Improv and Physics: Where Uncertainty Collides

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I, like many people, have a deep seeded fear of the unknown. And being the sometimes overly self-reflective soul that I am, I felt the need to explore this scariness a bit further. Many theories exist about this natural fear of the unknown alive and well in many of us (wish I knew the proper cool Latin –phobia word to enter here). I find the psychologist theories the most useful here as they attribute the common discomfort to how our happiness as babies was determined by the predictability of our needs being met. As adults we equate the same predictability and security with happiness. Although I certainly (that is a certainty) get bored with predictability. Turns out what’s missing for me, and in a lot of cases, is actually the ability to cope with the inherent uncertainty of life - not make things more certain. Both improv comedy and quantum physics share the necessity of uncertainty, as well as many other gems of wisdom, and offer deep insights into the implications of learning to love the unpredictable nature of life.

I took my first improv class (insert Endgames shout out here), about six months ago, it was on my Life List (#40 to be exact) and per usual wanted to do something that made me slightly uncomfortable. My desire also stemed from the fact I have so few outlets to express myself in a playful way. Improv seemed the perfect antidote to the sometimes seriousness of school and life in general. It is six months since my first class and I’m finally appreciating all the important lessons it had to teach me. Another great teacher on uncertainty is to be found in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (a fitting title) of quantum physics. It counteracts the usual Newtonian way of thinking where physical existence is predictable and certain and shows the impossibility of measuring the position and momentum of a particle simultaneously to get accurate or certain results. Simply stated, the more we know about position the less we can know about the momentum. The act of measuring one variable changes the other. This uncertainty of measurements feeds into the future development of the system and influences all other possible outcomes. This paradoxical way of assessment encourages the idea that anything could be possible in a system with unpredictable results.

Quantum theories point to the idea that knowledge is limited and therefore cannot provide security. Even scientists recognize the beauty of creativity and its position in the unknown. Fritjof Capra, physicist and systems theorist, said, “Uncertainty is at the heart of creativity.” Improv comedy is an art form and creative process defined by spontaneity and the unknown. The principles of what makes good improv describe Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Because of its naturally self-organizing system, improv allows absolute freedom and possibility. An inclination towards order, coherence, and meaning could be likened to Newtonian physics, or a scripted play. However, anything is possible in improv and that fact makes it fascinating to watch and even more frightening to participate in.

Improv, like quantum mechanics, also relies heavily upon relationships to one another and the “entanglement” of ourselves with the other actors. Major parts of quantum physics show us how things are related (see EPR Paradox and Bell's Theorum for more on this...Wikipedia can say it better than I can in a blog post). These relations are governed by probabilities, not by predictabilities, just like improv. What makes a scene great is that the characters have a relationship we can relate to and connect with. We don't want to do predictive improv, even though some of us may want predictive science. We want to do clever, connected improv showing us the hilarity to be found in our own lives. As comedian/improviser Del Close says, “The truth is funny.”

The challenge for those of us living in uncertainty, which is all of us, is becoming comfortable in the unmanifest, or the superposition (the place where an atom is both in and out of existence) without needing to collapse the wave function. In improv terms, to live in the space of a scene where we have no idea what will happen and stay there confidently. The longer we can hold, or are comfortable in this state then the scene/life can truly unfold before us without our attachments tainting it. We as improvisers seek to balance spontaneity with scientific method, neither one giving us all the answers or showing us how to cope with the uncertainty they both thrive upon. This time in the uncertainty requires certain characteristics of mastery, one of them being trust.

Above all improv taught me the necessity of trusting in the face of uncertainty, because whatever needed to happen, would happen. I remember being at open “workouts” with a group of mostly strangers, and men to make matters worse (I much prefer the company of woman, for reasons I won’t name here), and feeling incredibly insecure. It was awful, I knew I needed to be there, but I wasn’t sure how to deal with the pit in my stomach that showed up each and every time I had to enter a scene. I didn’t trust myself enough to just jump in. At the time I didn’t realize creativity requires self-trust, and also inspires it.

