging and she wanted to know if we could meet and brainstorm some treatment ideas. I love this colleague, she was the one that helped me find a place at the company, and I told her 'of course' and we met at Starbucks on a Saturday morning. Within five minutes of talking, taking in her description of the patient, her concern regarding treatment approach, I had a treatment plan formulated and we were off.

It was like slipping into a comfortable pair of scrubs. The instructions flowed easily and she was so open and receptive to the new information. After an hour we took a break and started talking about Teaching. She told me I should and I know she is right. I was surprised by the way the information has just become ingrained in how I think when it comes to patient care, how accessible it was even after years of disuse.

And it reminded me of some of the things I once thought about. Like walking into the PT department of the school quite literally down the street and offering to TA a class in Neuro. Then eventually teach the class, preparing the students for the reality of the Rehab unit, not the theory.

It is a small step, just a little morning meet up and discussion, but a glimmer of the future. A reminder that I still can walk into the school and have some chops, know I can back up the claims.

And then Monday after our meet up I picked up a home patient with a classic CVA, a perfect candidate for rehab. The reason he was not in rehab was because he is also a hospice patient so he was sent home in a bed after his stroke. He cannot do much, but he can do some. And he does not want to die lying down. And that I can help with. And so it all works in very interesting ways. Interesting is not the word but I am not sure what is.

Mondo might be.

Photo by Tim...his orange trees, he loves them

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Making Mondo Tangible

I am still in the hazy love affair stage of the class. Still excited and encouraged and finding connections. And still so happy to have made the choice to participate.

I am also noticing small shifts in my daily life due to the work I put in during the 5 weeks. It was a whirlwind, and there were times that I did not feel like I was doing enough, but some of that fear settled after I found my tribe and realized that the work does not end with the last lesson, rather it now has a sturdy framework and many many more days to explore and tease out some of the finer points of this art of Dreaming.

I think it would be beneficial to talk about some of the more concrete aspects of the Mondo list and how I am feeling them manifest in my life, our lives, in new and unexpected ways. I think that I wrote the list out some posts back and styled it as a run on sentence because I was a little afraid to tease it apart and delve a little deeper. Now, weeks later, I feel a little more ready to take another look and allow the List in a bit. It has its time to marinate, now I have the time to reflect.

So, the list as it stands focuses a lot on Travel. A lot. A huge big part of it. Travel was a huge big part of our lives for some time. And I want it to be a huge big part as the boys grow up and out into the world. The first part of my Mondo list is all about the means to travel...

We really want a Vanagon. When I was small, we had one for trips. The family would pile in and go...and it means Freedom to me. The idea came earlier in the year when a family beloved to me decided they needed to go on the road and allow themselves some breathing and healing time. It planted the seed, which started the dream, which became much more real as the thoughts became much more solid.

So, now we are actively seeking and scouring Craigslist for a fitting vehicle. But here is the thing....I, uh, have not been in a Vanagon since I was about 13. So, uh, I started to get a little worried by the idea of packing two small boys, two relatively grown adults and all the things you might need for months of travel. Including bikes and bits, solar panels and maybe a sewing machine (yeah, right).

Tuesday we contacted a local Craigslister and headed to his place of business to take a look. We took the boys as they were likely to be the real testers of this plan. And I was not disappointed in the least. It felt like Home. The door slide open, we climbed in and it felt like Home. The van was in great condition and seemed to run without issues but it was more of the feel for me. The boys were ecstatic, jumping and peeking and sitting in the captain chairs and laughing laughing laughing. It felt surprisingly roomy, I can even stand upright in it. And as we inspected drawers and storage and motors, I looked over and Tim and knew...this was right, this was really right. Both of us were spilling over with ideas and excitement...the taste of the road just feels good.

So, concrete steps. Tim's F150 needs a fuel pump and then it is going up for sale. We are going to search out a few more and test drive them. My Dad, the resident VW expert (he could put out a fire in the old one without even breaking a sweat) is going to come along for tech support. It actually feels tangible. And then we take it from there.

The car means a lot more to me than a vehicle. It is going to be my wagon, my bid for Gypsy life for awhile. It is a step. Both big and small, significant and maybe life altering. We will just have to see from here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lesson 20 :: Learning

What can you say you have learned over the last few weeks? What do you know now that you did not know before…about your dreams, your self, where you want to expand and believe and grow?


I have learned that I needed to write out the dreams and place them in a physical space in order to better honor them, realise them, allow them some breathe and life.

