Lizards

Hello Everyone!

I am done hibernating and am ready to get back to this blog.  This is a poem I wrote over the winter, I hope you enjoy.  I am nervous about putting my voice out there, but what the hell.  I am getting bored with keeping my writing to myself!

Where are the Lizards?

The only lizards now are the ones running across my memory.

Their little bodies are asleep somewhere, curled up like dogs under layers of fall.

In truth, I do not know the way they sleep, or how, or if what they do can even be called sleep-

If I were more like Mary Oliver or even more like myself,

I would know.

Maybe in the spring I’ll wake up.

And like the Lizards I will unfurl.

I will stop distracting myself from being myself.

I’ll shop less, clean less, and I’ll un-busy myself with worries of the future.

Next winter I will write about the Lizards and

I will tell you exactly where they sleep and how.

The Simplicity of Honesty

 

I have been reading the “Exquisite Risk” by Mark Nepo and I took a picture of this chapter because I really want to share it with you.  This is one of those books that found me and his words are exactly what I need to hear right now.

I have done a wonderful job at physically simplifying my life.  I live in a bus, I share a car with my boyfriend, I have parred down my wardrobe, I cook and eat healthy food, I am able to create time for myself, and I garden.  Yet, the inner peace I thought simplifying my life would provide still eludes me.

As a girl, the characters I most admired were the revolutionaries, the warriors, the singers,  the teachers and poets.  As a young woman I tried to be these characerts.  I approached what ever I was doing with the desire to help people and the environment and while there is nothing wrong with that, I was pursuing that desire without being aware that I was also searching for something else: peace.  The kind of peace that can only come from being seen and recognized for who you truly are.  I struggle with work, because I don’t feel seen. I feel like a shadow of myself when I am there.  I realize now that when I feel like quitting work and running out the door, my real desire is to use such a bold action as  if to say to myself, family, friends, and community: “This isn’t me goddamnit!  Being a receptionist is not all of who I am.  I am Amanda.  I love being outside and getting dirty.  I am a revolutionary in my own way. My passion is homesteading and entomophagy, and helping people reconnect with nature!!!!!!”

Maybe if I can be aware of what I am searching for I can be more honest with who I am and what I want to do with my life.  If I am not searching for fame and just peace, how might that change my actions and life path?  How can I can satisfy my need to be seen without the grandeur of fame?  How can I see myself and honor who I truly am?  These are questions I will think on for a bit and in the meantime I want to practice noticing when others are just asking to be seen for who they are and honor them:)

 

 

 

 

A Bird Came Down

The other day I followed a little Chickadee down a path and watched him collect material for his nest.  I felt my humanness unfurl as I perceived the world as though I was him, but it was given back to me more whole and beautiful the moment he flew away.  It is our immersion with nature that makes us human, not our distance from it.  Here is a poem by Emily Dickinson that reminded me of the little Chickadee:
A bird came down the walk:

I am a Bug Farmer!!!

 

Being a bug farmer is not what I had in mind when I said I wanted to be a farmer. Perhaps I should have been a little more specific when I prayed to the universe, but I kinda like that the universe surprised me and helped me find my niche. Bug farming isn’t glamourous, but it is wonderous and beautiful in its own way. When I peer into the bin full of mealworms, I see a microcosm and I feel as connected to the ecosystem as I would if I were farming chickens or vegetables.

Any type of farming is like a marriage and requires a deep level of commitment. Healthy, regenerative farms are born of great effort, but I am nervous about this whole endeavor. I am struggling as I explore my relationship with commitment and have a lot of fear towards committing to a great many things. I am afraid of being responsible and depended upon because what if I fail? What if I am not good enough? What if the grass is greener on the other side? What if I am vulnerable? What if the deepest purest expression of myself is not met with love? When I actually get these worries out of my head they seem commonplace, but I spent my twenties feeling the crushing enormous weight of these worries and now have only begun to let go and commit to what I love despite fear. Scott Peck, a psychologist said that “love is effortful.” It just occurred to me that having my own personal ceremony where I commit to being a bug farmer and entomophagy educator may be a powerful way to solidify my commitment. It sounds silly, but as with a marriage commitment, there’s a sense of security that goes along with it. As long as I put forth my best effort and keep trying no matter what, it’s okay to fail and it’s okay to not be good enough. I am ready to inspire, educate, and learn; come what may.

So with that said, allow me to introduce you to my tiny friends!

 

I ordered them online and had them delivered to me through the mail. Following directions I read in a book and online, I put them in the refrigerator to slow them down while I prepared their new home which is a plastic 20-gallon container. I poked holes in the lid with a screwdriver which was really easy, and then I filled the bin with rolled oats that I ground up in a blender. This apparently gives them more surface area to live on. After this, I put them in their new home with some fruit and veggies and Matt and I stared at them for a while which was actually quite interesting and fun! I planned on keeping them warm with a heat lamp, but I didn’t feel good about leaving it on overnight due to heat lamps being fire hazards:( So now they live in the bathroom next to the heater which keeps them at the low end of their preferred temperature at 70 degrees. I hope that as it warms up they’ll be happier and friskier and will make more babies! Now I am just waiting for magic to happen. In a week or so they will morph into beetles who will then make babies that will turn into mealworms and start the whole process over again. I’ll keep you updated on this entire adventure as it unfolds.

