Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Vibrate

Everybody's Fine.  The Robert De Niro movie by that name has been going through my mind since Friday.  In the movie De Niro's character, Frank, travels to see each of his grown children to make sure they're fine.

In my case, my children have been checking in regularly to let me know they're fine.  My son in Boston called early Friday morning to tell me he was okay before I had any idea there was a manhunt underway.  He was home trying to figure out how to get to work, and soon after his call we heard that all of Boston was told to shelter in place.

I watched and listened as Friday's events unfolded.  I kept thinking the police would locate the suspect...any minute they would come upon him hiding...arrest him...and this chapter would be finished, though the story was just beginning.  I was concerned about the safety of my son, but I was acutely aware that the bombing suspects were someone's sons, too.

It feels like someone put the world on vibrate....

Two weeks ago during a massage my body started to vibrate.  It was unexpected but not scary, odd but not hurtful.  I felt the effects for hours afterward.  A few days later I asked my daughter what she thought the vibrating meant.  She said she didn't have a scientific explanation, but she had a theory and used a metaphor to explain:  When musicians in an orchestra tune their instruments before a concert, the sounds are disjointed, apart from one another, out of sync.  Each instrument needs to be tuned on its own before it carries its part within the group.  When the conductor taps his wand, the sounds find each other, come together, and play in harmony.

Chaos lays the groundwork for harmony.

That explanation has been reassuring to me as I reflect on all that is happening, in my life and out in the world.  I want a reason for continued optimism.   I want to believe that we will figure this out.

I like to think that through it all we are moving toward harmony....   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Safety Not Guaranteed

Last week my older son called via Skype to let me know he was safe in China, where he travels several times a year for work.  All was well.   He wanted us to know he knew what connections he would need to make to leave quickly if the situation in North Korea should escalate.  I was glad to hear his voice.  Most times I look for a post on Facebook that he has safely arrived overseas or has returned safely home.

He was the one I was concerned about....

Yesterday was a holiday in Maine.  We are the only state other than Massachusetts that celebrates Patriots' Day, which commemorates the first battles of the Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord.  For some, like Ken, it's a day off.

My daughter and younger son were working, so it was unusual to get a call from my daughter in the middle of the afternoon.   I was watching Netflix while I worked on a new quilt, and Ken was working in the yard.  She wanted to let me know that she had communicated with our younger son in Boston via text and that he was okay.  Then she told me about the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  I couldn't believe it.  The first reports must be mistaken.

There was no mistake.  Bombs went off and people were injured.

I immediately posted on Facebook that T was safe.  It was the fastest way to get the word out to the most people.  I called my mom, who doesn't use the computer.  I emailed a friend who isn't on FB.

I am grateful that my children are safe.  They are the first to remind me that they know how to take care of themselves.  They are living the lives they want to live.   

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rules Of Improvisation

My sister gave me the audiobook of Tina Fey's Bossypants.  I loved it and shared it with my daughter and a friend, who enjoyed it as well.  Before I listened to Tina Fey's story I couldn't get into her most recent TV show 30 Rock, but afterward I watched all the seasons that are on Netflix.  It all made much more sense once I knew her background.

There was one particular part of her book that has stayed with me.  I listened to it several times and took notes.  Tina shares her Rules of Improvisation, which also work for life in general.

1)  Agree and say "yes."  Respect what your partner has created and stay open minded.
[When you are working with someone, agree with their premise.]

2)  Say "yes AND."  Don't be afraid to contribute; your contributions are worthwhile.  Add something of your own to the discussion.
[The AND is when you say something that moves the interaction forward.]

3)  Make statements with your actions and voice.  Be part of the solution.
[Be confident.  Do not use an apologetic tone.]

4)  There are no mistakes, only opportunities, aka beautiful happy accidents.
[This is true when you take advantage of whatever happens.]

These are good, common sense guidelines.  Long ago I learned to say "yes" if given a choice, and I have never been sorry. There is a way to answer most questions with "yes," as long as the conversation continues to allow for clarification and flexibility.  I can talk to just about anyone because I can always find a way to extend the conversation; I am sincerely interested in what other people have to say.  I make a point to not raise my voice at the end of a statement because then it sounds like a question, and that defeats the point of making a statement.

If I look at life as an improvisation, the one rule I have trouble with is to see "mistakes" as opportunities.  I would expand that to decisions that made sense at the time they were made but have not panned out.  Maybe there are no clear answers.  Maybe one thing leads to another and it's hard to know what's connected, where the "mistake" ends and opportunity begins. 

This week I have to remind myself to keep breathing.  It's hard to see how anything fits together or where my place is in the scheme of things.

Just breathe.... 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In-Between Time

Yesterday's rain banished all but the iciest piles of snow.  The flower beds are thawing, though there are still places where leaves are frozen in place.  Each year at this time I am reminded to be patient, to trust that life indeed continues under the surface and will break through when it's time.  Brave tulip tips are barely visible, pushing forth despite cold nights still to come.

We spent March distracting ourselves from the evidence that spring had not yet arrived.  There were plenty of house projects to keep us busy.  Ken repaired a wall in the utility room that I still have to paint.  He removed plastic "lazy susan" shelves from a corner kitchen cabinet, which I reorganized to double the storage space.  We installed an under-cabinet rack to hold wine glasses, which frees up more cabinet space.  In our bedroom we hung new blinds, and I have washed curtains in three rooms.  I painted a three-drawer chest white and added porcelain knobs, a special place for fabric.  Flowers inside, if not yet outside ~

The yearly NCAA March Madness has been particularly exciting this year, with only one number one seed, Louisville, progressing to the Final Four.  My bracket was in trouble from the first round, so it's not my year to "win" the family competition.  That just frees me to root for all the teams to do their best and give us a good show.  I am looking forward to the games this coming weekend ~ two number four teams will meet as Syracuse and Michigan face off, and number nine seed Wichita State will play Louisville.  I am taking notes for next year, though teams change so often at the college level that it's hard to predict year to year.  Ken and I enjoy the fast-paced games. 

All wonderful distractions during this in-between time ~