Tag Archives: Cheri Huber

Procrastination Station

I don’t need NaNoWriMo’s procrastination station.  I have an infinite supply of my own. Like this blog.  I should be writing many, many words right now. In my novel, that is.  Instead I’m writing words here.  Because my brain is working like these sentences. Small and random and not well put together.

So here’s my random collection of things to share this evening.

  1. Nano halo with ice cream horns

    Nano halo with ice cream horns

    This is a picture of what I look like right now. I’ve decided this is my Nano halo, complete with ice cream horns.

  2. I am weary. I moved houses, again, today. This is a house I will move out of on Dec. 1st, so I can move back into it on Dec. 15th. And I will live there until at least April.  April!  Oh god! If you want to know how I feel about this, go look at the cover of the latest New Yorker Magazine.  You should seek it out anyway. (Thanks Dale.)
  3. It is ridiculously beautiful in Big Sur right now.  I feel bad for all of you who live in places that are cold and rainy.  It is sunny (not now, because it’s nighttime) and 80 degrees and I did yoga on a deck this morning next to a hot tub, overlooking 180 degree blue blue ocean view. (Thanks Nadine!)  I say this to inspire you all to come visit. Since I will soon have a house. And to say “Thank you god for not making me move in the cold rainyness.” Because today I would have just sat down in the mud and cried.
  4. My friend Mike from London is coming to visit on Monday.  Yea.
  5. I’m having lunch with my friend Chris tomorrow. Yea.
  6. I’m going to Mexico in February. Yea. (Thanks Mom.)
  7. I’m going to San Francisco this weekend to write dangerously, at the Night of Writing Dangerously.  And I found out today I’ll get a prize, for raising all those dollars, from all of you!  Hey! Thanks!  I’m also hoping to march in the streets.  You can too! http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com/?t=anon
  8. Which brings me, aptly, to number 8, the post-Prop 8 despairdrom.  Seriously. I have been ruminating much on this. So have other people who are speaking out most eloquently. Namely, Keith Olberman and Joe Solomonese. Please take some minutes and click on both those links. And it seems I have something to say too.

The passage of Proposition 8, which takes away the right of gay couples to marry in California, right there in the Constitution, has been beyond a disappointment to me and so many people I know.

To me it feels personal and it feels mean.  What a pointy contrast to the presidential outcome and The Big O’s message of hope – appealing to the best, most heartfelt, inspired, humble and giving parts of our humanness.

I am sad, but I not at all hopeless. I know in my knowingest knowing that the passage of Prop 8 will be more inspiration for all people, in every state, to engage in a dialog.  And dialog will save the day. Dialog with those who are directly impacted by it is important, but also those that aren’t. Those who think this has nothing to do with them.  Those who think that the rights of someone they haven’t met are not inextricably linked with their own. And it is my fervent hope that this inspires dialog with ourselves.  What an opportunity to discover what our own beliefs and (often subconscious) intentions are bringing to the world!

They say a “value” only changes when two held beliefs come in conflict.  It can be a painful and sometimes lengthy process, but it happens all the time.

Example: I believe the gay lifestyle is wrong.  My son just told me he is gay and I love him.

Whether or not it seems so, I promise, these two statements are fully incompatible.  These incompatibilities force something to shift.

My invitation to you is this. Take an opportunity, right this very minute, to shine a kind and honest light on your most deeply embedded beliefs about love and relationships in general.  All your parts.  Write them down. Your parts will disagree and you may not like some. But in so seeing, we have a chance to more consciously choose which part we want to lead our lives.

Cheri Huber says something to the effect of “You can have a wounded little whiny person in you who just wants to get whatever she wants all the time.  You can love her and listen to her and accept her as a part of you.  But you don’t give her the credit card and keys to the car.”  (I have a part of me who wants to pop other people’s zits.  But I do not let her go to parties.)

Ok then. Remember to check out Joe and Keith’s links.

Back to writing.

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Filed under life, lisa goettel, offerings, politics, writing

The great debates

It’s another glorious day in paradise – hot sun, blue sky, big ocean, sun setting and I’m eating chocolates dipped in peanut butter and drinking a blueberry Izze.  I’m in the honeymoon phase of a new love affair with life – serenading and writing poems to it, making dates, walking around all giddy. To this I credit a whole host of responsible parties – namely me, Cheri Huber, my person I talk to (I hate the word therapist), healers, friends, random path crossings with wise people… in some more meta way, everyone who has ever crossed my path ever. This is proving, once again, my circumstances have nothing to do with my happiness.  It seems it is the human condition to need constant proof of this.  We are slow learners. (Or perhaps I will just speak for myself.)

