Category Archives: reverb10

At the core

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reflect on this year and manifest what’s next

Core Story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)

I’m a little self-reflected out. Good thing it’s the last day of reverb10. Happy New Year (thank the gods).

Reverb Recap:

Gimme Time

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reflect on this year and manifest what’s next

Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?

One thing I’ve had in abundance in 2010 is time. Time isn’t a gift that I chose, but one for which I am grateful. Since I’m not running the kids back and forth to the valley every other weekend like we did for 6 or so years (3 hours there, 3 hours back), they aren’t here to spend time with, and my husband prefers to spend a lot of time alone, I’ve been left to my own devices for the last year. As first I didn’t know what to do with myself. But soon, I realized how lucky I was to have breathing room again. This “extra” time has allowed me to run VegNet and related activities, start the radio show, make fitness a priority, do yoga, go mountain biking, have lunch or tea with friends, run leisurely errands, do major house maintenance, hang out with my Dad when he’s not doing the snow-bird thing, hang out with my animal friends, write, blog, read, and just be. Having had a taste of parenthood, I realize how precious this time is. Real parents don’t get breaks like this. Real parents don’t have time for themselves. I’m fortunate to have been given time. A bittersweet gift.


Re-reverb: loss, ad naseum

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Defining Moment. Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

I’ve been putting off answering this prompt all day. Haven’t I already responded to this question multiple times in slightly different ways all month?

It occurs to me that I’ve been rehashing loss ad naseum over the last two months; a series of losses that has defined 2010 for me. Losing Connecticut, Big Kitty, and Deimos has taught me I can’t deny death, and that I’m not really in control. That life can be snatched away on a whim, no matter how much love or time you have invested. You would think I would have already learned this. From the death of my mom, 20+ years ago. From the death of significant relationships. From losing my step-kids. From the death of several cat friends, nearly 10 years ago. 2010 has ripped one big aching hole in my heart with a jagged rusty knife. The good in this: Is there good in this?

I’d like to think there is. I’d like to think that it has made me stronger, has made me more resilient. I’d like to think that feeling this way opens me up to others who are feeling the same way. I remember after my mom died: I was 20 years old, walking around in amazement, suddenly acutely aware that there were others whose worlds had just been completely upended. It was beautiful, in a way. Every moment titrated down to a drop of concentrated feeling. Ordinarily, we travel through our days, eyes clouded by cataracts, blinding us to the bright pain of our friends, neighbors, coworkers, animals. Grief neatly excises the cloudiness. Sure, we’re momentarily blinded by shock, but soon we begin to stagger around, arms outstretched, and as we’re recovering, eyes adjusting, we begin to see that we’re not alone, far from it. So there it is. If grief makes me more empathetic to my fellow humans, and to my fellow non-human animals, then that’s something, if only until I forget, again.

Oh, to be a morning person, bounding out of bed, smile plastered ear to ear

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reflect on this year and manifest what’s next

Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

This prompt is a hard one. There are many small things that I want, and no one thing sticks out the most. Two things did pop into my mind though; one is a secret, one I can share.

Regarding the secret achievement: I’m already working on it, and it will continue to take patience and a bit of luck. I would feel relieved on a number of levels, challenged, valued, respected, hopeful, and would be able to let go of pent-up guilt and resentment.

The second one would be to continue writing, get disciplined about it, and complete a story or two. Finally I would feel at home in my own skin, doing what I’ve always been meant to do. I would feel renewed, hopeful, and engaged.

10 11 things I can do or think to create these feelings sooner rather than later:

  1. Make writing a priority (from cathartic memoir angst to creative storytelling)
  2. To make writing a priority, do it first
  3. In order to do it first, get up earlier (oh, to be a morning person, bounding out of bed, smile plastered ear to ear)
  4. In order to get up earlier, go to bed earlier (farewell, night owl?)
  5. Make challenging myself a priority
  6. To make challenging myself a priority, schedule time for it
  7. In order to schedule time for personal and career challenges, cut out the non-essentials
  8. In order to cut out the non-essentials, decide what is essential
  9. Take care of my mental and physical health—start yoga again, keeping eating well, keep working out
  10. Structure each day to emphasize life and eliminate guilt
  11. Create daily opportunities for laughter and unexpected craziness

Happy happy joy joy

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reflect on this year and manifest what’s next

Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

I dislike the word Joy. It’s almost as bad as Happy. It seems that it’s only used when expressing lofty, fake, ironic, antiquated, or religious ideas. Quick, use joy, joyful, or joyous in a sentence describing your actual life—while keeping a straight face. Look at how unpopular the word is now.

