change is the most fascinating of all phenomena

did a late summer cleaning.

always start with the surface. sweeping all the dust out from under my bed reminds me how dirty the air is living so close to the BQE. although, all 7 apartments where i’ve lived in NYC have gotten really dirty really quickly. the air here is dirty.

i came across an “autobiography” that i wrote in my Life Stories class senior year at Elon. my immediate reaction was, not much has changed. how could that be? so much has changed. my voice has definitely changed drastically for starters. my friends have changed, my circle has changed. in some ways nothing has changed at all. how can that be?

the most gradual change rests in the deepest depths. the karmic lessons. maybe that’s why the only lasting change must come from within. in some ways i feel like i’m still inside of the cocoon. no matter how deep i go, there’s always another layer to peel. i feel love, joy, and gratitude for the friends who have been/are present on the journey.

from a writing prompt, what i want:

what i want…i want to be happy.

i want a job i love.

i want enthusiasm and energy.

i want to never lose my mind.

i want a perfect boy.

i want to give,

to contribute,

somehow make a difference.

i want my dreams to never end.

i want to be tan

and i want to be healthy.

i want to conquer.

i want to read more books.

i want my parents to be happy.

i want to think about others.

i want to live in Spain.

i want to travel.

i want to go to South America.

i want the earth to be clean.

the craziness to end,

the suburbs to explode.

i want to make art,

and i want to make money.

i want to learn how to blow glass.

i want to use public transportation.

i want the days to be warm and sunny.

i want to see frogs fall from the sky.

i want to eat good food.

i want to not lose touch with my friends.

reality.

maybe someday kids,

a dog,

and a cat.

i want to play.

i want to feel,

want to be,

want to want.

i want to be successful,

good things for other people.

i want to see the leaves change in the fall.

i want to swim in the Mediterranean.

i want a Picasso original.

i want to meet someone i love.

i want to run through a field

of wildflowers

and tumble down

a grassy knoll.

i want others to have good thoughts of me.

i want to look at the stars

through a telescope.

may 2001.

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don’t worry about it

yesterday morning i was almost to the stairs to go underground when i realized i forgot my wallet. i quickly turned around and jogged all the way down the block back to 41st avenue. i got about halfway back to my apartment where the man sits in the morning on the brick planter in front of his building.

“good morning,” he says every morning when i pass. “have a nice day.”

i always smile and return the sentiment.

i had already passed him on this day i forgot my wallet, and here i was passing him again.

“you forgot something?”

“i forgot my MTA card.”

“oh here, let me give you some cash.”

“oh, no, i can’t.”

“don’t worry about it,” he said pulling out a wad of cash from his pocket.

he handed me a $20. omg.

i thanked him after he wouldn’t let me refuse, told him i’d get him back tomorrow morning, and was quickly on my way back to the subway station.

this morning i left a little earlier and stopped at the ATM to pull out $20 to pay him back. as i approached his building i noticed he wasn’t sitting in his usual spot. i put the 2 10s the ATM dispensed back in my wallet and figured i’ll see him tomorrow, hoping he won’t think i took off with his $20.

halfway down the block almost to the subway stop, i’m somewhere in my head.

“hello, how are you today?” are the words that interrupt wherever i was.

i look up, there he is walking with a newspaper and a brown bag presumably with his breakfast inside of it.

“oh!” i pull out my wallet and start to unzip the compartment holding the cash.

“don’t worry about it, just go to work!” he tells me.

tomorrow morning i’ll try again.

time and space

time space movement is no joke. i know because i’ve experienced it firsthand. here are 3 examples of people moving in a suboptimal direction.

here’s some background info first:

there are 5 elements. tree, fire, soil, metal, and water. tree (3,4) supports fire (9). fire supports soil (2,5,8). soil supports metal (6,7). metal supports water (1). water supports tree. on the antagonistic side: tree (3,4) destroys soil. soil (2,5,8) destroys water. water (1)  destroys fire. fire (9) destroys metal. metal (6,7) destroys tree.

the map is backwards and upside down.

so it goes like this:

SE     S     SW

E                W

NE    N    NW

don’t try it at home, there’s more to it than this. but here we go:

andrew sullivan.

1-water sign b. 8.10.1963

in 2012, he moved NE from DC to NY. this is what the numbers look like this year.

5     1     3

4     6     8

9     2     7

since he’s a 1-water, moving NE was not the most ideal choice. not ideal because he moved to where the 9, his polar opposite, is positioned. not supportive at all. it could have been worse, but a more supportive direction would have been moving E or SW.

mike d’antoni.

4-tree sign. b. 5/8/1951

he presumably moved to NY from phoenix in 2008. the numbers looked like this then:

9     5     7

8     1     3

4     6     2

he did what i did when i moved to NY, moved towards his own number. it wasn’t pretty for me, and apparently not for him, either.

here’s what i did:

i’m a 3-tree sign.

in 2009 the numbers looked like this:

8    4    6

7    9    2

3    5    1

i moved NE from dallas to NY. i would have been much better off moving NW to seattle (incidentally, seattle was my first choice and exactly where i was wanting to go…although i do not regret moving to NY. i love it here.) the person (a 2-earth) i moved with  NE would have been much better off moving SW or  SE. while he didn’t move towards or away from his number, he moved in a direction of a number that is not supportive.

in 2010, the numbers looked like this:

7    3    5

6    8    1

2    4    9

i moved south to brooklyn. towards my number. consequences were not quite as dramatic because the distance i moved was shorter. the same year, 3 months later, i moved north back to manhattan. again, a short distance, but away from my number. i basically bounced back and forth towards and away from my number like i was experimenting with time space movement. i don’t recommend it. three months later i moved a short distance NE to the UES. what at first seemed like a wonderful move, was actually not. and not just because the apartment had an electric stove instead of gas. it was one of the directions best avoided. no wonder i sprained my ankle and ended up sleeping on a couch for 5 months.

in 2011, the numbers looked like this:

6    2    4

5    7    9

1    3    8

i clearly hadn’t learned my lesson. i moved south, away from my number. and then further south again 2 months later.

i finally course corrected by going back to dallas for just over a month (SW towards the supportive 1) and then back to NY (NE towards the supportive 4) for a fresh start. everything has been pretty mellow since.

unicorns and rainbows

not every day can be all unicorns and rainbows.  this morning on the walk to the train, i stepped on a doo log left by  a large neighborhood dog.  i have blisters on both of my heels from the boots i wore yesterday.  my right ankle is sore, probably from the rigorous weekend hike.  oh, and tamari from my lunch container spilled in my bag.  to top it all off, i was offered a free bible, twice, before entering the gates at the bastion of liberalism where i work.  a mutiny was underway when i arrived in the office.  then, i somehow messed up my sudoku puzzle with half of it left to go…and it’s an easy one.  it’s not even 10 o’clock yet!  i hope this not an indication of more trouble to come.  all i can do is laugh about it, none of these bumps will completely ruin this beautiful fall day.

it could be much, much worse.

i could have fallen in the dog poo or gotten it on my jeans and then be smelling it all day.  the blisters will heal, and i don’t have to walk around or stand all day.  my ankle is less sore now than it was before.  i can start the puzzle over or move on to the crossword.  only a little tamari leaked out, the bag can be washed, nothing was ruined. there are worse things than being offered a free bible, i suppose.

full circle

last week when we were at the wtc memorial, my father mentioned that someone from the church where we belonged in new jersey was a survivor.  he couldn’t remember his name.  he said my mother would know.  since we left new jersey when i was 5, i didn’t think much about it.  i was certain i didn’t know him.  over the past week i’ve spent some time watching videos on youtube with survivors telling their stories.  i’d pretty much avoided most of it over the last 10 years, but since visiting the memorial it seemed to be calling me.

i’ve found the stories of survival and healing to be inspiring and rich.  it also helps me to understand human emotions and behavior.  it reminds me that all people deserve compassion all the time.  you never know what someone has experienced.  the videos i watched presented stories of compassion and love, resilience, will, struggle, triumph, loss, anguish, pain, confusion, horror, fear, bravery, anger, relief…this one moment in time had it all.

last night i came across this one, told by brian clark.  i clicked on it because he was speaking in mesquite, texas, a suburb not far from where i grew up.  i thought, mesquite?  really?  anyway, he rescued stanley praimnath and they became fast friends, brothers.  he tells a profoundly beautiful story of his experience and what he learned from it.  i started sharing part of his story with my mom today and she said, “brian clark?  he went to the reformed church in wyckoff.  he was in our young couples group…”  i found it amusing that it all came full circle.

three years in new york

i realized the other day that if i had moved northwest to seattle (my first choice) in 2009 instead of NY, it would have been a supportive direction.  i don’t know what my life would be like, but i wouldn’t trade what i’ve got, where i am, or the amazing transformation i experienced for anything.   i’m happy to be in NY.  if i hadn’t moved here, i would have missed out on great lectures, trips to the connecticut woods, the retreat upstate, to name a few.  it’s been an amazing ride.  i would have missed out on all the magic that happened.  it was meant to be, for sure.

i’ve been here nearly 3 years now.  i have a great apartment (just need my cat living with me again).  it is such a warm and comfortable feeling to not be moving.  i’ve connected with amazing new friends.  i’ve learned more than i ever could have imagined about myself and life.  my work situation isn’t steady, but it never has been.  who knows what the future holds.  i’m optimistic.  for me, it seems like having a place to be still is a great start.

i’ll do my best to not ever move in a non-supportive direction again, that’s for sure.  if i have no choice and it’s a far distance, i’ll be mindful.

luck

i saw a little 10-year old girl get hit by a car yesterday on my street.  i saw the whole thing happen.  she was running across the street.  the car honked, slammed on the breaks, and suddenly she was up on top of the hood and then disappeared onto the street.  i was sitting on our third floor terrace talking to my roommate.  i jumped up thinking i needed to call 911, and up popped the little girl.  she continued running across the street as if nothing had happened.  the man driving the car got out to see if she was okay.  his heart must have stopped and sunk into his stomach.  it was every bit of horrifying.  she was playing with a bunch of other kids.  her mother came out to check on her and talk to the man who was probably still in shock.  i was.  a little while later the little girl was showing off what were probably scratches on her back from the asphalt.  man, she was lucky and so was he.  i’m glad it turned out the way it did.  if it had turned out differently, i’d be sitting in a therapist’s office right now.

it reminds me of the time i fell down a half flight of stairs backwards in the dark with a cup of hot tea in my hand.  i landed on my sitting bone which was bruised for a short time after, constantly reminding me how lucky i was.  my friends were convinced i had a guardian angel.  maybe.  there was something miraculous about it.  just a week or two before, my mom fell down a flight of stairs in her house with my 1-year old nephew in her arms.  she broke her back and split her head open.  she’s totally fine, made a full recovery in half the time they predicted.  my nephew didn’t have a scratch or a bruise.

whatever the reasons for evading tragedy, i am thankful.