Paradise is Sharing...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Running Around in Circles

"Four laps around the track and you're done!"

Fourth grade P.E. class .. aka... torture.  My other classmates took off like gazelles, leaving me to lumber and plod along, breath stinging my lungs, sweat burning in my eyes.  About half way around the first lap, the whole class passed me.  Long, lean, fast... some chuckled as they ran by me.  Others threw out insults "outta the way  lard-ass"... and one, maybe two classmates slowed down and jogged beside me and encouraged me to keep going, until the gym teacher blew their whistle and told them to pick up the pace. 

"C'mon Hansen! Faster!  Hut hut hut!"  My face burned.  Tears started to roll down my cheeks.  As I rounded lap three, all my other classmates were waiting for me to finish.  They couldn't leave until I was done.  The boys wanted to go play baseball, the girls wanted to go off and gossip about the boys.  I wanted to die.

My gym shorts rode up my thighs, and my legs began to chafe.  This is not my idea of fun.  I had to slow down to a fast walk... then just a walk.. and 15 minutes later, I dragged myself across the finish line.  Two of my close friends high-fived me... the rest of the class looked at me in disgust and walked back towards the school.

Ever since then, I have not been a fan of running in circles.  In fact, every chance I  blaze a new trail, walk in dewy grass, find a different way to go.  I love to wander, ramble, roam, rove, stroll... and just plain meander.  I've always thought this made me an adventurer... a finder of new frontiers, or at the very least, the one who knows all the back roads and can avoid the highway like nobody's business.... and to some extent, this is true.

But more and more as I get <gulp> older... and <ahem>  wiser, I am seeing the importance of running in circles.  Not as in the phrase "running around in circles like a chicken with my head cut off" (ewww)... but the discipline of practicing your skills over and over... until they are set in, part of your lifestyle, and become second nature.

Runners run on tracks, not because they don't prefer to run in a straight line, but because the track provides an even surface - a space where they can perfect their performance. They can anticipate the turns, gauge where they need to be for best timing, and compete against themselves for their best personal time. 

Wandering and exploring is great for adventure - freestyle is good for the soul, but there comes a time where you may go back to the start... repeat the basics... perfect your skills.  This is where I am finding myself these days... back to basics.

I just started South Beach Diet with MyHoney.  For those who know me, know I am very anti-diet.  I have struggled with eating disorders as a teenager and in my twenties, I had emotionally damaging results from diets.  However, finding myself back to the heaviest weight I have ever been, I have decided I need to go back to basics.  South Beach (and please don't mis-read this as an endorsement)... seems to be a pretty solid "eating plan" that brings you back to eating healthy foods - when you are hungry, and stopping when you are full.  I have wandered so far from the fundamentals of healthy eating, I decided it was time to circle around the diet wagon once again.  Still, it made me sad to think that I have to lose this weight ALL over again... the same 20 pounds.. over and over and over again. 

Last night I hiked with Lexi down to Otter Ponds, and while I gazed out at the sunset, she skidded around the path, doing her "zoomies"... her version of "running around in circles."  Up the beach, up through the woods, down the path, leaping across the culvert, and zipping past me kicking up sand and beach pebbles as she whisks by and flies down the beach again... then up through the woods, down the path, LEAP the culvert, zips past me... down the beach...

I watched her in awe as she seemed to round each corner faster and faster with lightening speed precision.  Each leap across the culvert was more fearless and took more flight.  Each bound took on more familiarity with the track and she poured on more speed.  With a glance back at me, I could see the pure delight in her face, as she continued her game of perfecting her circle.

Perhaps going back to the start isn't supposed to be a drudgery.  Perhaps, it's a chance to leap higher, round the corners faster... and perfect the circle.  Go Lexi Go!  Go Cilly Go!  Run around that Circle!

Paradise is Here... Paradise is Now... Paradise is perfecting your circles

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dogs are from Pluto...

Tranquilo (Calm)

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
MyHoney and I just celebrated the 4-year anniversary of the day we met.  To start off our celebration, we went to the same Starbucks where we had our first "coffee date."   I remember our first date as though it were yesterday.  I was nervous.. I hadn't been on a"date" for 17 years.  Was I wearing the right outfit?  What if I talk too much? What if I don't talk enough?  What if this isn't really a "date" and I have put too much thought into it?  What if he doesn't like me? What if he does?  As I pulled my bright yellow VW Beetle up to the curb, my hands were shaking.  What am I doing here?

I walked into the coffee shop... I was early, so I sat down in the comfy seats and nervously fidgeted in my chair and waited for him to arrive.  Then the door swung open, and he walked in.... he greeted me with a hug, a warm smile and kindness in his eyes that immediately put me at ease.  We ordered our drinks, sat down, and started chatting away about what we were interested in, what we did for work... and most of all, our dogs.  I felt like I was talking with an old friend. 
If someone had put a time-lapsed camera there that day, you would have seen a whole city bustle and buzz in and out the doors... Right in the heart of downtown Portland, amongst all the hustle and bustle, people streamed in and out, fetching their latte's and mocha grande.. but for us, time stood still.

Before I knew it, I glanced outside and realized the sun had set.  We had been there for four hours... the first four beautiful hours of our relationship together.  I didn't want to admit it to myself...  but I think I was falling for this guy... right here.. in this coffee shop.

Four years later, sitting in the same coffee shop, our discussion was not about getting to know one another... but getting to a deeper understanding of who we are - as individuals, and as a couple.  I shared with him that I am finally reading "Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus".. not just to get insight on our communication conundrums, but to also to better coach my clients.  Taking a sip from his mocha latte, he flashed a boyish grin and asked "If men are from Mars and women are from Venus... where are dogs from?"  Because of the twinkle in his eyes, I knew to play along... "Dogs are from Pluto!" and we both broke out into giggles.  With a "clink" of our coffee cups, we smiled at each other.. I looked into his kind eyes, saw his warm smile, and fell in love with him all over again.

We've come a long way since the first 4 hours we spent together... we have gone through some wonderful times, we've gone through some turbulent times.  We have had to reevaluate our individual needs, our collective needs, and deal with all the emotions that come with such evaluations.  Some conversations haven't been as light and jovial as the conversations we had early on in our relationship.  Some have hurt.  Some have stung.  Some conversations were unable to be had until trust was rebuilt.  Some conversations have been amazingly deep... about our beliefs, our values, and what is most important to us.  It never ceases to amaze me the new and incredible things I can learn about someone when I just open up my heart and listen.

I realized this weekend that we are no longer the people on their first date in that coffee shop.  Life gets busy.  We are now part of the crowd that is hustling and bustling amongst our hectic lives.  Four hour inquisitive and curious getting-to-know you conversations get far and few between.  If we aren't careful, time won't stand still for us anymore.

So, if time won't stand still for us, we need to make time stop for a while.  You have to stop the world and take the time to have amazing conversations - about us, about love, about life, about our dogs.... about Mars, Venus, Pluto and all the stars...  it clears away the storm clouds of doubt and insecurity, and the result is as peaceful as the night sky.  

Paradise is here, Paradise is Now... Paradise is falling in love in a coffee shop