Take me to the river, drop me in the water.

As an ex-whitewater river guide, River has taught me many things, possibly even more once I stopped guiding. So this is one of my main metaphors for this project. And I have some things lines up, like meds (!), time, and almost a bit of clarity. Drop me in the river dammit, because I know how to navigate and survive WITH holding on to a sense of wonder and awe while I’m in it.

Now (here comes Mr. Excuse) if only this neuropsych testing report would go away so I could just focus on this proposal…hard to cook and run a river, so having two big things at once is a reasonable cough excuse.

But I’m all for nudging others if in fact I can get nudged, too! Let’s have substantial (all??) portions of our proposals done by Monday, August 31, 2009. I’m done with my Internship on Friday, August 28, so I’m allotting a day or so to party and recover. It’s the least I can do after being torn about this year.

By the way, I also do not know what the final form will look like either. Qualitative is the direction I’m leaning, but if I can do a quantitative project, that would be cool, too. I haven’t done one full-bore before, and I’d like the experience. Of course, the best dissertation is a DONE dissertation, and I also have the option of doing a program design/evaluation that would line up what I would do with data, but by proposing a program, I don’t have to actually carry it out. A bit more work on the front end (proposal) but a great project nonetheless, and it might be something I can actually implement (like my own little business plan).

Ok, start paddling. “All ahead!”

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Soulcraft, Rumi, and a Dissertation

I never fell asleep. Maybe it was the Ladysmith Black Mambazo playing in the background of our room, something to help me sleep. Maybe it was that shot or three of flat Mountain Dew I pounded just before heading to bed (why was that here? I so rarely drink soda now) keeping me up. There are at least a dozen other associations that come to mind.

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But I think I just found what I needed to move forward with my dissertation proposal. Connection after connection. And I woke up. Right to the laptop and type type type. Head to bed? Well, let’s pull this one book out to put some form to this line of thought. “Soulcraft” by Bill Plotkin. I know it well. I flip to the Contents.

And what is before me on the page, at 1:12am after getting out of bed on this Tuesday night now Wednesday, discovering the missing links that seemed to keep my project from moving forward, from keeping me from carrying out my vision “on this side of the trees,” from completing this fairly insane process?

The same quote that Julie, my wife, painted on our bedroom wall in New Hampshire while I was away in New Mexico on my Vision Quest the summer of ’07. Rumi:

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.”

When to start writing?

So I hit one of those places where I never find time to write, but in fact, I’m probably looking for the time it would take to write some manifesto or something.

All of nothing. It sort of is how I operate, even though I know it.

But there’s lots of my mind, in my heart, testing my soul…no shortage of things to write about.

I also seem to dance between living in the moment and stopping to write. Again, one or the other, not necessarily a balance of both.

I recently purchased Julie Cameron’s “The Right to Write” – I’ve been a big fan of her work for a long time. With a dissertation that needs to really start soon, massive transitions, and the need to integrate a great deal of teaching and learning, I thought it might help me out. Gonna crack it open while the boys are outside.

We’ll see where it leads me. Sparrow taught me to say “yes” to the unfolding. I have one particular outcome in mind, and it might be time to let that go and say yes to what comes.

Rites of Passage – Allergies

It seems a bit odd to me to put the rites of passage and allergies together, but there really is a reason.

I did not have allergies growing up.  At all.  Then, cats and pollen and who knows what else started bothering me.  Spring became a difficult time since I love to be outside and I would get just filled with sinus pressure and misery.  This happened year after year.  10+ years later, I think it’s time to accept that fact that I have allergies.  Really.  😉

So as a rite of passage to personhood, to soul self (a la Bill Plotkin and others), adulthood self, etc., it’s time to just say aloud, “I have allergies.”

I am a part of the landscape.  I exist here in this time and place.  I can use medicine.  All of these are lessons I have learned recently in the past year, and they apply to allergies.  Yes, allergies.

Acceptance.  Saying “Yes” to the unfolding of life.  Sometimes this acceptance ss not so glamorous or intense or mind-blowing.  It’s just dealing with allergies.