I learned that I can trust letting them out, letting others read them when and if they want to, and that no one would take them away or giggle in my face or say it is all so silly. Instead they cherish them for me and with me.

I have learned that dreaming is lovely, but hard work, taking some extra time to cultivate and nurture does require a shift of attention inward and that sometimes leaves less energy for the outward. And then the flow shifts and Life demands a bit more attention and I now find I can trust in the fact that my dreams, small and delicate, are still finding enough sustenance to be maintained, to be there.

I have learned that just when one needs kindred spirits, when one feels lonely, it is the perfect time to be vulnerable and open and trust that they will come, your tribe will come, they will hear a call and then they will appear.

I have learned to listen, to look up, to dance a little more, to trust a little more, to make that call, write that note, speak that word, meet that eye, take that photo, and then breathe it in.

I have re-learned the art of dreaming. I am not done, not even totally proficient, but I feel well on my way.

And I have added Atlanta, GA and Melbourne onto the list of places that I will need to be someday.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Lull & The Clearing

This week I have found myself resting comfortably in The Lull the Monday post spoke of. I say 'resting' and 'comfortable' because that is how I felt as I took a little step back from the breathlessness of my dreams and brought a few other things into focus.

When I read Monday's post it was just the permission I needed to take a breathe and a breather. It felt like a lot of things were conspiring to pull last week, pull me in directions, pull me apart. It was not the best of weeks, but it has been left behind and the terrible toothache of 2010 has been allieviated. The Monday post spoke to me in the call for more clearing and we decided it was high time to focus on the places in our home that have been neglected, have accumulated, have totally gotten away from us. And so that is where I started.
It is funny because a large part of my Mondo dreams center around leaving this home. Not permanently, never that, but being out and away and looser than is dictated by the California suburb where we currently reside. Having said that, I love our home with its myriad imperfections, unfixed holes in wall and uncased doorways that linger from all the home improvement we have done. It is a work in progress like myself, but lately it has lay in the shadow of child rearing and work juggling.

This week felt like a laser beam focus went into drive and we re-arranged toys to better conceal their presence, we planted and swept and stuffed generous bags full of clothes and books and sundry to give. There are spots still in flux, my sewing area is a favorite place of chaos. But still, the physical clearing has allowed me a lightness that I have not felt in years.

And this bathroom, our shared bathroom, the one where two semi-potty trained boys contribute to the chaos, where daily bath toys entangle with Mama's bath products. This bathroom got the scrub down of the century. I cannot even describe how enlightened I feel about this. And I vowed to light a candle in here daily.

It is nice to sit and see, to have sight lines that open new possibilities. There is always going to be a measured amount of disarray, I am not a tidy person, never have been, can aim at trying to be, but I would rather not fail. But this clearing is what I needed in order to open myself again.

And in taking a step into the Lull and focusing less on myself and more outside, I have discovered something so lovely. I had secret hopes that I would find a few like-minded dreamers by opening myself to Mondo and I have not been disappointed. In the weeks of this course, I have found that there are a few fellow dreamers that really resonate with me. It can occasionally feel like a lonely road, this heady dreaming stuff, and I am loving the fact that I have found JenP and Melbourne Kat in the same place, as really wonderful voices of encouragement but also really lovely voices period. It is a little public, but ladies, I just want to say thanks for being so present. And I look forward to continuing this newly discovered connection even as our class comes to its close next week.

Next step, a re-embrace of the lessons, a recap of the things I am learning, a continuation of rediscovering just what lurks in those darkened and unorganized spaces (and I am not talking about my head. Or maybe I am. But mostly I am talking about this closet).

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Mitzvah

Your Secret Mission

Sometimes, when we are most up in our head about our stuff, our dreams, our fears, our concerns, the best thing to do is step outside of ourselves and do something kind for someone else.

Maybe this is cooking a special meal for a friend and bringing it to her door, volunteering somewhere, or maybe it’s as simple as a kind word to a stranger. Look for opportunities to give this weekend and notice the effect it has on you.

I actually began my mitzvah a few weeks ago. It was prompted by a calling for donations from these lovely ladies, women I met because of the world of creating. They own a local business and are running a small donation/contest. This one was calling for blankets to be given to the children at CHLA.

