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Monday, January 31, 2005

The Clothes We Wear.

I had this weird moment in a technical meeting the other day--I walked in carrying my laptop, the laptop's power supply, and my mini-mouse on one arm and some documents, my bottle of water, and a cup of coffee on the other arm.

At first glance, you will think that I carry too much and that may be true, but that's not the point. I had this bizarre sensation that I was wearing my "equipment of the age". In each age we wear and use instruments specific to our knowledge, experience, and profession. The publishing technologist, being a relatively new species, does not have a wide variety of formal tools or ceremonial garb, yet carting around all that very familiar stuff spoke of armor and weapons.

Perhaps I am merely Dungeons and Dragons minded (I admit it), but I felt as if I sat in that meeting wielding my intellectual weapons and using my "smart" armor. The meeting was very fun actually--my friend John and I had a great technical discussion on the same level and I (perhaps self-gratifyingly) enjoyed the glazed incomprehensive faces of the other folks in the room. I'd called the meeting because I did not understand a new process. John and I talked it over in high detail and then I was ok. I am not sure the others in the room totally understood what was going on. Sometimes that's nice.

Aside from the armor sensation, the weekend has been about protection. I've gotten so close to finishing school that I am feeling relaxation and other priorities creeping in. To placate the instantly worried matriarchs in the family, don't worry. I am going to finish school. However, after 3 years, I am ready for something fun, creative, technical, and different. To that end, Star Wars Galaxies--a massivley online game. I spent WAY too much time "having fun" for a change (apologies to Dawn) as a typical Michael extreme example of doing the opposite thing equally intently as I do the normal thing. But I sure like that game.

I just spilled coffee on my mousepad. Woohoo!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The new year has presented itself with making sure that I spend more time thinking (deciding, acting, etc) in a longer term capacity with the beautiful counterpoint of remaining in the present. This may be the key to remaining focused and calm on the task (feeling, belief, etc) at hand, but knowing its place as a building block for the future and as a roadmap for the past.

To that end, I will try and be less alarmed about nothing all the time.

Interestingly enough--and I should probably be struck by lightning or have a plane fall on me--I have been looking up graduate school information in the Publishing field. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to jump from school to school immediately. I forsee and deserve a fair amount of reconnect time with my wife & cats, opportunity to go in random directions with ideas and probable careers (like carpentry or blacksmithing) for a while and some hardcore XBox, Gamecube, or PC games. I've been far too dilligent for far too long. Try working 80 hours a week for a year while going to school and maintaining a 3.96 GPA and see how long you stay sane. I remember sanity. Once. Dawn should have left me by now. It's possible she has and left a fine-looking cyborg in her place.

Nevertheless, I love learning and going to school and I am doing some advanced planning in a Masters in Publishing. Sadly enough there are too few of these kinds of degrees in America. They tend to be graphic design related (which I am SO tired of) or art related or marketing related. I came across one in Great Britain that seems to be pretty cool. Like I said, just getting ideas. I WILL be taking a break.

So, that's about it for now. Kind of a slow day. OH! I've been doing a Sethian experiment recently. When going to bed, I give myself clear statements for dreams that I want to have. According to Seth, a richer understanding of the dream world and its symbols will enrich the waking world and its symbols. So far I have had every dream I asked for, and its interesting how when I say, "I want a relaxing dream" I get an old, old city with comfy lawns and thunder and light rain, then snow, then a beach with the pounding surf. Obviously my terminology and the way I feel about that terminology helps define what happens: I love older cities, snow, thunder and rain and the heat of the beach.

I will continue this research and exploration--it means I am getting rest, and that, at least, is a good thing. The dreams are vivid and clear, and directly follow my purpose when I ask for them. I think with practice, I could get really good at this and ask for experiences I can take into waking life--like how to learn programming better or to understand calculus. Or make out with a hot naked famous person. You know, the important things. World Peace.

Off to the first meeting of the day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

All the news that's fit to publish.

Note I say publish. Print is so antiquated these days. So very analog.

It's been a wacky wild week--so much has happened. Last Thursday and Friday I was out from work all day for a leadership training class. It was very cool: I finally got some management tools I can use. The class was held by an external vendor who came in and had us in a closed room for two solid days. We went over conflict management, giving feedback, and a number of other relationship management tools. It was great!

Next, we had a three-day weekend (we got MLK day off). The weekend itself was uneventful: I got caught up on school (it's the last week of this class). On Monday, however, I decided to do a "While you were out" episode at home. Dawn and I have been trying to clean out our pantry for about 6 months or so now and Monday I just decided to get it done. I went to the Container Store, found some elfa shelves (30% off until Feb 6) and brought them all home and installed them. When Dawn got home, she went in for cat snacks and was quite surprised to see new shelves where once were wood 2x4s. We still need to organize the food better, but the pantry is now much better looking and accessible.