We have to participate in our lives believing and trusting there is some sort of higher purpose to the uncertainty we exist in. In improv we have no choice but to love our mistakes and trust ourselves, the other players, and the overall process. Our ability to cope with not knowing what will happen next leaves us no other option. Trust, we must. For to trust ourselves and the universe in its process requires us to be the natural improvisers, scientists, and philosophers we are.

>Certainty of Death

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So much change has been happening and I am experiencing deaths of all kinds, not the "petite mou" kind as in orgasm (as in French), or the physical deaths. I am instead mourning the death of so many things in my life that have to go for me to fully step into my next phase of life. I'm doing my best to ride the seas of uncertainty. I find myself wanting to cling to something percieved to be static...a person, a place, a thing. I'm aware all of it's an illusion, but I don't know how else to cope.  I'm scared, and scared of what? Of being out of control, of actually  have to face who I have to be and the voice of love calling me forward into the woman I will be.  What's so scary about the future filled with uncertainty? It's as if I'm leaving college all over again or choosing a major. How do I find trust in the uncertain? There is a certainty I believe...that all of the rocking of my ship is for the better.

All the parts of me that are dying, must die for me to become the woman I know I am. I don't know her, so I don't know how to reach her or talk to her, or act like her. She's in there somewhere intelligent, powerful, and beautiful. I feel her reaching for me and I'm afraid to grasp, for when I do the little girl in me has to die. And with her all the ways I've been in my past that don't serve me. Yes, all the comfortable ways of being that involve my fear of abandonment I didn't know I had, an inability to recieve love, and all the yucky things about myself I am finally seeing.

It has become ap"parent" to me that my parents and I have a relationship that is rapidly changing. I can't be the little girl I have been for the past 29 years. Instead I can only be myself and have to stay grounded in what that means to me. When people disagree with you or don't approve of your choices, or are struggling with their own. It makes it so difficult for me to feel their love. I'm realizing what's important to me is to ask for love when I don't feel it. Being a little girl means depending up on them in an unconscious way, it means not having a space for something outside of what they want for me. I don't want to disappoint them and I also have to stand up and strong in who I am, even if that means disappointing them.

I'm swimming in the seas of uncertainty and what has to die is my desire to control what's happening and what's next. I must trust this change is for the best. So much of my personality that is ambitious and action-oriented has to surrender to the larger uncertainty that is life. I need to be willing to take risks in the name of my desires.

I'm also mourning my future. Someone I cared for for so long and I spent years of my life living in the hope of us being together again. He's not coming back, we aren't going to be together again and I have to mourn all that will never be. It's as if we're breaking up all over again. A piece of me knew this was what would be, but my hope wouldn't let me let him go. Instead I listened to songs about people leaving and coming back for the happily ever after. There will be no ever after and even in uncertainy there's a level of prevailing doubt. I spent years not investing in anyone else because in the back of my mind he and I had it made. No one would compare...and now someone has to, because it won't be him. I'm sad for all I wanted that will never be, with him.

And that's the way it should be. Life would be infinitely less fun if we knew. Indeed the two certain things of life...death and change."When have you ever been made less by dying."-Rumi. In fact this time around, I've been made more by dying.

Today I'm grateful for new neighbors, Devotchka, and my toes in the grass.

>Calamity Kate

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Sometimes funny things happen and they have to be shared...this is where my blog comes in. Yesterday I felt like a Calamity Kate. Picture this, an ordinary day I wake up early to meet someone to pick up a book for a paper I'm working on. I'm riding the crowded bus and dreading more people getting on. I glance outside and notice a loud, most likely homeless woman waiting to get on the bus and sneak in the back door. I think to myself that I kind of hope she can't get on because I am not in the mood (it's too early) for loudness. She gets on and a few stops later I'm getting off the bus, getting by her and she elbows me right in the face. Accidently mind you, however I take this opportunity to thank me for reminding me not to judge others. She was apologetic and I felt guilty. Moving on.

I meet my friend at the bakery, realize I forgot to drop off my rent on the way, walk up the hill to his house, several blocks out of my way and a car backfires right in front of me. Not so bad right? Then I'm walking back down the hill and a car stops for me to cross. He gets rearended and then the other car takes off...a hit and run! Several blocks later the two cars and talking and I feel silly and slink by without saying anything.

