Sunday, November 22, 2015

It's like Nike says

According to my Starfleet Daily Meditation Manual today’s meditation begins with the admonition from Captain Benjamin Sisko, "Don’t think about it, just do it."

I think that this affirmation has a lot to do with confidence. After so many things that we’ve done, and so many years of doing them successfully, do we still continue to second guess ourselves every time? Some things we do not think about like walking, breathing, tying our shoes.  How many other things do we do daily? Cook, clean, shop. It’s not the function that requires our attention, it’s just the details. The when and the where, but certainly not the how! We just do.
What do we do spiritually? We pray, meditate, practice, support and nurture. These things we also do automatically, as part of our routine. We know the when and the where. It is Spirit that is the how.

We need not spend the time or energy calculating our blessings, asking how, we need only to be grateful. The focus is not on receiving the gift, but being grateful for the richness and abundance the Universe has shown us.  Spending the time and energy by concentrating on receiving those blessings implies that we need to remind the Universe how to do its job. The process that we know for sure is that we are achieving personal growth, that we have what we need when we need it, and that we are right where we are supposed to be. Just do it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Scary? Close your eyes and just do it!

I used to be afraid of roller-coasters. I remember as a child I rode on one or two rides called the Wild Mouse – zooming bullet shaped cars with a person in the front and the back, reeling around rickety corners on thin metal tracks. It always felt like I was going to be thrown off the tracks at every turn. As I got older, that ride became even MORE scary to me and I stopped riding it.

The first time I went to Disneyland as a child, I managed not to ride on Space Mountain (dark and scary) but I did ride the Matterhorn – a roller-coaster that ducks in and out of the sides of the mountain and has a couple very precarious drops.

When I went with my friend and her niece and nephew to a county fair, she said, ‘I’m glad you’re here so you can ride on all the sick rides with the kids.’ Being given that assignment, I was forced to ride on all the rides that I had previously determined were off my list. There was the Ferris wheel, a winding roller-coaster with a loop in it, the ride that pins you to the inside walls and the floor falls out, and two or three others that I have since wiped from my memory. They were truly the ‘sick’ – as in, makes you nauseated – rides.

The next time the carnival came to my town, I found myself in the front seat of a Salt and Pepper Shaker. This is a ride in which the bullet shaped cars actually spin around at the same time as they drive you face first into what looks like sudden death by crashing into the earth. But that is only half the ride, the other half it reverses assuring that at the end of this ride there will be a short period spent with your head between your knees in recovery.

But that’s not what happened to me. On this occasion, I spent the ride observing my behavior. It was as if I was given this opportunity to truly evaluate what part of the ride was the most disturbing. I was in some carnival ride trance and listening and paying attention to the various parts of my body. I found that if I closed my eyes and didn’t see the ground coming, I enjoyed the thrilling speed of the ride. I found that the constant spinning in a circle was unnerving and my stomach was not happy about that part. I also discovered that I was actually laughing with joy more than I was screaming in fear.
Conclusion? If the ride was fast and furious, I could do it with my eyes closed, but if it spun around too much, it just made me nauseous.

Again, as an adult, I had the opportunity to take my kids to Disneyland. They all decided to ride Space Mountain. I wanted to test my theory. There we were, zooming through the dark, as the panic started to rise in me, I merely closed my eyes. What a thrill! I enjoyed that roller-coaster immensely although I must say I didn’t see much of it.

When they were determined to ride one of the famous sick and spinning rides (the swing that rolls out and smashes the person on the outside against it's walls, for example) I chose to bow out.

Next stop, a challenge. In Nevada, we have a roller-coaster famous for its first drop – 1 mile straight down. As the roller-coaster climbed, I felt the panic start to rise in me as well, and I remembered - ‘close your eyes’ – which I did. 

Tons of stories of childhood came flooding into my memory both positive and negative. Closing my eyes to get a shot, surprise me. Closing my eyes at funerals with open caskets, spare me. Closing my eyes in a warm embrace, hold me. 

And when it was done, we whooped and hollered and cheered our success!

So I figured out that for me, if it feels like it's going to make me sick, I avoid it altogether. But if it’s just scary, whatever it is, all I have to do is close my eyes and get through it. Take the ride and when it’s over, celebrate the outcome!

Starting Something

For years I have been wanting the things that are in my heart to also be how I earned income. The things that I have done run the gamut from writing, dancing, stage managing, producing, directing, teaching, coaching and more! I do these things because they are my AVOCATION. But they have never been the things I do for my VOCATION. My vocation includes all the administrative, executive and paper-pushing business functions that you can imagine.

I went to graduate school to get a degree that certified my combination of these unique business skills with my artistic sensibilities but came home to a recession that dashed my hopes of ever combining the two. So I went back to work in an office and played 'producer' by night and on the weekends.