Then, the weird thing happened. Maybe it was something I ate in a hurry that day (I also didn't each much and worked really hard during the day) but Monday evening I started feeling very sick. My energy dropped and my body decided to rid itself of everything food-like in it. My temperature started to rise (the highest was 100.5). I woke up every hour on the hour that night to take my temp and spend some thoughtful time in the restroom. TMI, sorry.

Tuesday I stayed home sick. And I slept. Like a rock. Usually when I am sick, I still putter around and watch tv. But, I slept from 9am until 11:30am. Dawn came home and then I slept from 12:30pm until 4pm. Finally, after that, I woke up for part of the evening. I've been eating a little more. Today I'm at work but very tired and groggy.

I've realized that recently I've been sick twice and I find that odd. I also notice that everytime I start working out intently something comes along to derail it. This morning I ate a yogurt (to get protein) and under the lid there was a code for entering a contest, so I went to the site it indicated. Not a winner, but I checked out the body mass index calculator to see where I was. Sadly, and I've seen this a lot lately too, I am just inside the low end of "obese" for my height and weight. This is disconcerting. Now, I don't think I LOOK obese (unless I am really deluding myself), but according to several of these charts I am. Yet, each time I start working out I get derailed.

Nevertheless, there is a silver lining to being sick yesterday. In the past, and for many years, I've always immediately run to the doctor to get antibiotics or whatnot. This time, I let my body do its thing--like I did for the Cedar Wars a few weeks ago. And, I've healed myself this way: using the natural defenses my body has. This is a good thing.

Now, couple that with my recent revelations and the phrase my brother so eloquently summed them up with: "People don't see further than 50 feet in front of their face", and I think I have an answer. If I trust myself, which is what I believe this lesson is all about, and stop expecting immediate results, this intense pattern of work-out, illness, rest, and so on is a reversal of the old energies that got me here in the first place. When you concentrate on the "illness" it's easy to think I'm going nowhere. However, when I think of the body as activating its natural powers--powers I have repressed through the use of medicines and so on--this is a great thing. My body is using its true natural energy to heal and strengthen so it can accommodate the energy needed for working out and health.

So, ultimately, I am becoming more active, and my body is recognizing it and activating what it needs. I am trusting it more: using vitamin c and stuff instead of antibiotics and drugs to find my natural health. I think I'll continue trusting it and not stress about where I am right now, but what I want to feel right now. There is a difference.

In any case, I am going to get moving on the work. Thanks to everyone for the scholastic feedback. A point of confirmation: when I graduated from SAC in 1995 with my AA degree, when I was walking the stage I got called "Michelle" Friedman instead of Michael. Although corrected, I vowed never to walk the stage again. In my leadership class on Thursday, the instructor called me Michelle again. Subtle reminder. I like the decision to not walk the stage. Maybe I'll go visit nes and trev. And buy a much needed XBox or something. :D

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Paladin Daniel.

I created a new blog today. It's written from the viewpoint of one of my past lifes. Daniel is a Paladin from the middle ages. He's a bit right-wingish in his extremity, but it should be some interesting reading.

Have fun. Mind your head.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Ah the question -- and a poll for folks reading the blog. To go to commencement or not? Here's a list of pros & cons. But first, a prequel.

I have, since March 2002, been going to the University of Phoenix Online. My classes have been 5 weeks on, the 1 week off. Solid. I am ready for the break. I've never set foot in a classroom, seen what any of my teachers or classmates look like, or fallen asleep at my desk (well, ok, that one time).

Commencement is in Phoenix, AZ July 29 & 30. (my last class is actually over April 13).

So, pros for going to commencement:
-- It's freaking commencement!
-- Recognition for working my ass off, going to school, and maintaining a 3.98 for 3 years should be something to make a big deal about.
-- Arizona is pretty
-- The drive is nice
-- I won't be working

-- $$ for getting myself and interested family members/friends there
-- It's like 400 degrees in late July in AZ.
-- I've done this all online, how special is a building in a distant state and a zillion people I don't know?
-- Not graduating at the same time as any of the few classmates who have travelled with me
-- I'd rather visit my pals in NM if I am going that way
-- I really just want the piece of paper and potential green pieces of paper that hopefully accompany
-- Commencement is unimportant -- learning is the bomb!

So... feedback please. I am stuck in choice-mode.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Catherine Black.

So, I'm in a transitional mood today. Everything's a little dark, a little moody. I get this way before big energy shifts: school starts again tomorrow, I'm battling work again. Stuff like that. A scene from West Wing tonight reminded me of my grandfather's illness when he was alive.