P.S check out the receipt for everything I needed to set my farm up and the mealworms only cost $11.50.

 

Be Ignited or be Gone

What I Have Learned So Far
by Mary Oliver

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

I woke up this morning with jealousy.  Who know how much of the night I spent jaws clenched, grinding my teeth?  How many times did I have to remind myself to relax my shoulders?  A few years ago, I wouldn’t have known what to do with this stress.  I probably would taken my jealous feelings and hidden them and then that energy, still needing to be expressed would have found its outlet somewhere else.  I would have expended it on my ex husband, mistaking love for co-dependency, or I would have used that energy to distract myself by consuming movies, or shopping, or going to bars.

“Be ignited or be gone”, says Mary Oliver.  Jealousy is fuel.  I woke up jealous of my friend because she is doing what she loves and is making a living doing so.  I started to feel sorry for myself, but then I noticed what those feelings of jealousy were making my body want to do.  They were making my body want to move.  I am clenching my jaw and it hurts because I am spending so much energy keeping myself from talking and sharing my voice and perspective.  My shoulders hurt and are tense because I am trying so hard to restrict myself from reaching out and grasping the life I want.  Holding so much energy back is exhausting and I am learning to let go.

So today, I let jealousy carry me over to my bike, and through the park, past the geese and to this coffee shop where I am now writing for this blog.  Later, I will let it help me as I do what I need to do to set up my meal worm farm and then I will allow it to encourage the discipline I need to study so that I can share what I learn to help others.  I don’t have the energy for indolence anymore, I choose action.

 

 

January: The Month of Buying Only What Was Considered a Need

Going into the new year, Matt and I decided that we would try and spend money only on things we deemed to be a need which seemed pretty cut and dry at the time.  I assumed a need to be rent, food, health related expenses and transportation.  I can’t speak for Matt, but I did a really good job, or so I thought until I looked at my spending on Mint.com, which is a free budgeting software program.  It turns out that I can justify most everything to be a need.  Food is a need, of course, but I spent a total of $507 on groceries, restaurants, and coffee shops.  Every time I went out for lunch I told myself that my soul needed it.  When I spent money on gas to go to Ashland, I told myself that my soul needed it.  When I buy coffee on my breaks I tell myself that my soul needs it.  It’s true, my soul needs it, but as I look back over my spending, I wonder what it is my soul is actually needing.  Matt pointed out that maybe I get coffee on my breaks because I need the social interaction.  I love talking to the lovely people that give me coffee and I love walking over to get it.  When I go out to eat, it’s actually a form of entertainment and a change of scenery.  So this month as I reset my budget, I need to redefine what a need is, and what my soul is actually needing.  I have clearly done a great job at not buying stuff, but when when it comes to food, defining what food is a need and what food is a want is a little tricky!  If I can be more mindful of what the definition is I can potentially save a lot of money since I spend more on food than anything else.

Going forward, here are some things I am going to try in order to cut back on money I spend on food for February:

  1. Buy ground coffee, or tea and make it myself at work and then go for a walk.  The coffee shop I go to is closing, so this is a good time to change my routine.  Being out in nature nourishes me and maybe on my walk I can find other lovely people to interact with:)  Can my social needs be met this way?  We’ll see…
  2. Matt and I talked about only eating out once per week and making a routine of it.  It’s easy to forget how much I eat out!
  3.  Since we will be eating out less, that means that I need to be better at preparing my meals at home.  This is time consuming, but the money we save will help us get closer to our goals.
  4. Budget for PMS.  Seriously.  I spend more money on food the week before my period when I am depressed and ravenously hungry than any other time of the month.  If I can anticipate that I will be spending more money on food during PMS, I can use the rest of the month when I am more rational to make better choices and save money on food.
  5. Budget for fun especially towards the end of the month.  It’s easy to be good with money for a few weeks, but then I start feeling deprived so I spend more.  Every week I want to have some mad money that I can spend however I want and not feel guilty about.  Maybe I take cash out every week and when the money is gone it is gone until the next week.

Well, this seems like enough for me to try this month!  I am excited to see how it goes!

 

We are Human Beings, not Human Doings

I am trying to be a human being today.  For the moment I am succeeding.  I am writing my blog and I am in the moment and there is no where else I am thinking about going.  There is no one else I am thinking about becoming.  There is nothing else I am thinking about doing.  I am just me doing my thing.  This morning was a different story though.  I woke up inside of my to-do list, and started thinking about all the things I want to do to be the person I want to be.  I rode my bike right over the Rogue River thinking about my destination instead of its beauty.  The Rogue River!  It is one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever seen and I rode over it and past it’s offer to help me simply be a human being and not a human doing.  I will not get frustrated with myself though, mindfulness is a practice, so I will keep practicing and notice and feel gratitude for moments of grace like the one I am in now.

Mindful

Every day I see or hear something that more or less

kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle

in the haystack of light. It was what I was born for – to look, to listen,

to lose myself inside this soft world – to instruct myself over and over

in joy, and acclamation. Nor am I talking about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant – but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help

but grow wise with such teachings as these – the untrimmable light

of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?

~ Mary Oliver ~