Friday, February 26, 2010

Beginning the Website

Terror. Complete and utter terror. I woke up this morning in a panic. Both of my parents came from very strict German households where anything short of perfection was not tolerated. My parents were better than there parents, but I still managed to grow up believing that any mistake was one too many. Many of my semesters in college and grad school I earned straight A’s.

Yet, I love to learn. This past week I have been reading a book on how to use Dreamweaver to create a website. I have done almost all of the little exercises. I finally decided, while I had the book out from the library and the concepts were fresh in my mind, it was time for me to build my own site. I was on an emotional high with the ideas, looking at the Css Web garden sites until late into the evening yesterday,

But, then the nagging started. I know next to nothing about graphic design. When I opened up Dreamweaver it looked like a foreign object again. Where did I look in my books to find out how to build a menu? All of a sudden all I saw was my ignorance. I didn’t see anything that I understood, anything that I did right. Screw beginner’s mind!! I hate it.

Yet, I am often the teacher. How can I expect anyone to follow me or listen to me if I don’t allow myself the vulnerability of being a beginner, of trying and failing, and trying again? This is how I learn empathy and compassion.

I also heard myself muttering, “On Roll Over do this…” Even as part of me is freaking out, another part of me is slowly putting together the pieces to make this thing work. How fascinating and complex is this Beginner’s Mind.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mood Enhancers

Many, many years ago I went out on a first date with a man who worked in the same mall that I did. Soon after we sat down to dinner, I found out that not only did he take a plethora of recreational drugs; he was in fact a drug dealer. At that time I was a tad on the conservative side in that area and was a bit freaked out. I have since moved to many tads conservative in that area. He was a sweet, sweet man, but I still remember him pouring out assorted pills in his hand. He had a drug to create whatever mood he wanted for the moment.

Fast forwarding to this week, I offered to bring over the first books in The First Ladies’ Detective Series by Alexander McCall Smith to a friend who is recovering from surgery. She answered with a quick “no thanks.” Nothing much happens in the books. Who cares, I thought; I like how I feel when I read Smith’s books. I feel connected with the world. I want to hug strangers and tousle the hair of small children. Lately I have been reading the Big Mike Series by Garrison Allen. What a balm for the dark funk I have been in. The characters are so wonderfully lightly bawdy. How can you not smile! Going to a library for me is like my date pouring out the pills in his hand. What kind of mood do I want to me in?

I tend to like to think that my mood enhancers are kinder and gentler. They don’t involve potential damage to major organs—other than my back when I tote too many home—and no innocent people are hurt. Well, maybe a few library patrons have had to jump out of my way when I have stalked a bit too enthusiastically towards the shelves.

Friday, February 12, 2010

In the Moment

So often I find my attention everywhere except the moment in which I actually am living. In the following quote from Reading Jesus Mary Gordon is talking about being fully present when reading the Gospels, but this quote could apply to some much of what we do.

If we focus in the moment as moment, we are committed to a radical present. We inhabit the terrain of experience rather than implication. We allow the experience of an experience; if we defer interpretation, allowing the events themselves to wash over and then penetrate us—what kinds of comprehension might then follow?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Preparing for the Future

I am rereading Love by Leo Buscaglia and found this wonderful quote about education and the future.

It isn’t enough to live and learn for today. We have to dream about what the world is going to be like in fifty years and educate for a hundred years hence and dream of a world a thousand years hence….Look at how our world has changed. No wonder we are confused and up tight and anxious—we were not prepared to deal with the world we are living in. And it’s moving so fast!