Usually, when I get in this mood, I get imagery and energy from a dead "past" life. I use the term "past" in the non-conventional sense because, although this past life occured in a different time framework, that life is a part of my "now", so I can tune into it at any point in this past life's timeline. Typically, this life presents itself toward the moments of death. The person is Catherine Black.

She is/was a woman living alone in a cottage in the woods in England somewhere. It's near the middle ages or later centuries. Her house is painted grey with many vines on it. She has a big black kettle out front that she cooks in.

She was killed by wolves: actually torn apart. But, she was ok with it because she understood the great cycle of life and natural grace where her flesh was used by the wolves as a part of their living lives.

Catherine laughs at me, slightly mockingly when I feel "down" - she was a caring woman, but hard in the way lonliness and separation from others will cause. She sends me images of her final moments: the smell of the leaves burning under the great kettle, the creaking sounds of the forest as the trees swayed, the light snow all around. The cold was very deep and from a long path in the distance a pack of wolves runs into view, spies her, and races toward her. She never shows me her actual death, but I see her stand still, resigned and accepting until the wolves reach her and pull her down. The leaves burn on still in the very dry air.

She reminds me that death and change is a cycle--and that is her message, not of my death but of the way I deal with change. I resist, resist and she laughs because I do. "We are eternal" she reminds... yet I am too focused to notice, often.

There's another little twist in this reality. There is a song by an artist I admire: Kirsty Hawkshaw, called "Orange". This song perfectly captures the essence of the death of Catherine Black and her interchange with me. There's a phrase, "We are moments in the flow, here to witness the seeds we sow, then to fade into the beautiful unknown, never to forget, never completely alone." Then, the refrain: "Move on into everlasting joy, like the times we felt, dancing in the sun, it never makes sense to say goodbye, so I'll just close my eyes."

Orange is a moving song. Kirsty's beautiful yet haunting voice adds the right dimension. And Catherine is moving me into resisting change less. But for tonight, I'll feel the way I want and tomorrow will be a new day.

P.S. Worked out 4 alternating days in a row. :)

Monday, January 03, 2005

Analysis and Poetry.

The two are more similar than you might think.

I was musing today about project management and how the events in a very large project get lost within the giant scope of events that happens to fulfill that project. My group was called today to fix an "issue" that has been a problem for a while. It actually wasn't an issue—it was a change in the scope of the documented process. The people requesting the fix for the issue had actually created their content incorrectly and then forgotten that it wouldn't fit. We get very much into the details of things and forget that each detail should have a place in a larger process.

This is also the way of the details in our lives. Should I eat this thing, should I not eat this thing? It's a detail in the scope of consuming food over time. However, this certainly brings home the concept of 'the present is the point of power'… choices you make now in the details affect the outcome of the process over time. However, in this case, life is not a project that is scoped out up front. It's made up as we go, from this moment we are in, with the power and belief and direction we put into it in each moment.

So, I am re-learning my beliefs about food. I've been exercising the last few days: 30 minutes on Thursday (after bowling 3 rediculously bad games with my minions at work), 30 minutes on Saturday, 25 minutes today. Those events, coupled with a lessening of caloric intake and a leaning toward less carbs is going to ripple out from the now into the future. The present is the point of power. I am starting to see the probable future effect of my current detailed actions.

I've realized that my body creates fat in response to sugar consumption. I consider fat potential (yet inert) energy. Coming from a standpoint of beliefs, I am conserving a lot of energy for some undisclosed point in time where I can expend it in the optimal fashion. However, this negates current activity, and is an extreme belief system: either on, or off.

I can change that by using the energy now, in smaller amounts. I think a Zen master wrote this all down somewhere and I'm sure there's an Asian term for this energy and it's release. Ignorance is not bliss. I want this change, in any case.

So, I think for now, I've reached the action point. You can think about beliefs and desires and your intent to change them, but action is the key. I think internally, I am beginning to realize a decrease in sugar is what my body likes and needs (as directed by my beliefs). Also, an increase in exercise. We'll see where this goes, but I think I'm ready to get off the weight loss subject for now. I'm going to keep doing it and will check in, but I've worn out my welcome on it and want to get on to other musings.

To help segue, a poem of mine I found in a dusty old writing notebook (all of them contain about 3 entries, sadly).

Natural Grace - 12/17/01, 12:04pm

There's a great thrust of energy
in the world now.
That we can resist it is a testament
to our strength.
Imagine, our power to stop the
movement of the world. Our struggles and
frustrations. Our full strength
against the tide.
Our pain and sorrow as we fight.

Or, we can be swept away,
and realize we still move with
the energy of our world,
without struggle.