Monday, February 28, 2011

The Not Bucket List

Have you ever thought about having a bucket list? Maybe you have already started one. Maybe you've checked everything off your list. I've been toying with the idea of a bucket list the past couple weeks. I don't know why, but it popped into my head recently that I ought to have one, and I've resisted the idea all at the same time. I've been trying to tease out my resistance, when part of the answer struck me. Via Facebook, naturally.
A friend of mine announced she'd been able to check something off her list. My first reaction to her choice was that it was certainly not on my list of things to do. But that's okay, that's why we all have our own bucket list. I'm glad she got to do one of the things she really wanted to do, even if it's not something I would make an effort to do. At the same time, given the same opportunity, I would take it, even if it's not one I would chase.
This is where my thoughts started to really percolate. If I had made a bucket list ten or twenty years ago, would I really care about the things I checked off my list that I had accomplished? Am I resistant to the list because I don't want to expend energy chasing something that won't matter in a decade? There are plenty of things I thought I wanted, and in retrospect, that is not me.
And, all of a sudden, the bucket list feels like life; and I begin to touch on my resistance. Life is nothing like I thought it would be as I imagined it 20 years ago. Not. a. single. thing. (I know, the period after every word to make a point is so tired right now, but I like it.) Part of my process as a spiritual being is to be able to embrace what is happening, and to let go of disappointment and expectation. It's useless anyway. I'm kind of glad I don't have a list of things I haven't done staring me in the face. Not to mention that I've done a lot of things I never thought I would. A thirty day challenge of Bikram Yoga would not have been on the list because I didn't even know about it even 5 years ago, and yet, I could put a check mark next to it. Calming down a gigantic angry horse also would not have been on the list, but I feel like a badass because I've done that. (My apologies to my more genteel readers, but I could not find any other word.) And, speaking of horses, riding a horse into the hills at the base of Petra in Jordan with a man who may or may not have had intentions of making me his tenth wife, also not on the list, but worthy of a check mark.
I like the idea of a bucket list. I like the idea that if we visualize goals, they are more likely to come about. I also like the idea that life is unfolding, and though it's not like I would have scripted it, it's been an adventure I wouldn't trade. I still may sit down and think about what I'd like to accomplish or see or do. It's a delicate balance: chasing dreams and living with hands and heart open wide. I haven't totally released the idea of a bucket list; perhaps, if I had one, it would contain only one item. For now I'm appreciating the free form life I'm living and tending my wide open heart. Where are you?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Be Here Now

I can't believe I'm going to drop this name in my blog: Kim Kardashian. I'm so not a fan of the new breed of (non)reality show famous people, and this post really is not about her. Nevertheless, a recent story concerning her touched on something I've already been thinking about. I heard that Prince recently pulled her on stage and then kicked her off for not dancing with him at his show. I also heard that she was Twittering about it on stage. That is not true. She waited all the way until she got off stage.....but it brought up an interesting point. We've become so obsessed with updating all our moments, we are often not really present to the moment we are experiencing. I can't tell you how many of my friends have updated their Facebook with the news that they are on a date with their significant other. Really? You're on a date? And, you're updating your status? Must be a fantastic date. (And my apologies to my recent "date" in front of whom I checked a Facebook message. I did it on purpose....)

As I was already planning on writing about this, I had to laugh when I saw the above comic this morning. (On Facebook, of course.) The constant updating reminds me of this comic. It sometimes feels like a competition to post the most commented on/liked update. It's a fine line. I do really appreciate much of what I read on these social sites. I'm encouraged, I learn, I grow. I share things because I'm on a journey and don't want to go alone, but perhaps I share to show (off) how enlightened I am.
Then, just when I'm kicking myself for being a swaggering, arrogant and evolved show-off, my mind shifts once more. Yesterday, I was walking underneath blossoming cherry trees, and the air smelled absolutely divine. I wished there was a way to post a 3-d photo and scent on Facebook. I wanted to share that moment because it felt so good, and what would have made it feel even better would have been seeing someone else enjoy the moment. (Of course I should have wished someone was there with me physically. Alas, it's too late, I think in terms of updates.)
While I am technically an introvert, I live for moments shared with other people. My fondest memories include others, and we're usually laughing or eating, or both or neither.
Sometimes, being here now is lonely. (Not so much for Kim, surrounded by Prince fans at a concert), but for others stuck in a cubicle, or home with two or three whiny little munchkins, here now screams for diversion. We've built a little techno community of updates, music, photos and all manner of diversion.
Still, I'm not going to lie, as much as this blog is intended to extend grace to myself and to others, I'm sure a good many updates, including my own, are self aggrandizing tripe, and the author would do better to actually enjoy the moment rather than trumpeting it. On the other hand, when I click over to Facebook, and see even as I write this post, my conservative Christian friend's husband is giving their 4 year old a mohawk, I smile. I'm glad she took the time to share that moment. I'll take the good with the bad; (and really, it's all good), which only proves: I've reached enlightenment before you.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I am a hoarder

I am a hoarder. It's true. I'm not proud of it. It's difficult to admit because my image of a hoarder has always been a very old lonely person reeking of urine. It's also difficult to admit because there aren't the tell tale stacks of magazines lining my walls, or newspapers tucked every where. In fact, for the most part, my home is tidy and everything has a place. Never the less, a cold hard truth is being addressed. I can't let go.
I save travel sized toiletries and cosmetic samples in case I go on a trip. Thing is, I have more than I need. Moreover, I never ever use the samples on trips. I also have this weird habit as well: whenever I buy something new, say a new lip balm, I don't finish the old one, but "save" it. I do that with lotion and toothpaste and the list goes on. Dirty. little. secret.
I've been in a new phase. The un-hoarding phase. I feel a little lighter every day. I've finished off lotions and lip balms and am watching my contribution to the land fill pile up. I've been dealing with all the odd "gourmet" items in my kitchen that I've saved for a rainy day. The weather has been rather spring like this winter, but I'm pretending these are rainy days and binging on food not normally in my repertoire.
As I go through my stashes of this n that, I feel like Templeton the pack-rat from Charlotte's Web. He would find random objects and save them, just because. I found a tooth token from a dentist I'd never even heard of in my coin box. All I can say is....well, there's nothing I can say, that's just weird.
I think this unloading mirrors my emotional life as well. I think some of us hang onto feelings and even relationships that no longer serve us. Please, don't get me wrong, I don't enter into relationships to be served. But, sometimes the give and take becomes the give and give. Life is short really. Some of the feelings I carry or relationship perspectives I have sap my energy. They just take up space, that should be filled with joy instead. I have some feelings that are like that tooth token. I don't even know where they came from, they're just weird inexplicable feelings that serve nothing. I'm working to banish them.
Some feelings do serve as guide posts to learn lessons. I'm trying to feel what I ought to feel then purge it all out, lesson learned. It's a process, and it's certainly not as tidy as a trash bag I get to put out on the curb once a week. Tidy, or not, things are moving and the results are rewarding.
I'm looking forward to the space, both physically and emotionally that will be open for more beauty and joy as I let go of all the stuff.