What did I learn today? Don't judge and know how powerful I am. End of my silly story...back to working on my paper.

Today I'm grateful for protein smoothies, text messages, and emails from my parents when they are on vacation.

>Independence to Interdependence

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Today is the 4th of July and as Americans we are to celebrate our independence from England. Turns out, I'm actually tired of celebrating independence and wanting to forget about the word. It implies not needing anyone or anything else. Somewhere along the way I decided my worth came from how little I needed other people. Somewhere along the way this becomes a very sad way of logic, even for someone who enjoys time alone. That my friends, or strangers, is madness. There will never be a time in my life I won’t need others, mostly for love, which is something I can give to myself and also must receive from sources outside of myself.

 
We’ve been told for so long, it is better to give than receive. So many of us feel uncomfortable receiving gifts because we have to give them. We have no one to give to anymore. I get squirmy having meals paid for or even receiving touch sometimes. It’s crazy. I’ve prided myself for so long on being independent and not needing anyone. The difficulty for me in receiving is vulnerability and surrender. So I’m practicing my receptivity to see what gifts come my way when I simply allow myself to be given to. This week, I found a ton of change, some clothes on the sidewalk and I wanted, and even had my dinner paid for twice.

In Buddhism monks must ask for ohms, I never realized how much begging for money was actually a strong way receiving. In America we look down on people who ask or assert their needs. We have become so off balance. Believing showing vulnerability is a weakness. Having needs isn’t a weakness, not asking for them to be met is. I need to be touched, I need to feel loved, I need to know that in the mystery of life there are others whom I can depend upon.I’m getting there, I can get myself to call someone now when I’m sad or even ask someone to hug me when I need a friendly touch.In the end interdependence is what we crave. Imagine what it would be like if celebrated our interdependence with England and every other country, acknowledging the mutual relationship necessary for either of us to exist. Nowhere in nature does an animal or plant claim not to need anyone/anything else. We are each others life bloods (note picture above), and it's time we start acting like it. So, that’s the beauty of interdependence, we actually need each other...not more independence.

Here's a beautiful poem by Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. (gulp, that's a long title) from Riverside Church in NYC: Recieving and Giving I'm a novice when it comes to receiving. Giving has become my expertise. But giving alone without getting becomes soon a fatal disease

If the intake valve is not opened There's no way to maintain a supply. There comes a point in the cycle of life When the out-going stream runs dry.

Straining out love from a vacuum Is like drinking from a heart of stone. Try as we may, at the end of the day, We're exhausted, frustrated, and alone.

"Better to give than receive," we are taught. Yet another truth I've learned just by living: Only the soul with the grace to receive, Excels in the fine art of giving.

Today I'm grateful for quiet libraries, favorite yoga classes, and massages.

>Jump around

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Last week I went to House of Air with some of my favorite people, it certainly put my tiny rebounder to shame. It was a blast bouncing around and I couldn't help but feel like a 10-year old again, not to mention the great cardio workout also involved. While the boys did flips and were basically out of control I became aware of my fear of being out of control. I did a few wall bounces, but for the most part stuck to classic jumps such as the split, side winder (don't know what that is, but I made it up), and imitated kung fu kicks. There was even a dodgeball colliseum, where I remembered how much I don't like boys over the age of 6 to about 30. Number 17 off my "30 before 30" list, done and done!

Today I'm grateful for House of Air, jumping shoes, and Crissy Field.

>Unconditional love

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Below is a blog post from one of my new favorite people for inspiration, Elizabeth Husserl of Inner Economics. I've had a few sessions with her and each one has helped me see a part of myself I hadn't seen before, just when I thought I had seen them all!? In particular my relationship with money needed some major work. Somewhere along the way mONEy (my new spelling to support how much I adore finding words within words) came to represent love. I felt so empty without it and noticed that was how my parents showed me they cared. It began to feel so conditional and fleeting, which is also my experience of love. Sugar has also represented this for me in the past, but that's another story. So through Elizabeth's coaching and my own noticing, I've separated the two. Love is love and money is money. They can meet knowing they aren't one in the same. So, on with unconditional love and that it exists, all the time, whether or not we feel it.  Here's a quote from Rumi to get us started, "And just the moment when you are all confused, leaps forth a voice, hold me close. I'm love and I'm always yours."

