Health to Spend

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“Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for.
Spend all you have before you die; do not outlive yourself.”

—George Bernard Shaw

 I’ve read that before, several times. But today when I read it, I thought, that’s what I’ve been holding back on. But why? I’ve been wanting my health back for more than a decade now. During that time it lurched away from me in fits and starts till little remained. Now it really is back. In fact, sometimes I don’t recognize it because it still seems like a stranger. I am strange to myself, so I’m trying to reacquaint myself to my new self. I go walk now and I think I’m just strolling, not pushing for speed or distance. But when I return home, I look at my pedometer and I’ve covered more than 2 miles in just a little over 30 minutes. I don’t get that. I’m looking forward to the day when I expect that and a lot more. When I was sick, I thought I was always walking fast but could never walk a mile in 15 minutes. Never. So next week I’m shooting for 2.5 miles a day because, well, taking Mr. Shaw’s advice, I might as well wear out my health, spend it all. The week after that, 3 miles.

Today, I’m shooting for a zumba class downtown on the Auraria Campus at 5:15 to 6:15 pm taught by a friend of mine who used to teach the African dance class I attended for eight years. I’m a little nervous. But this time, today, I’m packin’, I’m carryin’ a big gun full of health. I’m going out to shoot it out with life. Open carry in Denver today.

Politics

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Somewhere along the way, I became interested in politics. It could have even begun as early as age 24 in 1972 when I moved to Washington, D.C. for a year. It just happened to be the beginning of Watergate and we got the Washington Post daily and Sunday and The New York Times on Sunday, too. So much was happening across the Potomac from where I lived in Old Towne Alexandria. Besides all the flurry around those larger-than-life scandals and crimes, Nixon was the cartoon-character-sized personification of Evil.
I lived there till the spring of 1973, then moved back to Honolulu where I was interested in the women’s movement and  local native Hawaiian embroilments and activism. I worked with Hawaiian musicians then and heard a lot of their anger and resentment. I even worked on Neil Abercrombie’s first political campaign and he went on to become governor of Hawaii. In August of 1973, Nixon resigned from the Presidency. What a relief.
Now I watch Rachel Maddow’s show on my computer the day after it has aired. And I read articles my friends post on Facebook and The Economist and what comes in my email from national politicians and The White Helmets.
I try to keep up. My Grandmother Bennett, who lived to age 94, read the newspaper every day and stayed current with all the news, liked to talk and laugh about it.

Written 26 April 2015/Sun

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”
John Muir

 

 

A Lavender Night

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Once it was completely dark outside, beginning
of a lavender night, she walked outside.
The moon was full, the night sky luminous,
shining its silver light as the earth turned.
In Australia, in China and Japan, over the
Middle East and onto Buenos Aires,
New York City and then the west coast
of North America.
California would begin to see the full
moon an hour after she viewed it
shining on her marigolds.
In Denver.

 

The harvest moon is now a waning gibbous moon,
88% illuminated
on this date, September 19, 2016.

A Bucket List

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For the first time ever, I wrote a bucket list. The first thing I wrote was to return to Buenos Aires for three to six months, taking Violet, of course. Then the second item was a trip to Patagonia and a stay in an estancia there. The third, a return to tango. So that pretty much sums up one-third of the list – Buenos Aires, tango, Patagonia. Embracing Argentina.

Then last night I read about Tibetan Buddhism and death, and how important it is to do exactly what you want in life. To be there for yourself and life and every moment.
Written June 2, 2015

 

Zen Things

Do one thing at a time

Do it slowly and deliberately

Do it completely

Do less

Americanita

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On my last day in Buenos Aires in January 2003, I was dubbed Americanita by the storekeeper and his wife in the deli across from Claudio’s house. I remember things at funny times and I wonder why they brushed against my mind in that moment. I was happy then. That was 13 years ago in Saavedra barrio on Miller Street, far from Capital Federal. I had been staying at Claudio Massonat’s house and making frequent trips to the store during the three weeks I was there. On that bittersweet day I was taking their pictures and they were taking mine with my camera. The film got stuck in the camera and I never got them developed. But in my mind’s eye I can still see and feel that afternoon, the inside of the store and its many delicious scents, standing outside in the sunlight on the quiet street, the people’s smiles and their kindness to me. That trip was when Buenos Aires became my heart city, mi ciudad del corazón.

 

Zen Thing #11 – Think about what is necessary

Being a Fool

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I wonder what I’m doing here on earth. I don’t think of it consciously often. It’s more of a basso continuo that keeps repeating under everything I do in a day. At night sometimes the floodgates open and I dream what I should be and want to be doing. And sometimes I just get a small, quiet nudge – yes, move in this direction. I know I am a writer. But how to put that to my best use? It doesn’t lie in writing for other people. That doesn’t pay enough to make me suffer through their content and try to make sense out of it. No, I’d rather be a big fool and write my own fiction, non-fiction, blog posts. Foolishly happy. That.

 

Be regular and orderly in
your life, so that you may be
violent and original in your work.

                        —Gustave Flaubert

Writing Daily

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Dedicated to Marie Cartier, Ph.D.
Author, Baby, You’re My Religion

At the end of 1991, I made a commitment to write every single day of 1992. I was inspired by an extraordinary poet and writing teacher, Marie Cartier, who taught classes at the Arvada Center for a few years in the summers. I took her classes for two years and learned about my love for writing in her classes. So, on January 1, 1992, I woke up at 4:30 a.m., with no alarm, and got coffee and went to my room where I developed a little ritual – listen to one track of Marie’s meditation and prompt tape, turn on some very soft music (something without a beat or lyrics) and light a candle. That ritual may not have been necessary, but I liked it. And I still do the ritual every morning 24 years later. At the end of that first year there was no stopping me. I don’t get up at 4:30 now but I do like to get up in the dark when the world is quiet, put on writing clothes, make coffee, light a candle, put on Coyote Oldman or Enya and write.
I’ve written countless journals over the years, most of them saved in boxes. I keep swearing I’m going to have a huge bonfire on a Winter Solstice. I’m afraid now the fire department would be called because there are so many books to burn now!
I took Natalie Goldberg’s advice in Writing Down the Bones to buy cheap notebooks instead of pricey journals so it didn’t matter to me what I wrote down. No precious paper to waste! I hardly read what I write in the morning and it all lasts about an hour. That first year, though, I was mining my life and would easily write two hours every day; I was tilling my soil. I filled a composition book every month.
In 2007 for my master’s degree, I was able to write a memoir based on much of what I wrote in my journals. My committee loved it (their words, not mine) and told me to publish. I haven’t yet.
In 2014 my first novel grew from some characters who just showed up one morning in my journal and started telling me their story. I balked, claiming I wasn’t a fiction writer. But I caved to their developing story after three days of their showing up, and finished the first draft nine months later.

I wrote the first part of this entry 26 May 2015, a Tuesday.

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