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  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #123: The Turducken of Burritos


    Dahl's Market, home of the chile relleno burrito, the Turducken of Tex-Mex.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    Have I mentioned I've taken up Zumba? (And Zumba Gold, which I think is for Old Ladies Who Are Still Killin' It, and for people who take a long time to learn a new dance move. Like me.) I'm doing it at the Y, because that is the only gym within a five-minute radius of my house, which will be good in the winter.

    Anyway, I haven't joined the Y yet, as I've only been three times. I've been paying the per-class price. Last time I went, they looked at the cash I held out, and said Yeah... just pay next time... if you want... as though paying might be optional the next time I turn up, too. Thank you for the free Zumba, Cambridge Y!

    A coincidence: I was just out in California, driving from LA to San Luis Obispo for a retreat with Meadow DeVor. I left the freeway to have lunch in Ojai, just because I've always wanted to see it. Ojai is home to the splinter group of Tibetan buddhists that left Shambhala, the Boulder-based lineage I used to belong to, when there was a succession struggle. (It's complicated - if you're interested in this not-very-savory little chapter of American buddhism, here you go.)

    Anyway, to get to Ojai, you drive through Casitas Springs, which is tiny, and which I had never heard of, but is notable because they have a big sign commemorating Johnny Cash, who famously lived there. I waved to Johnny. Ring of Fire! Oh, Johnny - I geddit.

    I think I missed Ojai, though, because I started getting nervous about the time, so I stopped to get lunch at maybe the place voted Least Likely to Come Through Judging by Appearances. This, by the way, is what I do when I get freaked out about Taking Too Much Time. I go straight for the worst possible choice. (Whyyyyyy?) That is how I wound up at Dahl's Market in Oak View, just beyond Casitas Springs.

    Dahl's is heavy on the pre-mixed cocktail supplies, light on fresh things. I put together a basket of crackers, cheese and a sad banana and felt … sad. Then I noticed, in front of the butcher's counter, a cold bar with two kinds of salsa and pickles on it. What was that doing in a grocery store… unless…

    Yes! A secret taqueria. Thank God.

    Now anything on this taqueria's menu would've been more exciting than what's offered at a New Blighty taco stand, but I picked the chile relleno burrito, because extra strange. If you are not familiar with this dish, it's basically a large mild green chile, like a poblano, stuffed with mild cheese, and then fried, usually with a carbohydrate coating of some kind. Relleno means "full" or "stuffed," so if you then stuff it inside a burrito, it becomes a doubly stuffed foodstuff. Basically, it's like the Turducken of burritos.

    So this is a pretty baroque burrito already, and I thought that would be it, but when I cut it in half, I found that the guy had added a fried egg to it, too. Off the menu. Until recently, this would have been just about the most horrifying surprise I could find in my meal, except for a poached egg. (It is not a bloggerly conceit to say that I have poached-egg PTSD; it is fact.) But! Another fact is that trendy eaters who like trendy restaurants are going to encounter crazy eggs in all sorts of dishes. I was strangely okay with this egg in my chile relleno burrito lunch. I barely recognized myself. (This is like 2-for-1 Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, come to think of it.)

    Then I got back on the road to San Luis Obispo, did my retreat, and came home to a care package from the lovely Kay. In it was (under the chocolate) a copy of Rosanne Cash's memoir, Composed. It fell right open to the chapter that begins "When I was six years old, we moved to Casitas Springs..." I knew right away I was holding a Friendly Book. (Thank you, Kay!)

    Imagining

    Safety, health, happiness and love for all, but in particular for my children.

    Updates on past experiments

    There was an unwitting stop on the Hot Springs World Tour. While in California, I stayed at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Avila Beach. I don't know why I hadn't realized it was a proper hot springs, but it certainly is. The hotel was built in the late nineteenth century, and my room ("Casual," the room next door was "Bodacious") was among the oldest at the resort. It was ... not fancy. But! It had its own hot tub on the private porch, and the volume of hot stinky sulphurous water! Heaven.

    Not everyone would get excited about Sycamore Springs, but when you grow up in a dry climate, with your Marine Corps dad timing your showers, all-you-can-stand hot water is high on the list of true thrills.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? Nothing this week. We have a trip to Chicago planned, though. Alinea is our aim. Please cross your fingers for us.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Join the experiment?

    You can report on your own Wayfinding experiments, if you like. Or tell me about your love for Rosanne Cash. Or just say Hi.

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    Old Ladies picking up speed

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #93: Fridays off from here on out

    Wayfinding Week 45: World hot springs tour begins here

  • Fear of Missing Out

    Hello, friends! I'm just back from a lovely, calm retreat in San Luis Obispo, where if I told you how little we did from an action standpoint, you would not believe I flew across the country to do it. I return to New Blighty with a strong urge to keep doing less. What could possibly get in the way? 