Unconditional Love (and Money) Last night was one of the hardest nights I had as a mother in a long time. My daughter has her second cold ever, and combined with the first molar she’s pushing through, it’s been a couple of rough, not-so-much-sleep days. The usual pattern is this- she falls into a deep slumber for twenty minutes (because she is utterly exhausted) and then wakes up and can’t quite get back to sleep. (Yes, my friends, knowing how to sleep is an acquired skill!) We spend hours this way- her sleeping for bits at a time, waking up screaming in sudden pain, and then I holding her across my chest until she dozes off again. I’m sure other parents would appreciate me saying this- it’s a lot of work!

So not surprisingly, this morning I was not my cheerful self. I longed for another hour of sleep or even a warm cup of mate on the bedside table to wake up to. I had neither. Instead I found myself early on my living room floor watching my daughter put on her pink frilly tutu and look to me to play. In my exhausted self, I couldn’t help but smile. Her in-the-moment experience was flawless. Yes, she too had had a rough night last night, but her morning was unaffected. Her nighttime struggle was a thing of the past; what mattered to her was that I sit there now, this morning, to play. She was all smiles. So again, I couldn’t help but smile.

I found myself talking to her, acknowledging that we had had a rough go and I might not be in the best mood. But I assured her “you are still loved”. I realized how important that was- to tell her that I still loved her regardless of how I was feeling. Obvious? Maybe. But I can’t tell you how many people I work with who doubt if they were unconditionally loved. As a result they look for this love other places- in dependent relationships, in their work, and more often than not, from money (i.e.- “money if you don’t show up in my life or if people don’t give you to me, I am not loved”). The emotional correlation of money and love runs pretty deep.

This morning as I uttered those words to my daughter I felt a chill run through my spine. I knew that my parents felt the same. Even when I kept them up (more so in my adolescent years) or even when I turned in the opposite direction from the expectations they had, I was still loved. Was I always understood? No, not always. Did they always agree with me? Not necessarily. But time and time again they too showed up and to the best of their capacity accepted me. That, is unconditional love.

So with the intention to help more people see that unconditional love does in fact exist, and moreover, it exists around them, I share my this story to you. Even in those moments that we are sleep deprived, down, and even upset, we still know how to love. Even in those moments that we are frustrated and disappointed, we still love. Even when we imagine we’ve done the worst thing imaginable, we are still loved. Yes my friends, even when we are utterly human (which is in the end, what we’re meant to be) we love and we are loved. No need to put that need on money. It just confuses everything.

Let yourself be who you are. Feel your joys and your pains. And remember, by someone somewhere, you are unconditionally loved.

>Universing with ERIC

>I'm a blogger for the Environmental Research and Innovation Center, here's my latest post: Universing by Becky Farrar, Creative-Type, Treehugger, and Yogini, www.beckyfarrar.com

Since the beginning of time humans have wanted to know what place we hold in the great mystery of existence. The way we orient ourselves in the universe, our cosmology, dictates how we relate to ourselves and our planet. Our language seems to defy wisdom in its inability to communicate this key relationship. English reflects a cosmology of separation and unchanging statisticity. Our words create the world we live in and ours have become outdated. One of my favorite professors (I have many) is Brian Swimme who points out in Cosmic Conversations that recent scientific discoveries of the universe are incompatible with the mentality humans had when English was invented and shaped. We have amazing insights and yet no way to talk about them. Our words lack an unfolding necessary to describe how we were created and continue to evolve as a species. The difficulty gets more...er, difficult when we attempt to talk about the universe. We use the article "the" to describe an object, as something outside of ourselves. It’s not until we see ourselves as the Earth and as the universe that we can truly care about this perceived “other.” We must identify ourselves as a part of the universe, not separate from it, if we are to really have a reason to care for it. It's the difference between gazing at the fuzzy place of stars in the night sky and saying, "oh, there's the Milky Way," and instead realizing it is us gazing at the horizon of ourselves as a vast galaxy. In English there are eight parts of speech — noun, adverb, adjective, verb, adverb, conjunction, preposition, and interjection, in case you needed a review. Here's the kicker, over half of the word in English are nouns — the largest percentage of any other language. Our language has no space for processing and evolving the way verbs allow us and the way previous cultures and other languages did and do. Many Native American and even Romance languages have a way of unifying the person and action as a way to have of be-ing in the world as opposed to a thinker thinking about objects and things. Without acknowledgement of consistent change we become attached to things/matter/objects. Simply put, our language complicates our way of truly relating to our place in the universe and Earth.

