Doing Good

Time to Take Flight in the Second Half of 2015

Time to Take Flight in the Second Half of 2015 (in Lolo Cevicheria in the Mission)

I used to write often, but now other things have taken precedence, for instance, self-improvement and catching up financially after the Great Recession.  But it doesn’t mean I’m not fulfilling my purpose in my life.  I’m where I’m supposed to be, and for a change, it feels good.  It feels right.  Often connecting to this energy takes plenty of effort.  However, there are moments when it’s easy-peasy, when I’m in the right place at the right time.

I went to an art show early this month for the nonprofit Swords to Plowshares and bumped into my old boss, its executiveIMG_3374 director.  Meeting him after a few years was meaningful in a way I didn’t expect in the sense that I could and should perhaps think about giving some of my time to a good cause.  I’m not sure what that is just yet, however, I imagine there are a slew of them needing my skills and experience gratis.

So this is the mindset coming out of a moment that saw the Golden State Warriors pull out Game 4 in the NBA Finals and eventually win the title after 40 years.  As I separate from the first half of the year, new and interesting avenues are opening up for me to explore and once again move forward.

Cold Light of Day

Life Is WeirdIn the cold light of day, a situation that once brought pleasure but now disturbs, leads to a moment of clarity, giving way to comfort in that clear-eyed view.

I must say at this point in my life, I arrive to certain conclusions more swiftly, largely due to experience and more knowledge and ways to access it than I could at times bear.

But this is living, which I have to accept, and I have to learn or discover the joy inside of it.  Or as Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote on this day in Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: “There’s certainly enough mystery to ponder–such as the mystery of what will happen next.  But instead of worrying or obsessing, you decide to just let go and see what occurs.  You choose to take joy in your real life as it unfolds day by day, hour by hour, a heartbeat at a time. …” Well said.

Spring Awakening

A month of transformation and rooftop Happy Hours at the San Francisco Art Institute and El Techo de Lolinda in the Mission.

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Uncorking the Year

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Since I passed my year anniversary at work last month, it’s time to focus on things that make me feel more like myself and organize my life around necessity and passion.  Lo and behold, my favorite local grocery, Canyon Market, had wine-tastings featuring some of my beloved winemakers, like Donkey & Goat and Crew Wines.

Wine broker Chris Scanlan and D&G winemaker Jared Brandt (right)

Wine broker Chris Scanlan and D&G winemaker Jared Brandt (right)

Donkey & Goat among others were characterized in a 2013 New York Times article by Eric Asimov as “a new wave of energetic winemakers” who “have been shaped by the same worldwide diversity of wines their audience,” looking “to the traditions of northeastern Italy, and the Jura, of Galicia and Sicily, of the Rhone Valley, Slovenia and many other lesser-known regions that make this moment so exciting for wine lovers.”

Matchbook wines come from Yolo County near Sacramento in Zamora, Calif.

Matchbook wines come from Yolo County near Sacramento in Zamora, Calif.

I’m drawn to them perhaps because they speak to me as someone with a myriad of experiences, who hasn’t had a linear path to reach this point as things are coming together–“the hourglass point between energy and matter,” to which self-help author Gary Zukav refers, “that is the seat of the soul.” Here’s to life. Cheers!


Budding Romances

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Two Blossoms in a Shallow Pond: No More Frogs!

I often come home too exhausted to start the second shift of anything.  As the year grinds toward the finish line, living supersedes writing.  So if I miss a month, it’s not the end of the world.  Like being partner-less for the moment,  I’ll live.

In the dating department, it is a re-ignition of sorts.  I recently jump-started online dating that I dropped seven years ago.  After hearing personal success stories, I thought it might be the right time to jump back into the pool.  For one profile, I wrote a manifesto, if you will, of what I’m looking for, that, quite frankly, no one really reads.  But it seems the process needs to take over in order to find one’s match–as a friend warned me, I would have to kiss more frogs than I would care to.  And he couldn’t have been more right.

But I can’t give up, as a fellow traveler advised me this year when waiting for our flights in the Virgin America terminal of SFO.  She stuck with it for two years and was going on three dates a week before she met her current fiance.  Really, that is the lesson for most anything.  I should keep sowing the seeds, and before I know it, a beautiful flower, just like the blossoms that unexpectedly popped out of my gardenia plant this Fall, will emerge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moments of Clarity

What I Did on My Summer Vacation: Yosemite National Park

What I Did on My Summer Vacation: Yosemite National Park

I typically post an entry every month, but due to technical difficulties courtesy of my good ole domain name keeper Startlogic and July being rather jam-packed with summer activity, it couldn’t be helped that I had to skip a month.

I know no one wants summer to end, but I sense in no time, that of course it will. This transitional period between summer and autumn is my ultimate favorite, I told a friend on Facebook today.  It’s as though the direction of the wind has changed. Like clockwork, I’m getting my second wind once again. It’s only appropriate that it should come after a very close friend had come to visit me in San Francisco. The last time she was here was apparently 14 years ago, so she was due and so was I. Quite frankly, I really hadn’t been myself the first half of the year. I felt rushed and hurried most of the time, perhaps even lost, simply winging it.

As happy as two peas in a pod.

Blowing in the Wind: A friendship that’s stronger than ever.

Carmen has a way of centering me that no one else can. In that breath, that moment, the past just falls away, and I begin to understand how it’s about passing to the other side and seeing things as they are. This sounds oddly Buddhist, and we even had a long debate about whether Buddhism should be considered a religion (par for the course during our college days and thereafter). Whatever the case may be, her visit was not only heartfelt, but also soul-replenishing.

Our day trip to Yosemite National Park, in my opinion one of the most spiritual places on the planet, was a perfect tableau of our seven-day journey together. We weren’t always so cordial to one another 24-7, but it was all part of the odyssey. Happiness is discovered in our travels not the destination.

