Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Fog is Clearing

It feels like a lifetime has passed since I was last blogging consistently. Wow. Amazing how easily I can get caught up in the drama of my own life at times and neglect the things that feed me most.

So today's lesson is a brief one. As of late, I have been watching myself get all bent out of shape by two people in particular. Both are boys. Both challenge me in different ways. Both have a gift of getting under my skin before they even say so much as hello to me.

It's been such a problem that I had to take a time out from them both, choosing instead to spend the time reflecting on what the deal is with these two (as if the issue were outside of me!). I took some guidance from a great book on zen and stopped when I read this: "By not moving, we are unable to run away or influence our experience. We have to simply be present to whatever is happening, just as it is."

I've been very busy getting worked up, reacting without thinking, and allowing things to both bother me and then fester, that I've actually forgotten to sit still, find my seat and do nothing. As all good zen students know (at least intellectually we know), if we cannot simply 'do nothing', we have little hope of resolving anything. Funny thing being that as we do nothing for a little while, there is very little that needs resolving. Our reaction subsides, our death grip on the issue loosens, and our perspective clears.

How I could lose site of the fact that these individuals were not the issue but that my particular reaction to them was, is beyond me. Just goes to show that we all can benefit from reminders from time to time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Longing sings:
I am a way of preparing you
And I smile gently when you stray;
I know that out of loneliness
You will emerge into that greatest happiness
And will take my hands.

I walk with you through all prose
And obliquely teach you
the deep lesson in every fate.
Which is: to see in each small rose
The great Spring's unfolding.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shake Your Groove Thang...

So I may be (finally...delightfully...wonderfully...) back in my groove. After kicking off the new year in Maui, settling into - and, I think, quite possibly loving - my new job, I'm good. Like really good. Like feeling like I can do just about anything good (with the exception of running a full marathon...who needs to run more than 2 hours, I ask you?).

What in the world am I going to do with this new found energy? It feels like years since I've had this kind of get-up-and-go, both physically and mentally. I can only laugh as the voice in my head is taunting me with whispers about being in my prime. I laugh because that's exactly how I feel. And now that I have just, serendipitously, finished Andre Agassi's autobiography, Open, I'm feeling dangerously inspired. If you haven't read it yet, do.

What an amazing story and an incredible life he's led. The most inspiring part, I feel, comes toward the end of his tennis career with the beginning of his philanthropic work. I was captivated by his words but truly moved by his actions. All I want to do now is use this energy of mine, this motivation I have, and channel it into something important. If that's not the markings of a great book, then I don't know what is.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What to do when you have it all?

What do you do when you truly have everything? I mean it. What do you do? And by everything, I mean all the things that matter most.

Christmas came early for me this year. I have a healthy dad (more than a miracle), I have an expanding family (my brother finally popped the question to his long time love), we have a trip to one of the most beautiful places in the world to look forward to, and I got to dance all night long last night. Now the latter may not seem quite as important as the others but, let me assure you, it's a big deal. It's a rare event that anyone will go dancing with me and an occasion that brings me more happiness than I can adequately communicate. Such a good time!

I have a new job with some great opportunities ahead of me and I am in great health, running half marathons again and loving every minute of it. I have the pleasure of supporting an outstanding non-profit organization that helps to create very different futures for some remarkable, albeit high risk, youth. It's the stuff of goosebumps and it's my life. I know how fortunate I am.

So I ask you again, what do you do when you have it all...and still feel there is something missing? I can hardly believe I'm thinking it myself. I have everything and yet I'm still seeking something more: a family of my own.

Does my search for more threaten what I already have? Will I ever be satisfied, I wonder? Am I asking for too much?

There is some small, rational part of my brain that assures me I can, and likely will, have what I seek one of these days but precisely because it's so important to me, I find myself in this dark and superstitious place (which I can't imagine will increase my chances, truth be told). Perhaps the proper question to be asking myself is how on earth I can get out of this frame of mind and into a much more positive, optimistic one?

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I've been out of action for months now. I've had nothing interesting to say and not wanted to write a thing. Correction: I'm sure I've had plenty to say but I just haven't been able to articulate any of it in the blog. I have at least half a dozen attempts started, which is sad really, to see them just sitting there in my blog drafts list, so, well...unfinished.

I've been doing the very same with books lately. I start a new book only to abandon it about a third of the way through. My home has become a museum of half read books strewn around. I keep thinking I'll come back to finish them, which is becoming less and less likely as I continue to buy more, only to repeat the pattern. Why can I not complete anything right now?

I hate when things are left unfinished, and yet here I am sitting in and among all these unfinished, unloved stories, and staring at my long list of unfinished blog entries. And yes, my life, of course, mirrors this current state of affairs. Perhaps I have some unfinished business to attend to? Hmmm...

What am I so clearly avoiding?