Many Eastern traditions have been comfortable with this orientation of themselves as universe. With this orientation of relationship a subject-object relationship can’t exist. The industrial Western civilization lacks an orientation that supports a relationship to ourselves as more than just humans, and in a lot of cases, consumers and Earth-dwellers. In creating a new cosmology also comes a new way of speaking about the mystery of life. It’s time for a new language — one that reflects our deep connection with all of existence and reminds us of who we truly are as cosmic beings. Clifford Matthews, a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois said the best way to sum up what we know now about the universe is, “We are all made of stardust.” This conclusion is recent and an incredible discovery to realize we came from the stars. Every molecule in our bodies at one time was a part of the vast expanse we call the cosmos. Science has been used for creating many incredible technologies, but what it has the capability to do is put us in awe of all of life. To be in wonder and amazement is quite an experience we as humans can all appreciate. To reflect upon the world and cosmos we live in and be awed by it. In this moment we are 13.7 billions years in the making, something certainly worth celebrating. We are each cosmic beings, not just human beings. Knowing what we know now through science we can create a cosmology that reflects this knowledge and can begin a new way of existing as humans that bring us into alignment with not only our planet, but the entire cosmos. I recently heard the authors of The New Universe and the Human Future, Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel Primack, speak and I think they sum this up quite perfectly with telling us to “Eat locally, act globally, and think cosmically.” There really isn’t any other way to be a part of this beautiful experience of universing.

>Rules of dating

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I’m a rule follower and proud of it.  When someone gives me rules, I’m Kantian in that I willfollow then. Makes me great student, and also slightly  neurotic when it comes to dating. Turns out even for the best rule followers, rules can be exhausting. I'm so tired of following rules, especially the self-imposed ones. I do it all the time. Sometimes I make rules for the day before I even get out of bed (apparently yes, I am that happy-go-lucky). The rules of dating I find to be the most ridiculous. I've read soooooo many books, I figure there must be something I am missing. Why else would there be so many books if there weren't a ton of information needed in order to date successfully. Like any ambitious woman who likes to take control of her life, I have to prepare.

However, all thedating rules, and expectations really just support us not being okay with being in theuncertainty in the beginning of relationships. Myself included. I believe if Ican read enough books, get enough advice, then magically it will work out. Asif there’s a set formula for success. The books help us somehow cope with theuncertainty -  believing if we have moreknowledge we can then “figure out” how to make it work. That’s the funny thing,I know I could be happy with a lot of people... especially maybe if I doeverything by the book: be a lady, don’t ask about where things are going,don’t talk about sex, don’t talk about politics, don’t stalk him if he hasn’tcalled. I get it – have my own life and don’t make it revolve around him. Wherein these rules do I get to stand up for myself and demand what I want withoutbreaking the rules? What do I want, you might be thinking? Wouldn’t you like toknow…;) (she says with  a coy smilesuggested in the book “Why Men Like Bitches”)

Here are the ones I hear in the back of my mind constantly: 1. Don't talk about sex, politics, or past relationships on a first date. 2. Don't be available for last minute dates, expect him to plan ahead and he will. 3. Don't ask if he thinks you're fat...ever. 4. Don't constantly call or text him, pick up the phone...or make him pick it up. 5. Let him be touch, and if he calls don't pick up right away. 6. The list goes on, but I'm already tired of them.