It was the right time to do a mitzvah as my heart was literally aching. Haiti has not yet happened, but the one year mark of the loss of a little girl was looming. my friend Jessica Whitt lost her little girl Tuesday to cancer, she was one of a set of twins, one of a family, one small soul that stretched my own soul out, opened and widened it and made it lighter and yet in some ways, heavier too.

I started the sewing of the blankets weeks ago, in light of the deadline coming on January 31. I planned a bit, but mainly let my fabric stash and my touch and feel guide me. It, uh, did not go so well. I am not necessarily a novice at the machine but I sure as hell am not a professional. I felt some discouragement, some reservation at my skills but kept at it.
Blankies 4 Namaste

My plan was to have them done and off days before the deadline. But my plans seldom seem to work out and Saturday came, the last day to post them to the ladies and I missed the post office hours, feet dragging down by fatigue, too many obligations and in some odd way I did not expect, apprehension.

It is hard to put oneself out there sometimes. I knew these offerings would be embraced by someone, but to my eyes the finished pile looked home sewn, not very good, just not right. I realize as I write that I was afraid, afraid to offer these makings. But that fear is not the way to see it, rather I want to focus on the care and love and small thoughts and blessings of healings I imagined as I sat at the sewing table or hand stitched on the binding
Blankies 4 Namaste

Today, I called Kelly to let her know I missed the deadline and apologize and send them off, she was completely understanding and let me know they actually extended the deadline another month. They have one donation, they are going to get my three, but they could always use more.
Blankies 4 Namaste

I thought I would extend my mitzvah to you who might be reading, who might need a place to mitzvah, who might want to make and create and give. I know now the small tokens of fabric and soft snuggle will be appreciated by some one, probably a little one struggling with something that it can be hard to imagine when I see my own healthy sons run.

If you are interested you can find the information here. The ladies of Namaste are waiting and hoping on a few more...which I now have time to make. More of my brand of mitzvahs coming.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I should have listened to the signs and realized the weekend was a signal of things to come.

Monday I opened my list and I did not feel excited or happy or challenged or ready. Not ready at all. I find this ironic as I have approached this dreaming class with a good deal of confidence and assurance in my own Mind and Heart that this is where I am meant to be.

And I still have the love of this class and this process, but Monday? Not so much.

So this is the doubt part, right? But it does not feel like doubt so much as fatigue, great exhaustion, not enough uumph to even really tackle the reading of the list, the contemplation of these so-called dreams.

They struck me as fanciful or silly or really really impossible. Some I can do...but those run along the lines of 'sew something'. Some I am a little embarrassed by, some I am totally frightened by. And yes, to be truthful, some seemed just right.

The thing about dreaming is it can be hard, right? Especially when it is tried from the space of a Mama with sick kids, an aching tooth requiring too much money to fix, work that spirals out of control and out of reach, a spouse that I love dearly but that is struggling in his own ways this week, a knitting project that tangled into a really horrible mess and self imposed dead lines that loom, hanging over everything.

This week I realized I have granted mySelf a little bit of breathing room to deal with the above. Conversely it can be said that I pushed my dreams down further and out of sight, but I like to think I will be getting back to them. I began this course by embracing each lesson immediately, but this week I read the lessons then gave mySelf permission to let them sit and linger without too much action on my part. I don't want to hammer my dreams into the folds of my current life, I want them to dance gracefully into our days when they are ready.

I wanted this week to look like this, all brilliant and green and glowing.

Instead I felt limp and worn out, and about as pretty as a dishrag. With a toothache, to boot.

But I still want to post up the list, start this next week open and vulnerable and exposed. So here it is ::

Buy our vanagon and sew it a perfect pair of curtains. Be in New York for Blogher '10 just so I can meet my blog idols. Go to Canada for 2 months with the boys in the vanagon. Go back to school to be a doctor. Go back to Perth and drink beer at Little Creatures with awesome Australians. Meet Bon and Kate, Andrea and Jen and Neil. someday Meet Ben. Move to Canada, buy a farm and raise sheep and grow a garden. Buy the Paradise resort, restore the restaurant and cabins and make it a center for gathering yogis, artists, writers, mountain bikers, boarders and dreamers. Raise buffalo on acres of land just North of Yosemite and South of Tahoe. Home school my children. African dance, modern dance. Dance. Choreograph a whole dance concert to the soundtrack of Mr. Bungle. Meet Jessica Whitt and hug her. Avoid cancer. Sew my own pair of jeans over and over. Hand embroider a dress. Own a Mercedes. Travel easily and lightly whenever we choose. Have a 'home' every place we go. Teach my children to tap dance. Go to Bhutan as a volunteer PT for three months. Take the family too. Live in France for a year and speak French everyday. Participate in a downhill mountain bike race. Be free of the monetary world in the way of sustainable living :: solar power compost toilets food production. Make a wedding ring quilt. Go to Africa to dance with my sisters. Take photos of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas (again.) Go to NYC to see old friends and make new ones. Be a professor of Physical Therapy. Have so much disposable income I can give it away. Have one more child, easily (not twins). Go to Iceland. Go to Alaska and hike for 7 days. Watch my boys grow old. Make friends that last, that care, that like Me, that are complex and smart and whole. Not grow old and sick and demented.

