Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Blog: Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor

I started a new blog called Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor for people who like to drink wine, but can't afford to spend a lot of money on a bottle. I will be focusing on wines between $5-$10.

It's still in its infancy but I'd love your feedback and ideas of wines to try.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday season!

Monday, December 22, 2008


I just finished reading Storms Can't Hurt the Sky: A Buddhist Path Through Divorce. This was the clearest, most practical book on Buddhism I've read so far. It was full of interesting insights and fundamental Buddhist truths. Most of which are probably pretty readily found in other books, but the particular application to coping with divorce naturally hit home for me.

I'm still trying to absorb it all, but the fundamental Buddhist truth that we are all seeking to attain happiness and to avoid suffering hits home for me. I know that this has been the primary motivator for most of my actions throughout my life.

I see how I subscribe to self-cherishing and how this aided in the failure of my marriage. Rather than reacting with compassion I acted out of anger. When my husband did things to ease his own suffering that caused me pain I retaliated.

This doesn't excuse the very hurtful things that he did to me or that I did to him, but it does help me to have compassion toward him and myself.

I want to continue this excavation of my thoughts and Cohen suggests several books to help, but there are so many to choose from, I'm not sure what to choose. Any suggestions for what I should read next?

Saturday, December 20, 2008


My dad called on his way home from work Thursday evening to let me know that he was driving by the lodge where G and I got married and it was on fire. By the time he got there most of it had already burned down.

It was a beautiful building and I feel awful for the people who worked there. They were very gracious and had helped us plan a very nice event.

At the same time, the thought of it no longer being there is kind of cathartic. It's like nature's way of annulling the marriage.

(Picture by Hans Thoursie.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 30: Saved By The Alarm

Despite the fact that I triumphed by finding a rolling pin for $7.99 at Safeway (compared to the $30 at Fred Meyer), by the time I got home from work today I was racked with intensely painful emotions. Even my roommate noticed that I wasn't my usual self.

Normally I try to "snap out of it" by the time I get home, but tonight I was determined to wallow in my self pity. Until the alarm rang at my roommate's office and he had to go check it out.

I wasn't sure what to do after he left so I decided to meditate. It was an intense session filled with waves of self doubt, self pity, anger, sadness, jealousy, impatience, guilt and fatigue. A lot can happen in fifteen minutes! But afterward I actually felt better. Nothing about my circumstances had changed, but I guess the landscape of my mind did.

(Picture by Craig Jewell.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 28: I've been replaced

Unlike me she keeps her razors in my shower. Her toothbrush sits on my sink. And her key probably works in my door.

I know I shouldn't let this bother me. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

What "kills" me is that I'm paying for the place where she sleeps with my husband.

I say kills because yesterday my heart ached so intensely I irrationally believed I might die from the pain.

But as the cliche goes: this morning was a new day. I woke up. I did yoga. I cleaned. I talked to my dad.

It still hurts when I think about it, but I know it won't crush me.

(Thanks to Alicia Solario for the photo.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 25: Up In Smoke

I was going to quit smoking today, but then I checked the joint bank account that I share with the eventually-to-be-ex for our joint bills which only has $43 in it and I freaked!

I kept thinking "Why is this happening to me?" "What did I do to deserve this?" "Why does everything have to be a challenge?"

But maybe that's the point. Maybe I was seeing the situation all wrong. Instead of thinking "I can't handle this" maybe I should have been thinking "Thanks for this opportunity to grow and really see what I can handle."

(Photo by Vivek Chugh. Thanks!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 24: Wishful Thinking

I spent much of my life thinking it would magically be better if I were dating someone or married. Actually, that I would be better. I thought the magic lover would cure me of my imperfections. I thought that kind of love would transform me -- make me beautiful, graceful, rich, smart, creative....

But when I was with G I spent the majority of the time thinking it would get better when if I were single.

Turns out I'm stuck with my imperfections either way.

(Thanks to Stephen Wall for the photo.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Day 23: Scheduling

I'm really enjoying the new morning routine with yoga and meditation, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with all I "have" to do in a day. Here's what a typical day looks like for me:

6:00 am - Wake up
6:15 am - Do yoga for 20-25 minutes
6:45 am - Meditate for 15 minutes
7:00 am - Feed Tater
7:05 am - Prepare food for the day
7:10 am - Make sure Tater goes to the bathroom
7:15 am - Pick out clothes for the day and iron if needed
7:20 am - Shower and get ready
7:45 am - Leave for work
8:30 am - Work
11:30 am - Lunch
12:30 pm - Back to work
5:30 pm - Go home
6:30 pm - Play with or walk Tater
7:00 pm - Make Dinner
7:30 pm - Eat & Watch TV
8:30 pm - Read blogs
9:00 pm - Write blog
9:15 pm - Meditate
9:30 pm - Get ready for bed
9:45 pm - Read
10:00 pm - Sleep

(Thanks to Jade Colley for the image.)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Day 21: Phase 2

I'm officially incorporating yoga into my practice as of today thanks to Baron Baptiste's 40 Days to Personal Revolution. I'm now committed to practicing every day and I'm actually really nervous. It will be best if I can do it in the morning, but this means I have to get up early enough.