When I wrote this entry, I was at lunch before returning to work for a performance review. My mind was clear, in spite of the cacophony of sounds and car horns and the murmur of the lunchtime crowd in the city. The bamboo plant next to me was telling me so.

Lunchtime Rumination: Bamboo speaking

Lunchtime Rumination: Bamboo speaking and I’m listening.

 

 

A Letter to My Younger Self

Lil Rachelle in Ilocos Sur, Philippines

In a few years, you would fly on a TWA airliner to join your parents in the United States, rather sad, dare I say even upset, that you would be leaving your beloved great-grandmother, Lucia, who took care of you in your mother’s absence.  But when you were on the plane, you somehow had this idea that you were embarking on a great adventure, and later, you learn there is even a moniker for it–citizen of the world–one that you would feel aptly describes the role you were supposed to step into when you left the Philippines for good.

You would hit the books most of your life in your hometown of Pittsburgh, PA until your twenties, when you would spend most of the years after college having roommates and misadventures and working in your dream job in a city you weren’t completely sold on, even taking it for granted, until it’s 20 years later, and you’re still here. Many times you would want to quit San Francisco, but you just couldn’t quite pull the trigger.

You would fall in love before you turn 30 and lose your job and man in one year.  But you would travel to Paris at the end of the year with a ragtag band of your two sisters and two of your friends from high school and college, so that you would return to San Francisco, not only tinged with sorrow,  but also the joie de vivre of that magical city.  You would clean up after the party you had in your twenties and start figuring out in your thirties how you would want the rest of your life to look like.  Your Paris gave you the spirit, and you would try to recapture and infuse it.  You would tell people what you don’t want.  The things you would love most–music, writing and your family and friends–are your saviors.

You prepare for your forties so that you become the entire package.  You tell people what you do want and who you are for someone to meet you at that similar place–one who will love, recognize and accept you for who you’ve become at this point in time.  You learn to love and take care of yourself more passionately.  You’re less selfish, kinder and more forgiving.  You see the difference between falling in love, being in love and love itself, which means sacrifice, stretching and enlarging one’s heart for someone else, putting their needs before yours, compromise and attention (qualities that by and large characterize your parents’ own marriage of currently 44 years that while for years you promised yourself you would never want, is essentially a verity you’ve come to accept and maybe even embrace).

You believe true love will find you because you have a better understanding of what it is, not simply the romantic notions that spring from pop songs and Hollywood movies, but also the changing faces of the moon in shadows and light, shades of gray, cyclical endings and beginnings that test one’s faith in whether it could ever be sustained.  For all the experience and wisdom you’ve gained, you haven’t really cracked most of life’s mysteries.  And that’s okay because your life still remains an unfinished work.

Into My Springtime

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A spontaneous coffee klatch with one of my closest friends Rose …

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at a hipster joint called Sightglass Coffee on 7th and Howard in SOMA where I used to work.

 

 

I kinda want to bookend this month, not so much as glad to have survived as I did last year on this same day but more so, the product of month-long self-discovery is personal growth and a return to the familiar with a fresh perspective.

I love being with my friends, and I enjoy them so much more after coming through on the other side.  There’s nothing brainy about this blog entry, only that I’m finally in a good place.

Our Selfie, Our Selves

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I  found the selfie button on my smartphone, and with that a bit of self-reflection on where to go from here.   It would be naive of me to believe I would return to pre-economic meltdown of 2008.  But I remember having plans that had to be placed on hold until better days.  And I believe these are better days.

But I suppose too much has already passed, being forced out of my comfort zone more often than I would’ve preferred, which led to a clearer, more advanced understanding of myself that to even entertain the notion of returning to the past would be going backwards. For instance, I was moved to certain action by a father’s blog last month on the messages that mainstream women’s magazines send out to young women, particularly his daughter.

Dr. Kelly Flanagan writes on the buzzword “naked”: The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on. But take your gloves off. Pull no punches. Say what is in your heart. Be vulnerable. Embrace risk. Love a world that barely knows what it means to love itself. Do so nakedly. Openly. With abandon.

I guess the Heraclitus quote applies here:  No one ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and you are not the same person.  Obviously with a new job and a different social landscape, I am not in Kansas anymore.  Friends are suddenly in various locations, and greater coordination is required to be together.  People appear for one purpose and unceremoniously vanish, only to reappear for a re-purpose of sorts.  It’s hard to make heads or tails out of anything lately, but probably the best way to look at it is in song from one of my favorite movie musicals “Victor/Victoria”:

A Sea Change

Harnessing the constant movement of life is a tricky feat.

Harnessing the constant movement of life is a tricky feat.

Change regardless how simple does shake one’s equilibrium.  It’s like having a new body.  I have to re-orient myself to a better way of living, more in the affirmative rather than having to hide my talents, needs and authentic self for fear of rejection.  I know this sounds so Oprah-ish. I guess I am volunteering to fill some of the void since she is no longer part of the collective consciousness on a regular basis.

Perhaps the trick is to simply sit on a rock and be.

Perhaps the solution is to simply perch on a rock and be.

As this new phase in my life is taking shape, it has also opened up more “space,” which I’m tempted to fill.  However, I’m mindful of that at times it’s just best to leave it alone and accept it for all its simplicity and what it could teach me–to be.

It’s something I haven’t intentionally paid attention to when I had to put my focus on, say, work, and I had to create opportunities, as minuscule as they were at the time, that cumulatively led to pivotal breakthroughs until a major one presented itself.  I know this is getting way too philosophical.  But the fact I have a choice between the two or a panoply of options puts me in an unusual, dare I say, power position, that I’m slowly yet surely figuring out how to handle.