Every day I accept the incredible gift of being here…

Here I am. With these 3 simple words I proclaim my existence. Cogito ergo sum. I think therefore I exist. Wow, I have to think, too? That’s asking a lot! There are times that I just want to be – not often, mind you –  for I am by every definition a doer, constantly on the move, ever hurrying, in production, using my time wisely – that’s what I’m usually all about. But in those moments in which existential angst and my own mortality catch up with me, I am truly ready to just be. Taking the Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra 21 day meditation is just the beginning of the journey. I’m also learning about reading auras and I’m about ready to take up my Tarot cards again… Nothing wrong with trying to find some insights into the future, right? Striving to remember to accept the incredible gift of being here is a challenge even though by identifying it as a challenge it challenges its very precept… Life and living, an incredible gift indeed.

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Life in the MidTerm in an election year

Sometimes coasting is okay… That’s what I tell myself to rationalize these periods in life that are neither hot nor cold, neither vibrant nor boring, just life. I thought it a befitting title since we are in a very big election year that closes out two terms of our first African American president whom many refuse to give the credit he deserves. Now that’s passion and commitment. For my life in the MidTerm, it’s more about finding my stride again. sisyphus-1549Getting myself motivated and moving in a way that feels right; waking up with wonder and joy and falling asleep with contentment and gratitude. It’s about the passion I wrote about two years ago. It’s certainly in there somewhere, definitely not lost, but pulling it back up to the surface feels so difficult, a Sisyphean task. Woe is me who in Camus’ estimation may have slipped into the role of the absurd hero. Solitary and alone daily repeating my inconsequential existence – living Groundhog Day over and over again… But Bill Murray got smart. He mastered his skills and talents as he repeated his day, making corrections, avoiding mistakes, and improving the quality of his interactions to ultimately overcome his self-defeating character. My iPhone rings at 6:15 a.m. every (weekday) morning and I often feel the dread of another day of repetition, another day of the grind, another day pushing the rock up the hill. On the good days, I am able to take stock of the privileged and richly blessed vie en rose I lead. On the bad days, I’m just shoving the rock up the hill with the [bad] attitude that goes along with it. I’m voting for nothing but good days from now on.

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On the importance of being earnest…

It’s that moment when job meets work meets occupation meets profession meets passion meets life… The change happens gradually. That first job was truly a job–making 10 tacos for a dollar at Taco Time earning $3.25 an hour. It was fun. I worked with friends. But it was a job. When I was done with the night shift, I was DONE. Throughout my undergraduate years, I dreamed big about all the possibilities that would become available when I completed my studies. I studied earnestly. And I still held down a job and it was work. I had not yet moved to an occupation… In actuality, I’m not really sure when my work became an occupation. But I do know when my occupation became a profession and most importantly, when my profession became my passion. I had an inkling that my passion had been ignited when under the shower head, I would have an epiphany related to solving a problem in my profession. I recognized passion when I engaged in discussions with colleagues around revolutionizing our field. Finally, I didn’t even know that this thing called work could be so enjoyable, life-consuming, collegial, spirited, and expansive. What an amazing place to find myself.

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On losing track of daily miracles…

It’s happening. Half a year ago, the miracles never stopped or perhaps my ability to see and acknowledge them was so much more finely honed that daily I reveled in anticipation of this wondrous phenomenon. So how does one recapture the wonder? I’m searching my soul for answers. Granted the search is fleeting and my focus is somewhat diffuse–ah, I get it… When the comfort sets in, the challenges are not so grand, and life becomes somewhat easier we slip into a waking slumber that causes us to take for granted life’s awesomeness. I pledge to open my eyes, spirit, and soul to consciously see and experience that which I lost track of. Let the miraculous times roll! 

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Musings on a Tuesday afternoon in Tempe, Arizona…

Sitting behind my laptop listening to the buzz of conversations around me, I stop to take stock for just a second in an otherwise full day of “important” tasks, actions, and interactions which most of us refer to as “work”.  There’s something about being in the desert (though I have seen very little of it having spent most of my time in Arizona inside this rectangular office) that creates a space and a desire in me to think deeply, raise my awareness to a heightened sense of perception, and meld spirit, mind and body in ways that I just don’t do as much when I’m in Atlanta.