This has been a year of surviving, of maintaining, and also of trying new things. I would describe none of these as joyous (or even as great delight or happiness, keen pleasure, or elation). I guess in describing 2010 good moments, I’ll have to settle for satisfied, pleased, excited, content, proud. Two moments that stood out: learning to mountain bike this summer and completing my first radio show.

Unforgettable vegan soul food

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Soul Food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

This past June, I had one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Portland at Blossoming Lotus. For my birthday, my hubby and I made last-minute plans for a friend to watch the pets and drove up to Portland on Saturday. Because it was my birthday weekend, hubby let me do whatever I wanted and gamely went along without complaining. I was able to attend a bit of the Let Live Conference, but mostly I just wanted to hang out with my best friend (and he’s not into conferences and crowds). After checking into the University Place Hotel near PSU for a ridiculously good price due to Let Live, and filling up on vegan food cart fare, we made our way over to check out the vegan mini mall for the first time. Later, we decided to forgo the overcrowded Portobello, and after getting lost a few times, we found our way to Blossoming Lotus in the NE. (I’ve tried to go to Portobello every time I’ve gone to Portland, and something always thwarts my efforts, but I will prevail one of these days!)

It was a Saturday night, but we didn’t have to wait long. Blossoming Lotus is fine dining—candles and tablecloths—but at the same time comfortable and unpretentious. It manages to feel both spacious and cozy (if I remember right, there are high ceilings and big windows). Our waiter was very friendly and patiently explained all of the options and let us know his favorites. I remember feeling so pleased to be in a nice restaurant where I didn’t have to comb the menu for something that could be made vegan, and where I didn’t have to ask about hidden ingredients like chicken broth or dairy. Everything on the menu was vegan by default, and much of it was raw. All of it was fantastic.

My husband ordered the Live Sampler, with so many new tastes, and we shared an order of Live Nachos. These nachos were some of the best nachos I’ve every had: “spiced tomato & walnut chips, zucchini tahini nacho cheese and ground walnut chorizo, topped with onion, tomato, cilantro, scallion, cashew sour cream and avocado ranch, served with a lime wedge.” For my main course, I had the 4 Cheese Lasagna, which was was truly delicious. I believe they make all their own cheeses there, including “herbed tofu ricotta, roasted garlic & squash mozzarella, and sesame parmesan… topped with cashew cream.” For desert, there was raw cheesecake. (It was good, but I couldn’t get over the fact that it smelled so much like coconut that it reminded me of suntan lotion.) All in all it was a long, lovely birthday dinner, full of great food and excellent company. I’ve been back several times since—on almost every trip to Portland—bringing along friends or business acquaintances. My other favorite dish there is the BBQ Tempeh Platter. If feels great to eat so well and at the same time use my food dollars to vote against cruelty.

On your next trip to Portland, make sure not to miss this great little restaurant. And Powell’s, of course. We spent several hours there the next day.

Honorable mention for best meal of the year: Vegan Thanksgiving.

Stealing my soul

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reflect on this year and manifest what’s next

Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and [...]

goat photo take soul

This could have been really fun. Except that there are few photos of me from the last year, and really not that many from the last 15 years. I’ve never liked my photo to be taken. It’s not that I think that photos will steal my soul, but just that they don’t turn out looking like how I picture myself (I realize this is not unique to me). But the practical reason for so few photos is that I’ve not made it a priority to carry around a camera. My hubby went through a phase where he was taking lots of pictures a few years ago, but those were mostly landscapes and night shots, not portraits. And since I don’t have kids, there’s just not a lot of gratuitous family photo taking. Sometimes I regret this. But mostly when I think that my children might not have any good photos of me from my twenties and thirties. But then I realize, what children? Does it really matter then?

What it comes down to is if I want pictures, I should take them for myself. If I don’t, I should stop feeling guilty about it and let it go.