I did find two things that helped me a lot this week ...

:: I uploaded this piece of Jen Lemen art to my desktop so that I could be reassured daily when turning on the laptop to tackle overwhelming and underwhelming work tasks.

:: Placing my own Hope Note in the car to remind myself that I am not going at this in a vacuum.

Next post :: An Accounting of things I did this week that took some Action on my part, even though I did not mean to.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

8 :: Making an Altar

I read this Eighth Lesson in a bit of a funk. One child taken ill, parents that act as right hand(s) preparing to leave town for some time, small obligations starting to overwhelm in the ways that they do. Fatigue setting in after my initial rambuctious embrace of all the lessons previous.

I felt a small panic as to where to put this so called altar. Sure I cleared some space, but admittedly, most of it has succumbed to the chaos that comes with small children and less than vigilant parents. I wanted something special, a place where it might not be totally taken over in the week to come.

This weekend was unexpectedly difficult. Owen has some terrible upset in his system causing him to barf all solids and is battling low grade fevers. I spent some time with a Mama of a friend, a woman I have known since my teen years who is actively dying of Stage IV cancer. These all seemed to be drawing me further from any ability to commit to this time and space lesson.

Then this afternoon I found a moment. Just to gather. Off to my parents' room vacated for the week.
Mondo Beyondo :: My Altar

Lovely sunshine shining, small table open, precious bits gathered. It became itself in a minute's time...well, a few minutes and a few trips back and forth. And I was so excited because it is out of the reach of the boys.
Mondo Beyondo :: My Altar

But then something happened. Mace went on a solo trip with Daddy and I had sick Owen. I wanted to snap a few pictures, and he was feeling up to being upright...off we went to the back room on a little trip.
Mondo Beyondo :: My Altar

He was delighted by it immediately, drawn to it. He wanted to touch it, play with the small green 'gems', softly singing a song as he rearranged.

Mondo Beyondo :: My Altar
Mondo Beyondo :: My Altar
This little boy who was pissing out both ends all weekend, finally happy, finally singing again.
Mondo Beyondo :: My Altar

And me, realizing that my altar was receiving the blessing it needed.
Mondo Beyondo :: My Altar

Because my children are woven into the fabric of my being, intrinsic to my days and life, and such a part of my dream. And he took part of it, of course, but left the rest gently rearranged and ready to accept.
Mondo Beyondo :: My Altar

Not a bad way to end a challenging weekend, start a new challenging week.

I find it important to note that Mason may not be pictured but I chose my favorite vessel with his name imprinted on it as my "bowl". Gotta' keep it even, you know.

Mondo Beyondo :: My Altar

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Food for Thought :: Mushrooms

Mushroom :: Backyard

Many species of mushrooms seemingly appear overnight, growing or expanding rapidly. This phenomenon is the source of several common expressions in the English language including "to mushroom" or "mushrooming" (expanding rapidly in size or scope) and "to pop up like a mushroom" (to appear unexpectedly and quickly). In actuality all species of mushrooms take several days to form primordial mushroom fruit bodies, though they do expand rapidly by the absorption of fluids.

Weird way to open this post. But I walked outside for a moment in the dark to breathe the cold wet air, to find a little relief from the small projectile vomiting child, the undone work, the uncooked dinner, the other small and raging child, and I spotted these. Tiny brown glistening mushrooms, and away I went.
Mushroom :: Backyard

I spend so much of my time conversing with myself in my own head, lots of conversation going on in there, and some become blog posts. So, I saw these tiny beautiful mushrooms and I thought about my Bio class in college. Where I learned that mushrooms are an expression. They are an offshoot, of a greater whole. Of a underground network, spreading and pushing and moving. A network that lays under, unseen and unknown, the depth and breadth unknown. And then it is fed, given some lovely fluid and it becomes seen. It comes up in faerie rings, or sometimes threads itself through a whole forest.
Mushroom :: Backyard

A colony of Armillaria ostoyae in Malheur National Forest in the United States is estimated to be 2,400 years old, possibly older, and spans an estimated 2,200 acres. Most of the fungus is underground and in decaying wood or dying tree roots in the form of white mycelia combined with black shoelace-like rhizomorphs that bridge colonized separated woody substrates.