Turns out what I'm actually missing is not to listen to the rules!? I don't want to approach something as fun as meeting someone as a task, although it certainly feels that way sometimes. I like some of the rules, they serve their purpose; however, others make me feel slightly uncomfortable. I have to be available, and yet  not available. Mysterious and yet kind. Times have changed for the better, and I also want to remember all of it is up for negotiation. From here on out I'm playing by my own rules which will mostly just consist of remembering what I deserve and not sharing too much too soon (gulp, difficult for an overcommunicator).

And these books and might help at some point. But believing a book can provide the answers for coping with the uncertainty of dating leaves a lot to be desired. Such as even not having rules.So, maybe he isn't that into me...or maybe I'm not bitchy enough...or too Venusian. Rules have a time and a place, and in my head when I'm trying to get to know someone authentically isn't one of them. Instead of spending time reading books, it seems more important to reflect on myself and the ways I get in my own way...rules being one of them. So, here are the dating rules taylored just for me: 1.Be receptive, allow someone to give to you...maybe even buy  you dinner!? 2. Don't have to prove to anyone, or yourself how good you are at being alone. 3. Be open to whatever lessons come your way from this person, your job is to hear them.

Today I'm grateful for Kabuki Spa, rose petals, and free wifi.

>Practically green machine

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I love this site: http://www.practicallygreen.com/ to take a quiz as a way of accessing "green status." I was suprised by my results, several easy things I could be doing that I'm not and my ranking isn't so impressive for a treehugger sort that I am. On my to do list as a "solidly  green person":

  • plant a veggie garden,
  • buy more used things or use Freecycle,
  •  line dry my clothing
  • Use a HEPA filter vac (still learning about that one)
  • stop my bottle water habit (duh)
  • use all natural cleaning products
  • bring reuseable cups to coffee shops
  • use more cloths and not napkins for meals

The list could go on and on, but I'm doing what I can...and so should you!

Today I'm grateful for quizzes, seats on the bus, and sunny days at the beach.

    >Tree of Life

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    For some reason or another I've been on a movie seeing spree. In the past two weeks I've seen five first-run movies, and one of them twice. The lucky winner? "Tree of Life" I haven't seen a film in the theatre twice since "Titanic" (feel free to gasp in horror here) in middle school. Quite simply the film, by Terrence Malick, is stunning. It interweaves the experience of being human with the vastness of the entire cosmos. It was filled with tension, the hotness of Brad Pitt, sexual confusion, tenderness and even dinosaurs. The dinosaurs were actually my favorite scene.

    The film reminded viewers, those willing to think and surrender to its beauty, that life does indeed "go on" and much more than that. All of the cosmos echoes our experience just as we echo its own trials and tribulations. As modern Cosmology theories show us, we are universe at every moment. (notice didn't say "the," I still want to avoid the object-subject reference with articles.) All of creation and life is us, there is no separation. The dinosaurs, the planets, all were a part of our creation and a necessary part of it.

    My favorite scene was after about 30 minutes of dialogue and story, for 15 minutes was a fury of beautiful images that I couldn't help but be mesmorized and at the same time shed a few tears. The film reminded me of what I know in my heart and yet still don't know how to fully understand. What does a life fully in touch with that knowledge look like? I suppose it begins with the "Tree of Life."

    Today I'm grateful for facials, runs in the park, and trees.

    >Cakes Popping Up

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    There aren't many things I have a vast amount of knowledge on. There also aren't a whole lot of trends I follow intensely. My status as a dessert connoisseur defies both of these. I cant' help but notice the popping up of cake pops everywhere!? Starbucks has them, my parents got one for me for my birthday, and they were even at a comedy show I attended a few weeks ago.

    While I appreciate the need for an ever change universe, sometimes I would appreciate if at least something would stay the same. My loyalty still feels to my beloved cupcake. Macaron, whoopie pies, or even cake pops can change my mind. Sure, they have some similarities, but it's the pops lack of frosting that gets me. And if it insists on being called a pop, why can't I lick it?

    Today I'm grateful for sunsets, sleeping late, and Nicki Minaj.