And the wild thing about all of this?  Even though I am declaring this aloud now, I have been closer to acceptance over the past year.  This season, even though we had a long, beautiful, white winter here in New Hampshire, I am hardly being bothered by them at all.

Moving through (…or something…)

Onward and upward.

Hobbies, Self-Care, Vision, and Joy

Tomorrow is my last day of class.  I woke up this morning really tied up in knots.  For many reasons, some obvious, some not so obvious.  It’s interesting for me to notice that the past two days I have been knowing I need some exercise…even a walk.  I could feel that tension building to a degree that even in the rain, I needed to get moving.

So waking up all tied up today sans exercise (the past few days as well as for way too long – only 2 road bike rides so far) was all the more difficult knowing I’d have to really push to make time to release some energy.

After tomorrow, I should have more time for many things that have been left behind, neglected, forgotten about, etc. during this 4-year marathon of a graduate school program.  And to think I still have a full year of internship and dissertation left…

What are some of those things (not so much “people”  because those ones are too obvious) that, in between today’s bouts of excitement, sadness, joy, and despair, come to mind?

•    Photography (in particular more nature photography I used to do)
•    Gardening (we’ve had a pretty sweet garden the past 2 years, but it was starting from scratch and now we’re moving)
•    Exercise (weights, triathlons, mountain biking come to mind as things I haven’t done.  I’ll keep up on hockey, hopefully snowboarding a few times next season, road biking (still new to me), and showing the boys what nature is.)
•    “My Practice” – this is what I call the larger things that make up spiritual practice and growth
•    My Vision – time to go back to the Vision Quest and ween or prune out what’s not useful anymore.

This is just a starting point.  But it’s refreshing to know that I might have some psychic space opening up to “tend the garden.”

But first, I can’t wait to experiment with trying to stay in bed for 24 straight hours.  Recovery begins on Tues.

Saying Good-bye

Almost 4 years in one place – one house, one town, one main job (grad school). This is the longest I’ve been in one place in quite some time. I suppose I lived in Ann Arbor for longer during my undergrad yeras, but there was a new room or new house every year. Even going back to Ann Arbor for over a year afterwards was great, but still different.

But this place, this land, this community, this endeavor, these people – it’s going to be so hard to leave, and I’m sure leaving won’t be just driving away. It’s already started, and I’m sure it will continue after the house is packed up and we roll out of town. The connections, the trials, the work, the experiences. Rich. Heavy.

It is safe to say that I have never connected to people and a place like I have here. Truly. It speaks to the power of this place and people, but also to my own journey and growth. It has rarely been easy, but I’ve gotten my hands in things I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve pushed harder than I’ve ever pushed.

The wild thing is that we don’t even know where we’ll be living next year…where the boys will be in daycare. Sure I know where my Internship will be, but there’s no place lined up, no other income. Fortunately, there are some family and friends in that area, but they can’t really put a roof over our heads for the most part.

But the attention right now is on the good-bye. There are some rituals in my program that will happen in a week. I’ll have to think of some for myself as well.

The way life unfolds continues to blow me away. Even at this moment, I am seeing a client/patient who has been through a great deal of loss recently. He is struggling to say good-bye while at the same time moving forward with his own health. Recently, I reminded him that my time here is limited as well. My next move is public knowledge. He quickly tensed up, fearing another loss and more abandonment.

So, I’ll finish up this section of my training with a parallel process working it’s magic. We are both learning how to let go, to say good-bye, to open up to new beginnings, and to just saying “Yes” to the unfolding of life. Right at this critical intersection, we’ll have to say good-bye to each other.

I have left places with a bummed heart. I have left places with a middle finger flying in the air as I drove away. I have left places without barely noticing. I have left places wondering why I was leaving.

I will leave this place in such a new and different way. In that process I will say “Good-Bye.” I hope I do it well.

Do you have a Vision?

Do you have a picture or image of some sort of what sets out ahead of you?  Are you at the stage of living or implementing your Vision such that there is little in terms of physical form to show for it?

How do you cultivate it?  How do you continue to move it forward, accept life’s unfolding and maintain the momentum, focus, or attention to see it through?

I guess it is the million dollar question…