It is called mycelium and it can span acres. Can you see that? That area, that amount of space taken up for one being of one genetic makeup, one living and breathing being? Can you believe it? If the small and lovely and tasty mushroom can take up that amount of underground loveliness, why can't our dreams?

And so it is. Our dreams need fluid, need food, need sustenance. And as we feed them, they take root and express. They may not be a lovely little faerie ring, they may be tangled and unruly, they may seem to pop up miles apart, acres apart, small little caps that you walk by..but they have the same Mother, the same root. And yet, they are the expression of our Self, clean and clear, able to push through macadam and sing.

Do you see this, this expression as part of your dream? It does not have to be linear, it does not have to make sense, but it has to become, be nurtured and fed and then expressed.

Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room. (Thank you, Harold and Maud).
Storm Broken

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lesson 7 :: Clearing the Air

I discovered today that I am a hoarder. A really intense and deluded hoarder. I like to think I walk lighter on this Earth than I did in my younger years when I did not think so as hard before acquiring stuff. Today disabused me of this notion.

I decided to practice the 'clearing' lesson in physical form first. For some reason, on Friday last, Tim and I 'cleaned' our room which is the hub of activity in our shared household. It is always in some form of disarray but has been particularly bad since the holidays. Think nightstand buried under layers of paper and spools of thread and books and coffee cups and just way too much stuff. So, that was rectified as of the weekend.

But we avoided the real trouble, the closet that was harboring a three foot pile on the built in dresser, the dark recess of jumbled shoes tangled with fishing poles and other oddments. That was my mission today...to sort the closet, the under bed area, the piles that had to go.

Fueled with coffee and with the boys secured off to school for a few hours, I came home and tackled it. Not one look at the computer (well, maybe 5 minutes), iPhone out of reach and ringer off, bags lined up for sorting trash, recycling and give.

It worked. The piles are gone and I discovered some long lost items in the mix...hand made ceramic tiles, a lost SeeKaiRun shoe, some mini Maurice Sendak books, a sign from Oz.
Mondo Lesson :: Clearing

And I ran into a set of prints I bought long ago for the boys room...and never actually found the time to mat and frame. This one jumped out and so I temporarily set it up over the fireplace for all to see.
Mondo Lesson :: Clearing

I lit a candle, something I used to do daily but seem to have forgotten about until now (maybe it was the whole fire + two small children thing).
Mondo Lesson :: Clearing

And then I sat for a few minutes and reviewed my list of energizing activities and started to thumb through a datebook I received in the mail.
Mondo Lesson :: Clearing
Mondo Lesson :: Clearing

I love Kelly Rae Roberts and was so glad this came yesterday.
Mondo Lesson :: Clearing
I am a sucker for paper, for a place to jot notes and ideas and mini-timelines. It is such a pretty place to keep thoughts. Sure, it may become yet another one of those endless notebooks I found stashed away in every recess today, full of the jots and notes and doings of the Amiee of that moment (I tossed some, really, I did).
Mondo Lesson :: Clearing

The clean paper and clean room feel good; as the torrential rain washes away so much, so too is this course. I feel cleaner, more open, more able to see my Self and my desires and less judgmental of that Self.

But I am not lying to myself, there is still tons of work to do, including a few more closets, a fabric stash overflowing and a garage (shudder). But I am finally doing it. And that is awesome.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Journal This :: Intuition

Leaning into your intuition is a critical part of knowing how to move towards a Mondo Beyondo dream.

Where have your best impulses taken you?

Have you ever had a time where listening to your gut totally paid off?
What was the situation?
How did you know that you knew what to do next?


I feel like every best bit of my life exists from listening to my best impulses...

I saved my brother from a burning car at 16 and we ended up alive and with a generous settlement tucked away in a place we could not touch...

At 17 I went to NYC to look at colleges...instead I partied and whiled the days away with a friend...the day before we left I went to NYU to tour and left the tour in the library and decided to go to the school because the library was 4 floors high and the ground tile floor looked like an Escher drawing (who picks a college for that, right?)