Just for kicks, let us paint the picture here.  In the external realm, I am recently broken up from a serious and wonderful relationship of more than 3 years, I’m homeless, my checking account balance today is -$347 (yes, that is a negative sign), my car is making one of those little “uh-oh” noises and the check engine light came on again, “catastrophic rain-related mud and debris flows” are predicted by all the experts to befall Big Sur this winter, this morning I spilled a mug of hot tea all over myself (again) and last, but oh no, not least, I am likely the proud new party to a frivolous lawsuit.**

**Indeed, a woman behind me when boarding the plane home from Colorado tripped on a bag I set down in the aisle while I was stowing my guitar and it seems she is rather enthusiastically tormented by her swollen ankle. Susan from Risk Management at US Airways has called me to let me know I should give my insurance company (which insurance?) a heads up about the coming claim.  Know any good lawyers?

This is not to say each of these hasn’t given me pause – it’s not hard to start ruminating on any one of these subjects and watch myself dissolve into a seething, sobbing or withering puddle of goo. I have to check myself constantly.  But the will to check myself, and to choose something different, now that’s news.  I find it’s not so much these arguably legitimate concerns that even bother me really, it’s the voice in my head that never ceases to remark on my culpability, unworthiness, righteousness, (pick your judgemental characteristic of choice.)  This voice sucks my soul out through the head of a pin and spends all day letting me know why I deserve it and offers me every situation I encounter as proof.

I have recognized this voice before, and been unable/unwilling to disidentify with it for long.  It’s powerful and wily and reasonable and convincing.  By even getting me to hate it, it has sucked me back into itself. Cheri Huber calls it self-hate, even when it’s directed outside.  I’m in a three month class with her via e-mail and phone calls and she wrote this yesterday: “Print it out and hang it on your wall–everybody! Self-hate, the incessant voices of dissatisfaction, leave you feeling frustrated/exhausted. THEN the same system talks you into doing something that will strengthen IT and leave you feeling WORSE!”

Indeed. (Flash back to so so so many lost days spent watching movies and eating sugar because “I deserved it.”) Perhaps even more poignantly though, she responded to a participant who was doing the “yes but…(bemoaning his/her terrible situation)” by asking simply “And, of course, you know the only way to address this problem is to stop, yes?”

I’m experimenting with this whole stopping business.  Just stopping.  Watching the train take off from the station, working me into a lather about exhibit A or B and just stopping.  If it takes zoning out for a minute or breathing or leaving or walking or temporarily distracting, whatever… just stopping.  And I must say, if this were a diet shake infomercial I would sign up to be spokesmodel.  I am deeply changed in my days.  The content hasn’t changed at all, but I am changed.  I’m waking up in the morning (early!) and writing and reading reassurances to myself, meditating, doing yoga, making breakfast.  I’m cooking really good dinners and walking on achingly beautiful roads being grateful.  I’m reaching out to friends because I want to, and receiving the love they have to give.  I’ve even set up my calendar to e-mail me things like “You’re Wonderful!” throughout the day, and who would have guessed I could believe those voices too.

Yesterday in my session with my un-therapist there was another touchstone moment of realization (it should be noted that as time goes on I’m finding epiphanies are less and less “my god!” and more and more “oh yeah”) – and that is: this isn’t requiring my familiar “muscle-through” approach to life. While committing to stopping does require some force of will that often feels like a strict parent or that coach who used to shout through the last, shaky push-ups – more than that it requires that I allow all my most deeply uncomfortable feelings of rage or shame or disappointment to just be there. Not doing anything at all.  I’m begging to do push-ups at those moments.  They’re just sitting out there for everyone to see, and there I am, just sitting there.

So here I am, hereby announcing this commitment to the world to keep stopping and sitting there, which at this moment feels like it’s giving more weight to the commitment.  Most of the time, that has felt like a bad thing.  But look at all I have to lose!

I’m going to go now and not watch the debates.  I’m a political junkie turned politically-inspired-but- non-debate-watching happy person.  They should talk about that.