    >Woman's Best Friend

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    Today the world feels a little less friendly, without one of my closest friends for the past 15 years – my dog Taz. Losing a pet is hard, anyone who has ever loved a four-legged furry can attest. It almost feels silly to be so upset over someone you don’t even talk to. It’s a death in the family and he’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a brother or even a child. I didn’t know how to express to the woman in line at the grocery store that indeed the cherries this season are delicious, I just didn't feel like being chatty today. Not sure how to explain to the yoga instructor why I kept crying in downward facing dog. (Okay, that last example is silly, but true.)

    It’s quite simple, pets make homes more homey. They bring cohesion and play when it’s missing. They are always on your side when times get rough. Taz, aka Taz Boy or Tazzer, went for walks with me when I needed to breathe. When I needed to be reminded life actually wasn’t more significant than smelling the ground and bounding through tall grasses. One quick burying of my face into his neck and the world seemed just as it should be.

    In high school I remember telling people I wanted to marry my dog (only if he were in human form of course, as if that statement isn’t weird enough as it is). I think back now and it doesn’t actually sound so crazy. He was a kind, gentle, friendly guy and impossible not to fall in love with. The first week we got him was Father’s Day. So Jen Jen, Taz, and I all crammed into the tiny back seat of the convertible for a drive up to the mountains with now what was the whole family. He leaned into the curves on the highway like an experienced race car driver and every now and then would lean in to kiss me on the chin.

    Before he went to obedience school I attempted to take him on a walk on the leash to show him off at the park (apparently I thought a dog was what I needed to attract boys not wear makeup or pad my bra). He zig zagged across the sidewalk sniffing here and there darting in front of me. I started running up a hill near my house and he accidentally tripped me and I fell hard on the gravel. I thought he would run away when I lost hold of the leash, instead he just stood there waiting for me to continue. The same way he would run ahead on hikes in the mountains and then turn back to see if Mom, Dad, Jen Jen, and I were all still there.

    After a person dies I feel there are ways they try to communicate with people still in the waking world. I’m not sure how I can still feel Taz around other than when I see a tail wag or find his fur on my clothes. In some sects of Buddhism they believe when a dog is a pet he/she gets reincarnated as a person in the next life. This thought brings me peace and makes me feel I made a difference in Taz’s life…so I will believe it. I’m forever grateful for the time I had with this woman’s best friend – Taz Farrar.

    Today I'm grateful for doggie smell, walks, and wagging tails.

    >HSP for me!

    >http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=beilovjoyandv-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0553062182&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrAfter much deliberation (with myself) and phenomenologist perspective, I've come to the conclusion I am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). I scored a 100% on the test and after reading several books I have decided to make it official by posting a blog about it. Here is the test if you want to find out for yourself:
    http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test.htm

    Apparently up to 15 to 20% of the population could be considered HSP. Having light hair and eyes also contributes as the eyes are the only exposed part of the nervous system. What does being an HSP mean? For as long as I can remember I have been extremely sensitive. Usually HSPs are described as being shy or introverted, turns out 30% of us are extraverting, which is very confusing. I am energized by people and then quickly overwhelmed. I crave stimulation and then with too much become exhausted. It used to frighten and frustrate me, now that I know I'm not alone in this experience I can use it for my advantage. I pick up on subtlies a lot of people don't. I am extremely reflective and sensitive to others. No I know my sensitivity isn't a personality flaw. According to Aron, "Many HSPs are often unusually creative and productive workers, attentive and thoughtful partners, and intellectually gifted individuals."

    I'm now proud to announce I'm an HSP!

    Today I'm grateful for when Dad makes eggs,  waking up to a cuddly kitty, and iTunes movies.