I wonder if it is the vast expanses that make me feel so small yet such an essential part of creation that engender these desires to connect to a higher self. Or could it be that we as a species do not engage as we should in more meaningful internal dialogues that bring us closer to becoming our very best selves? It’s these times when I feel like I am yet a hunk of formless clay ready to be molded and shaped into something useful, beautiful, and well-purposed– the form cannot mold itself, but there could be no form without the clay. I place myself in the Hands of one that cannot produce anything but perfection…

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New Job, New Life, and Miracles Still Happening Every Day!

Ever wonder why? Why the world is so kind to you, yet harsh to others? Why for every worry you don’t have, others must carry more than their equitable share? If you look back on life, writ large, you might be able to see (but only for yourself), how it came to pass. Bachi, karma, and other words that basically lay out the “you reap what you sow” philosophy can sometimes provide some rationale for all of this… But what of the unexplainable, blatant, in your face instances where there is no plausible reason for what is? I think of this as the mystery of human existence and our connection to God (by whatever name or form you define this higher being/power–always in service to good and not evil, that enhances and builds up and does not hinder, harm, oppress, nor diminish anyone–my name for this is Jesus) that helps us get through these existential moments.

Why did my two lovely sisters succumb to cancer much too early in their existences on this earthly plain? Why was I born with an orientation that made me an outlier early on? Why do some have so much while other have so little? If you thought I was referring to the dollar bill, that is only one aspect of having, albeit of utmost importance to our American lifestyle. I’m talking about possessing generosity of spirit, joy, love, endless curiosity, goodness, health, compassion, friendships, family…name yours.

I do know a couple of things: I am blessed with a life that is dreamlike in its quality; if I keep my eyes and heart open, I witness miracles happening to, through, and for me every single day; solid and healthy relationships are the bread of life and they need to be nurtured and cared for–which means they take time; we are here to help one another, period. And I think this is what God’ plan for us is… it is not rocket science or brain surgery. We are, in fact, getting pretty good at both of these areas… Not so much for the other points on my list of things I know.

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Labor Day Weekend is here and I’m laboring!

Labor Day Weekend… Cookouts, get-togethers with friends, and leisure time. But here I am at SERVE on this Friday before Labor Day, plotting out the next few days, knowing that I will be here on Monday to continue the urgent work. Thanks to the US Department of Education, many of us at SERVE are hacking away at responding to clarification questions on our lab proposal. I am so thankful we have questions to answer and a very good chance at winning the contract that will keep us going for another five year period and allow us to do GREAT work in the field of education.

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Public Education in the US… Gotta love it. Signed, a poor immigrant kid

So there are a number of us who lived through and thrived in the public education system in a small, redneck town in Oregon. In one generation, my family went from non-English speaking, immigrant, poor working class to solidly middle and, dare I say, upper middle class. How could that happen in a system that is reportedly so messed up? Was it because I entered elementary school in the 60’s and the 60’s were just better? Am I just a VERY scaled-down version of the Oprah success story and just another anecdotal outlier? At some level, it doesn’t matter to me, because the fact of the matter is that I learned to read and write well through the public school system. I learned to use my brain and though sometimes challenged and sometimes, not, I planned to be successful. I didn’t have the luxury of being bored with the whole situation and deciding to “opt out” because it wasn’t what I thought was most important to me…

I sometimes see newly immigrated families riding around with more kids in the car than is safe if applying today’s standards for automobile passenger safety. The kids are wearing hand-me-down clothes, smell like fried food, and have giant smiles on their faces. I see a reflection of myself in their eyes. I’m hoping those children and their parents will have access to what I was able to enjoy– a modicum of success in a country where it is still possible to start with nothing and end with more than you ever dreamed of. I still believe in the dream and I am ever hopeful.

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Blog beginnings- no rants yet…

Well, this is, as the title states, a blog beginning. I’ve never had a public blog, so this is a first. A place to voice my opinion, share thoughts, vent frustrations, and highlight miracles… Wow, why didn’t I do this sooner? A place for healthy exchange of ideas and discussions on important topics– I will do my best to keep it lively. For now, it’s Friday afternoon after a long work week, so don’t expect any pearls in this first post. Stay tuned and I promise to conjure up some interesting topics!

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