I feel like I have spent all of my life with one foot in each of these areas, in spite of my newly acquired (well, I'll say 'recently' acquired since it's been almost a decade!) degree in Arts Administration. Often, I share with my friends that idea that some cities are ripe for some skills, talents and activities, yet some are not. Las Vegas, for example, has no real business infrastructure. The casinos are and will always be, the number one employer of the city. Timeshares run a close second. Without an interest in casino work or timeshares, the rest of the town are tons and tons of small businesses with few workers and a plethora of minimum wage jobs.

I have recently been inspired to yet ANOTHER opportunity, and it’s all because of an event that I went to in October, 2014 in Tempe, Arizona. The event was hosted by who are “building a movement to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world.”

Through conversation, presentations and videos I was deeply inspired and motivated to participate in a local movement of the Baby Boomer generation in Las Vegas. We have lots of retirees, at least as many as Arizona. I was thinking surely there were lots of organizations here already that I could join to support this movement of re-purposing the lives of folks that retired from one thing and ready to do another. Individuals that I was sure would be interested in giving back to their communities in Clark County.

As it turns out, there are almost no organizations that support elder Americans in pursuit of alternatives to retirement here in Las Vegas. There are age-restricted communities that have activities inside their walls, but no organizations that support training or retraining individuals, that support Manager or Mentor programs for companies, or even true volunteer opportunities because, like I said, beyond Casinos, there’s not much else going on.

So I started ‘Your Next Option’ as an organization that supports elder Americans with an option for ‘UN-Retirement.’ That is, individuals who are 55 years of age or older who are not interested in retiring from the workforce, but retiring from what they’re doing NOW to perhaps do something that they’ve always dreamed of. We started with a meetup. Once a month we meet to get together and address personal challenges, use a questionnaire for talking points, brainstorm issues and eat a few snacks.

In January, I’m adding an education component to address financial issues for people over 50, palliative care, alternative housing options, and other critical issues vital to an aging population.

I will give it my best shot. I’ll keep you posted.

Me and the Universe

On Wednesday morning I went to the ‘How to Write a Business Plan’ class at a local facility that holds business classes for folks just getting started. People introduced themselves in the class. The woman sitting in front of me said her name was India Winner. She told the story about being a dancer and working on creating a performing arts center. When it was my turn, I first said, India, I know you, and then I introduced myself to the group. She turned to look at me quizzically, so I just smiled and waved in a gesture indicating that we’d talk after.

When the class was over, I said to India that our mutual friend Leila told me all about her. Turns out that Leila talks to India all about me as well! This was the first time we ever met in person. And then as we jogged down the rabbit hole of people and places, we discovered other friends and relationships that we had in common.

My cousin says, ‘When you are on the path, you are going to meet others on the path who also know who you know on the path!’

So India took a selfie and sent it to Leila (who screamed upon receipt of the photo, of course) and then sent back a text to India that I was the woman she was thinking about because I had a degree in Arts Administration. When I asked India what that meant, she told me the story of their goal to acquire a Dance Studio out near our local Community College and that they wanted to find an Executive Director. She had mentioned a different woman to Leila, but Leila had told her she had someone else in mind, and it turns out that it was ME!

That is how my day began. Afterward, I went to see my Internist, Dr. V. She has an office down the street from my Ob-gyn, Dr. J, who is more than my doctor; she is also my friend socially. So when I go to see my Internist, I park in Dr. J's parking lot and I always try to stick my head in Dr. J’s door as I go by. I rarely get to see her, though, or to even say hello because she is so busy. On this day, though, I really wanted to see her in person. However, discouraged from having tried unsuccessfully on several other occasions to see her, instead of sticking my head in her door, I just got in my car and drove away.

I decided to have lunch since I had another appointment with my Practitioner on this side of town and didn’t want to drive home in between. I called a couple friends but no one was answering their phone. I decided to just take myself to lunch. I stopped at a local Mediterranean eatery. I ordered my food, and just when it arrived I happened to look out of the window, and there was my Ob-gyn coming into the restaurant! I just stood up and opened my arms. She looked up when she entered and came rushing over to my embrace! We giggled and squealed and I told her that I had manifested her because I really wanted to see her. It turns out that she was coming in to have lunch with a few friends who were patiently awaiting her arrival. We hugged again. Then I went back to my lunch and she went on to her friends.

I still had a little more time so I made a quick stop to visit my friend who works at the library. I told her about my morning and how I had manifested my doctor. We laughed about how many times I have done that! Then we talked a bit about a project I am working on, and I mentioned a friend that owns a store on another side of town who wants to work with me as a sponsor. When I mentioned her store, my friend from the library said, ‘I know her, we’ve worked together before.’ I laughed and said ‘Of course you know her, that’s how my day is going!’ We chatted for a little while longer, and then I left.

I finally went to my appointment with my Practitioner. I told her about the woman that I had met that morning and manifesting my doctor at the Mediterranean eatery. As I was discussing the ‘magical’ day I was having, I also told her that I had just discovered another friend of mine was also a Practitioner, Diana Jones. It turns out that my Practitioner had sat on Diana’s confirmation panel!

I had one of those days because, for me, that’s how the Universe works.

*true story but not real names