    FOMO leads either to doing too much or paralysis, and that leads to not being present, and that is, by definition, Missing Out.

    Well, we could talk about fear of missing out, or FOMO, because 1. that's what gets in the way and 2. soooo many of my clients have it. It's right up there with Fear of Becoming a Bag Lady (FBBL, let's pronounce that "Fibble," because why does this not have an acronym already? It's a universal fear, even amongst the wealthy, as just about any coach will tell you. Including tennis coaches.).

    But FOMO is much easier dispatched than FBBL (although you can totally overcome the fear of becoming a bag lady and enjoy life about 1,000,000x as much; let me know if that's something you want). Let's do it right now.

    Here's what I've noticed (another near universal). FOMO produces one (or both) of two responses: 

    1. You say Yes to everything, because you don't want to miss anything
    or 
    2. You can't decide between things, because you don't want to miss anything

    In the first case, we sign up for more than we (or anyone) can humanly manage. We oversubscribe, and wind up missing things we've paid for because we're exhausted and can't manage. Or if we drag ourself to yet one more thing tonight, we're too exhausted to be present. Or we're thinking about that other thing we're missing, or that online course we didn't complete, or whatever we just remembered we totally forgot about because we said Yes to so much other stuff. (So we add guilt on top. Yum.)

    In the second case, you don't overcommit, because you dither instead of committing, and events (jobs, boyfriends, other fine offers) pass you by while you're still trying to decide between them. 

    Either way, we're not present. Which is just another way of saying we miss out.

    Thus, put simply, FOMO leads either to doing too much or paralysis, and that leads to not being present, and that is, by definition, Missing Out.

    Here is what I am seeing in my life since before SLO (oh, hey: clue!) but even more during and since: I can go broad, or I can go deep. I'm gonna plant a flag and say it's impossible to do both. 

    Broad or deep: pick one.

    I'll miss out on many things if I choose deep. I'll miss out on other things if I choose broad. 

    But either way, I'll be missing out less than if I try to do both. I'm going to get more by saying No more often.

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.

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    Of course I want to be happy! But first I need to lose some weight.

  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #122: Yet More Evidence for the Power of the Pedicure

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    I made a couple small wishes recently, which both came to me. I wanted the issue of People with George and Amal on the cover, and I didn't want to pay for it, and I wanted a source of Noosa yogurt. Noosa is this very delicious, pudding-y yogurt from Boulder. You can get it anywhere in the West, but nowhere in New Blighty. Except - when I wasn't looking for it - I found one place, in Newbury Street, the fancy shopping district of Boston, at a little very unfancy but still totally overpriced market. They only carry the lemon flavor. I'll take a month's supply. Thank you, DeLuca's Market!

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    Then I was at the dentist, where I spend many hours every week, and that seemed like a great place to find a relatively current issue of People magazine. I searched both racks carefully, but no. I sat down and was about to pick up something much more high-minded, I'm sure, when I saw a magazine facedown on the table next to me. I flipped it over and sure enough, George and Amal. (Dear heaven! Isn't she gorgeous?)

    So that is all not to say Holy shit, can you believe I manifested a copy of People magazine?! Or Hey, we can magically create whatever we want in our lives, no matter how improbable (because only one of those two things was improbable, obvs). And it's not to say that going through life, snapping our fingers (where finger-snapping is exercising whatever mechanisms we've found to work) to conjure little things we want, is the most satisfying way to live. 

    It's more by way of saying that if you're the kind of person whose oldest identified painful thought is "I NEVER GET WHAT I WANT" (and I know that I'm not unique in this), it's a very worthwhile practice to 1. gather evidence to the contrary - sometimes we do get what we want and 2. reverse the engine of suffering, and inch the train toward pleasure, when possible.

    Of course I am aware of all the respected spiritual, religious and intellectual thinkers who will tell you that a life based on the pursuit of pleasure is a hollow life. To them I say, today: HAVE A NICE SOLID LIFE THEN.

    Finally, this is improbable. As always, I am seeking connection. Last week I got my nails done before going to California, at the Newbury Street pedi-mill where I always go. I sat down with my current pink (Suzi's Got a Swede Tooth; how does a person get a job writing puns for nail polish, anyway?), looked up, and there she was, friend Marisa, even as I imagined her to be on the other side of the country. She was in town for a wedding, and had scheduled her afternoon down to 15-minute increments, and there wasn't room for tea or cocktails or anything - no opportunity for pre-planned socializing, but we were seated next to each other in this giant place, because that is where our manicurists had put us. Appreciation for friendship, spontaneous connection, and a good gab - yet more evidence of the power of the pedicure.