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm Only Human...But Working On That

I am surrounded by uber talented, ultra inspiring, amazing youngin's who are pissing me off. How's that for a start today?

You know you're in trouble when you see something or someone who inspires you and instead of filling you with warm fuzzies and the energy to leap tall buildings in a single bound (or is that love?...or superman?), it instead annoys the hell out of you.

While you were "busy" sitting on your ass in front of the tv, enjoying what you've been telling yourself isn't boredom but really "balance", these youngin's were out there doing something productive with themselves. Seriously. What a pisser. A significant pisser when you realize you used to be one of them...and a very long time ago at that.

(...and yes, we can assume that every time I write "you" I mean "me"...)

What to do? What to do?

Well, let's be honest. I became self-indulgent and moped for a good few days. I couldn't get my mind off the broken record of, "What have you done lately, Sonja? Changed the world in any way? Have you impacted anyone other than yourself as of late? Come to think of it, have you impacted yourself in a positive way? Well, have you?" Yes, my overly ambitious, type-A tendencies reared their ugly head.

Let's just say it wasn't pretty there for a while.

But thanks to some sunshine, a good sleep and a fresh perspective (a.k.a. an ass whooping from my nearest and dearest for my ridiculous attitude), I gained some clarity.

There are always going to be people out there who are better, faster, stronger and then some. So take your pick. They're everywhere, and they ARE inspiring. They raise the bar for the rest of us and that should never been seen as a bad thing. A rising tide raises all boats. I think it was JFK who coined this one but, sourcing aside, it's true. Bringing our "A" game to whatever we do doesn't just help us personally, it impacts everyone near by. It's up to us, however, to choose whether that impact is positive or negative. Do you behave like I did (an ass - why mix words?) and miss the opportunity, or do you take advantage of it and up your game? Your choice.

My pitiful reaction to these incredible people in my life was unfortunate. At a time when I was feeling rather uninspired and unmotivated, I had three uber talented, uber inspiring and uber young people enter my life (hello, wake up call!). Rather than viewing that phenomenon as the amazing gift it was, I chose to see it as an aggravating and negative reminder of all that I am not doing with my life. How regrettably pathetic.

Thanks to the aid of a few good souls (and some sleep...I'm terrible without enough of it), I am back to appreciating these people for who they are and doing my best to soak up all the learning their example can offer.

To you three, I apologize. I am humbled and very grateful that you have arrived in my life. You are my tangible proof of what is possible if I just continue to put one foot in front of the other. Your inspiration (and my clarity) could not have come at a better time, by the way. In just a few days, I'll be speaking to 100 undergrad students to go out and chase down their graduation dreams (...poor, poor audience of mine).

Well, at least my presentation seems to be writing itself here...however I would have preferred taking on the inspiring role vs. the "here's the example of what not to do", but so be it. A lesson learned is a lesson learned.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Are You Sure About That? - Part 2

So getting back to the gift of the "The Gift"...

What I didn't share in my Part 1 post was what I walked into as I was awaiting my reading. In all the years (and that would be many) that I've been seeing my psychic, I have never walked in on the end of one her sessions. I've maybe passed someone in the hallway, made awkward and fleeting eye contact as we shuffled past one another, but that's it. Not only did I walk in on the end of someone else's session this time around, but I seemed to have walked in on an episode of Medium.

Far from being there for sh*ts and giggles as I was, these two women were there to find the location of their (they feared) murdered loved one. Full stop.

Needless to say, this overlap of ours, while interesting, was wildly surreal. The session was technically over by the time I made it to the door but they were lingering and chatting away about the session, the location that was identified and how grateful they were to be that much closer to receiving some form of closure. No one acted as if this whole scene was anything other than completely ordinary, so I did my best to seem, well, normal.

As they left, and we settled into my session, my psychic made a comment that further startled me.

"I guess that was for your benefit. I never go over time like that."

"Pardon? For my benefit? How do you mean?"

She went on to tell me that I was being shown all of that because I will be able to do the same for others one day (say wha...?) and then she went on to tell me how I can start working on cultivating it - I don't even know what to call "it" and here I am being given guidance on how to do it. So much for normal.

In the hypothetical realm, something like this sounds pretty cool. As a kid, I loved the idea of one day being a secret agent, catching the bad guys, solving the unsolvable. I even went so far as to take a few years of Criminology in my undergrad. When The X-Files came on tv, I was even more intrigued with the paranormal and all things unexplained. But, as it turned out, crime and murder, be it in this dimension or some hypothetical other, just wasn't my cup of tea. So in the practical realm, not sounding so cool at this point. It struck me as a tremendous responsibility and a whole lot of pressure (translation: not a good time).

Interesting. I've never been a skeptic before that I apparently have "the gift." Somehow I've shifted from identifying with Mulder to behaving a whole lot more like Scully.

So I ask the universe again, are you sure about that or am I soon to be starring in my own version of The X-Files???