This first week's practice is only 20 minutes a day, but the length of practice will increase over the next six weeks to 90 minutes. That means I would need two hours just to practice yoga and mediation before I go to work. I leave at 7:30 am so I'm going to have to get up at 4:30 am to have time to practice and get ready. I'm not sure I can do it, but I need to try.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Day 19 & 20: Letting Loose

(Photo by Dominic Morel)

On the way to the Lowbrow after work Friday, I accidentally invited an attractive stranger to come with us. Fortunately, he had other plans so he didn't stay with our group for long, but one of my friends did convince me to give him my business card. Hopefully he won't contact me.

The thought of being in a relationship still makes me sick to my stomach, but it was nice to get some attention, though. I even managed to flirt with a cute pool player at Henry's!

I spent a lot of money and drank a lot, but all in all it was a good night. I even went to a strip club, Sassy's, for the first time. But the best part was that this morning I woke up feeling lighter and only slightly hung over. I wouldn't necessarily suggest drinking instead of meditation, but for some reason it seems as though it was, for once, the right thing for me to do.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Day 18: Breaking through the wall

This afternoon, I hit a major slump. It was a pretty emotionally trying day for me dealing with frustrated subscribers, constant interruptions and some intense criticism.

By the time 3:30 rolled around, I had to take a break so I walked through the mall that is attached to my office building. As I walked I acknowledged that I was exhausted and emotionally overwhelmed and that this was intense, but it would pass.

And it did. I got back to my desk, drank a liter of water, cleared out my inbox and tackled my tasks. Then it was time to go and I realized I was feeling just fine and I hadn't succumbed to any of my vices. No cigarettes or ice cream or impulsive purchases.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Day 17: Indulgence is not self care

It occurred to me as I was smoking a cigarette after work this afternoon and watching the sun set turn the clouds pink that I haven't been taking care of myself.

It probably seems crazy, but I think I've been deluding myself into thinking that by giving into my vices (eating comfort foods, smoking, drinking wine) I was supporting my distressed emotional self. But at that moment it hit me that those behaviors are not true self care.

This epiphany, however, did not stop me from drinking two glasses of red wine with dinner. Nor did it stop me from eating ice cream for dessert or smoking another cigarette later. (Did I mention I had a milk shake with lunch?)

(Image provided by Gravity X9)

So here is where it becomes tricky for me. I know that I need to change my behaviors in order to truly take care of myself in this stressful phase of my life, but that realization doesn't make the impulse to indulge go away.

From what I've been reading I don't think meditation will take it way either as I had originally hoped. But what I've read meditation can do is train me to wait out the impulses and then make better choices. This concept is both alluring and terrifying for me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Day 16: Just Do It

Today I really didn't want to practice and I've been struggling with what to write. I still haven't settled on anything other than "I did it anyway."

I managed to eek out 10 minutes of mindfulness practice this evening. I probably wouldn't have if I hadn't taken Tater for a walk and been awestruck by the starry night sky and I was wondering how I might use it as analogy on this blog.

I know that's totally cheesy, but as I was following the guided meditation practice when I got back to the house, the instructo explained that we should focus on the mind, which is like the sky, and to let the thoughts float by like the clouds.

It helped to have something to visualize while meditating tonight because my mind was so reluctant to practice.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Day 15: What Makes Us Valuable?

As I was leaving work the other day the question "What makes us valuable?" popped into my head.

Is it our work? Our contribution to society? How we look? How we perceive ourselves? How many people love us? Our personalities?

When my mom was here over Thanksgiving this concept came up again. I mentioned to her that a friend I spent a lot of time with earlier this summer had stopped calling me. I admitted to being conflicted about this. On one hand sad about this because I had kinda hoped it would become more than a friendship some day, but on the other hand the thought of being with someone else makes me want to vomit.

She nailed it when she said that what I really wanted was someone to want to be with me to make me feel valuable.

As I left work today, this idea came up in my mind again. I realized that my insecurity was always there. Raw and desperate. Being with my ex only exasperated the intensity of my pain because he had a way of making me feel worthless. But he was only able to do this because it resonated with what I was already telling myself. Now, without the ex, I'm much better off without him demeaning me, but I won't be free until I learn how to stop belittling myself.