    >30 Before 30

    >Today is my 29th solar return (birthday in hippie speak). I am suprisingly excited to get closer to 30, like a fine wine I am definitely getting better with age. However, there are several things I want to do before I turn over the next decade. The list, in no particular order will most likely change, as all things do - here's the basic list:

    1. Get a cat – friendly, quiet, independent, cuddly

    2. Write a book
    3. Go hang gliding
    4. Contribute $30 per week to FFA
    5. Attend Ecstatic dance
    6. Go to Angel Island
    7. Visit De Young
    8. Visit Exploratorium
    9. Go to House of Air
    10. Lake Merritt by Gondola
    11. Eat at Burma Superstar
    12. Plan to go to India
    13. Beat Museum
    14. Eat at Dottie’s
    15. Caramel chicken at Slanted Door
    16. Visit top POPOs
    17. Chow down at Gary Danko
    18. Create podcast mixes
    19. See “The Room” at Red Vic
    20. Sing outloud on a bus
    21. Pay off credit card
    22. Go to Dildo Wars!
    23. Take a sail on Bay at sunset
    24. Horseback riding on the beach
    25. Drive a car more than 100 mph
    26. Emergency fund amount for at least two months.
    27. Create music mixes online
    28. Take a German class
    29. Dip at Fondue Cowboy
    30. TCHO Chocolate tour

    >Homemade Romantic Comedy

    >So, I'm at home where the general consensus is that I'm slightly crazy and down right bizarre. In honor of this opinion I created a video to honor my fellow crazies in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (PCC) program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Self-depricating humor is a favorite of mine, and so are awkward silences and gestures. That being said, enjoy! Today I'm grateful for Xtranormal, mani and pedis with Mom, and coca tea.

    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/12029791/pcc-love-story

    >Osama and Obama

    >

    So apparently Osama Bin Laden is dead and America is supposed to be celebrating. Why in heaven's name would I celebrate someone's death? It seems more than ever this opens a new chapter for love and hate. I'm choosing love and not to cheer. I'm choosing prayer instead of fear.

    I want to love inspite of the hate that seems to surround this circumstance. I want to allow people their way of feeling this "victory" and I also fear my judgements of them. For in judging them I repeat this same cycle that creates such struggle. Nothing left to say besides some great words from MLK. (wow, I'm on a rhyming kick today)

    "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." -Martin Luther King

    >Current currency

    >The only other time I've been exposed to alternate currency has been at Burning Man where I made out with someone in exchange for getting a soul mate. Sound strange? It was, although the Bay Area Community Exchange seems to offer more normal modes of payment. I'm certainly no economist, from what I do know local communities are far more wealthy than the national debt can account for. What a novel idea to reward someone who volunteers their time with recieving an hour of service.

    Here's brief info:

    Bay Area Community Exchange (BACE) is a collaborative network that supports the development of alternative means of exchange in the San Francisco Bay Area. We provide research and development support, incubation of alternative exchange projects, and education to the Bay Area community about economic issues. Through our work with currency projects, we will create an economy that is more sustainable, just, and embedded in healthy community connections.

    http://sfbace.org/

    >"Coming" clean

    >

    Yes, the title is meant in every way to be a sexual innuendo. This is also where I insert this blog post was spurred on by a Glee episode "Sexy" that aired last week and I watched on iTunes. I suppose I'm in the midst of a full "blown" (sorry, I can't stop when I start) exploration of sexuality. Not the type where I have sex with a lot of people or engage in strange sexual acts. This exploration is more about the  nature of our minds within our sexuality. As modern humans we seem to have a stunted sexuality based in strange taboos and a fear of desire. I did a presentation for a class last week discussing how we have left any identity of ourselves as sexual beings in the dust. And yet, on a level that's a huge part of who we are. On one hand I'm the loving, powerful woman and on the other a sexual being raging with hormones.

    Yet I'm unsure how to embody my sexuality and sensuality in a powerful way. I've always been very sensual...I enjoy good food, bubble baths, and pretty much delighting in the senses in general. The challenge for me seems to be actually getting comfortable with myself as a sexual being, not pretending it doesn't exist, a part of myself needing cultivation as equally as my spirituality or vitality. The Meredith Brooks song "Bitch" line "I'm a sinner, I'm a saint...I'm your hell I'm your dream" always struck me as acknowledging the paradox that is the experienc of being human. I'm a girl next door and I'm also a whore. There I said it, I "came" clean.

    Awesomely grateful for banana pancakes, late night phone calls, and $1 movie rentals.