I moved to NYC and wanted to be a MD but changed to their in-house PT program and finished school with a license to practice something at 21...

I left my PT job behind at 25 when the money from the accident came out and was given to me in check form (something like 78,000...who gets a check for that ever? Not me). Put half away and quit our jobs and took the other half and went to Africa...and Ireland...and Hawaii (I know, weird trip). And then Australia.

Bought the house i grew up in with my parents in it for a very reasonable price...the true blessing of this arrangement was revealed when Tim and I found out we were having twins...so many many hands to help.

I went back to work when my husband lost his job in March and trusted that he was ready and willing to be the provider at home...and watched our boys flourish under his daily beautifully patient attention.

It seems like my gut guides my life. Our lives actually, thank god my husband trusts me (usually). And the next part...what to do next...It feels like I want to say...listen to my gut.

I think I need this class, this Mondo class, to remind me that just because things changed, I became a Mama, a wife, a homeowner, some type of grown up, does not mean my gut does not work anymore.
This week has been such a good reminder of that.

But I have to add that the odd fairie tale like feel of the above does not tell the whole story...the accident left me with a ruined ankle that hurts, my brother with a broken but healed back, NYC shattered parts of me and left me battling some kind of panic disorder for some time, I left the PT job in part due to the everyday stress of working with seriously injured people, a lot of the money I responsibly invested evaporated in the market, my parents can drive me batty though I love them dearly, and having the twins initially left me with a deep dark depression that hurt so badly, the absence of joy during a time so very joyful. The Tim at home thing :: not one bad thing as a result of that.

In truth, these do not seem like bad things to me now...they just are part of the picture. And I wanted to include them so the picture feels more complete, you know?

Rain at Home

It feels like the door is opening. And the intuition I have always listened to is ready to speak. Something.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Secret Mission :: Share Hope

I have read about Hope Notes on the net before and thought it would be a lovely thing to do, but I never actualized those thoughts. This Monday started out with a secret mission :: to take some time to print up the Hope Notes provided by our lovely guides and then disperse. And they suggested we take some photos along the way and that is just what I did this morning.

I love that the Mondo class is helping me to initiate motion, to move towards things I thought in my mind would be nice things, but then never took to the last step, to the fruition. I feel so great this morning as I sit here writing this, loading up the pictures, wondering just who will find then and when those little notes will be discovered. Exciting and energizing.

I dropped the boys off at school and went on my regular round of 'to-do' which included the bank, the fabric store and the good ol' Target (sometimes you just have to be in the big boxes, much as I try to stay out). I took a note with me to each place, well, a couple notes and found the 'mission' part to be totally appropo...especially when sneaking pictures in the bank...
Secret Mission :: Hope Notes

Here is the bank, I figure someone walking into one of those institutions is going to need a reminder to dream...
Secret Mission :: Hope Notes

And my local JoAnn store.
Secret Mission :: Hope Notes
They are having a huge sale and I can see in my mind's eye one of the harried workers pulling out the bolt and unfolding it to find the little note and hopefully it will bring a smile to her face.
Secret Mission :: Hope Notes
When I turned to leave the aisle, I spotted something in the bin....this is a bundle of precious Heather Ross fabric, a discontinued line. Sitting there as if in wait for me.
Secret Mission :: Hope Notes
It was like a little tiny blessing from the spirits, a smile on my mission. So, I left another little note in a baby bundle of FQ.
Secret Mission :: Hope Notes

Once in Target, I left one in the bathroom, because what better place to be surprised by love...
Secret Mission :: Hope Notes

Then to the baby aisles. I figured the best place to leave one here was in the diaper rash ointment, because if a Mama or Daddy is picking this up, you know they need a little reminder that things are going to be okay.
Secret Mission :: Hope Notes

That is it for now...although we have a library visit planned for the afternoon and I have plenty of cards left. I am telling you, this exercise has really reminded me that sharing joy and hope is so much easier than you think. And though I am not able to see the folks that discover the note or know how it touches them, the act of performance on my part has left Hope scrubbed all over me.

I think I might just keep printing the notes up and keep a stash in my purse so on those days when it feels like the universe is calling for more, more dreams and hope and love, well, I will have just the ticket.

(And if you are one of my 'other' blog readers, I encourage you to play along. Make up your own sayings and start spreading your own brand of Hope. Lord knows we need it sometimes). :)