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Of mountains and molehills

It’s late and I have to get up in six hours.  It’s been weeks and weeks and weeks since I’ve written regularly though, and I’m determined to prove to myself that typing a few words is not pushing a boulder up a mountain.  I wrote two whole posts last week and had internet problems so I didn’t post them, and when I re-read them later they felt forced and inadequate.  Blah.  I’m sticking my tongue out at my inner critic right now.

I’m just going to say a nighttime prayer (I wish that word wasn’t so associated with churches and bibles) to this infinitely supplied universe, full of things that are healing and nurturing and fulfilling. Heirloom tomato pizza, suprise path crossings with old friends, singing(!), Ani DiFranco’s new album, the nighttime that is serenading me with crickets.

For the majority of you with whom I’ve lagged in contact, here’s an update in five minutes or less:

  • I’ve moved 12 times since July.
  • I’m luxuriously perched atop a Big Sur ridge in one place for a whole month, as of Saturday.
  • I went to Colorado for 10 days and saw changing Aspens and old friends.  I love Colorado, changing Aspens and old friends.  I saw my cat and three ex’s.
  • I’m teaching myself how to play guitar with “Guitar for Dummies”.  I know 16 chords and am very, very proud of myself.
  • I’m single for the first time in 10 years.
  • I’m taking a three month Zen class with Cheri Huber remotely, using conference calls and e-mails.  My assignment: do something that a) nourishes my heart and spirit and b) will earn me $500 in three months.  I think this is scary and implausable and fantastic.
  • The neighborhood skunk just waddled by the open door and gratefully decided against coming in for another cat food feast and four hour nap under my bed.

I’m back!

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Lisa’s Big Give

I don’t have TV, so I sometimes watch shows online the day after they air. Somehow I got sucked into the vortex of reality TV (kicking and screaming) and have been keeping up with Oprah’s Big Give.

As far as reality TV goes, it’s pretty standard in the whole “how can we create as much drama as possible” bit – the first and last 10 minutes of each episode being particularly appalling examples of our human potential, in my opinion. And still I get sucked in, poo-pooing all along but not turning it off.

They’ve mastered the art of alluring the ego in these shows. It’s “reality”, so they’re just like us – we can imagine we’re in the seat and go flying right along with all the emotional turbulence. And it works. For those of us (me) who watch movies and TV to step out of our skin for a while and vacation in the exciting world of somebody else, we feel every bump and triumph as keenly as if it were our own, while still having the luxury of a second seat in the judge’s box. I’ve noticed all these shows have both participants and watchers. There are the players on the journey, and there are the people watching the players and commenting all along the way on how they are doing.

It’s the quintessential metaphor of our cultural and egoic conditioning. The judges decide what’s acceptable, what’s better than, what wins and what goes home. And just in writing this – in really getting this – the compassion I have for myself is deepening. When I watch this stuff the judgment never feels good. This is what our culture does to us every time we step out the door. And we’ve been in a cultural immersion program since birth, so we don’t even have to walk out the door – we only have to breathe and we’re doing it to ourselves. I do it day in and day out – and I’m usually so in it I’m not even seeing it – which makes a lot of sense, seeing as how the show isn’t fun to watch even when it’s not me. I’m doing it right now.

In this particular show, the cultural repercussions are about subtle as a Vegas sign. From a nice diverse pool of 10 original participants, all but the three richest, prettiest and whitest have been shown the door. In this system you don’t have a chance if you’re not equipped with the right gear. And I spend so SO much time bemoaning the places where I’m not equipped. The many places where I wasn’t blessed with, or nurtured into the impossibly perfect form for brilliant physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual success in the particular place I happened to be born into.

As I write tonight, the judge watching me is taking the form of my teacher Cheri Huber, who is shaking her head and saying “I’ve been telling you this in a thousand different ways, in seven different books, and here you are writing this like it’s some big new discovery. And then writing it as if it’s yours!” I assure you that in my regular, daily reality Lisa show this most compassionate Buddhist teacher does say such things, and I unquestioningly believe – I get hurt and defensive, but walk off stage without hesitation, really thinking “she” is teaching me to be better than I am.

Tonight I’m writing anyway. It is mine to discover, and I’m doing it. And the resolution is like a salve. There’s more to reality TV than the participants and the judges – there’s us watching it. I’m turning it off.

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