    Imagining

    I think I have mentioned my tooth, yes? During the Frognado, I lost 1.67 teeth. Two root canals. Two crowns. And an implant. The implant started out great guns. The surgeon thought my healing powers outstanding. I was hopeful. For ten long months while wearing a flipper, which is a plastic tooth that stays in your mouth by means of pink grips fitted anatomically pretty well to your gums, if you're lucky and have a great dentist, as I do, otherwise they can be a total blinking torment, but in any case are unlikely to be a first-rate flesh-color match, and so is pretty noticeable. Most people, excluding family members, were kind enough not to mention it. And it sure beats a giant whole in the mouth, especially for people with a big smile. Like me.

    Anyway, you're hanging in there with this awful flipper thing for ten months, feeling so happy when the dentist asks you if you want to keep it as she's doing the final crown fitting. No thank you! you say. You can throw that thing right out. Because do you want to even leave a symbolic door open? No.

    And then your implant gets infected and where are your exceptional healing powers now, eh? So my big wish: I really want this insanely expensive, very protracted endeavor to work out. The latest from my dentist is: Be even more patient! Give it a little more time. It's succeeding more than it's failing. 

    Oh, and we saved your flipper. Just in case.

    I guess that is something to build on. Succeeding more than failing. And if you want to send some tooth love, I will gratefully accept it.

    Updates on past experiments

    Back in the day when I had a regular menstrual cycle, before the advent of the miracle birth control known as Mirena, which suppresses all symptoms, and which I know some women don't like the sound of but to which I say Make mine a double!, I had about two days every month when I was on FIRE. I would be so revved up about life, and so full of juice specifically for organizing things, and I would get so much done.

    And the rest of the month, I would either be on the floor, exhausted by menstruation and all that that implies, or be kinda thinking How come I'm not firing at 100%? Because I failed to recognize that those two days a month did not represent 100%, they represented 867%. But "I" or some part of me, let's call her Letitia, declared those two days my "normal" state.

    It took me a long time to see that 1. Letitia really isn't helpful, at any time of the month. 2. That "on fire" state doesn't represent normalcy. 3. That even in my normal, not burning-up state, I actually got a metric boatload of stuff done, every day, as does every full-time-employed single mother on the planet. 4. "Productivity," hexsignhexsignhexsign, is a good servant but a terrible master.

    And now here I am, post-Mirena, noticing that though I no longer have a monthly cycle of days on fire, I do have an annual moment when I feel especially lit up by the idea of projects, and organizing, and Getting Things Done.

    That moment, of course, is September.

    It's a feeling shared by many Westerners, at least the kind who liked school, or at least the kind who liked school for at least the first couple weeks, before the novelty wore off and the pencils got dull. And we got to October, where we are today.

    And what I know about October is this: for me, October is a terrible time for planning, organizing, or Getting Things Done. October is an excellent time to be on the floor, maybe just reaching up for the low-hanging fruit. Looking forward to winter, and hibernation, and letting ideas and plans and whatnot gestate.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? Nothing fancy. We've been eating homey comfort food at home. Very Octoberish.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Betony (New York)
    8. Bondir Concord
    9. Brine
    10. Commonwealth
    11. Coppa (for brunch)
    12. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    13. Giulia
    14. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    15. L'Espalier
    16. Myers & Chang
    17. No. 9 Park
    18. O-Ya
    19. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    20. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    21. Rialto
    22. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    23. Scampo
    24. Shojo
    25. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Join the experiment?

    You can report on your own Wayfinding experiments, if you like. Or discuss the lack of Noosa where you live. Or just say Hi.

    You might also enjoy

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #117: Pompeii Purple

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #104: My ship came in, and it had earrings in the hold

    The Self-Care Menu 

  • Faking it for fun

    So the other day I spoke on a panel titled "Life Cycle of a Job Transition" for Wellesley College (my alma mater). Someone mentioned in passing the tactic known as "fake it 'til you make it."

    Have you ever employed this little dance move? It always sounds so stressful to me. Like, do you get to just drop the fakery once you've "made it" (achieved your goal)? Wouldn't that be kinda… obvious? And then… aren't you kinda gonna get fired?

    Fake it til you make it. Unless you're having too much fun faking it to stop.

    Obviously, authenticity needs no advertising. Being genuine is just relaxing and feels better than maintaining appearances under stress, unless (important caveat) being real is inadvisable, and oh, golly, there's a lot to say about that. Still, do find value in faking it for fun.

    For example! I get a huge kick out of pretending to be married to someone who's made a mad fortune on the internet. A Silicon Valley mogul. I expect this is a common fantasy amongst the self-employed. 

    (I'm not poor, but you know, we live modestly. In New England, the place that practically invented modesty. Which apparently some part of me does not get very excited about.)

    And when I feel like putting on this identity, I like to go whole hog. This wife, she's got a name and everything. A whole backstory. If that freaks you out, don't read these details:

    Her name is Myfanwy Jones. She's married to mild-mannered internet multimillionaire Joe Jones, so she doesn't have to work. She can totally have sparkling wine at lunch, and sometimes she does. She's a successful serial mum. She appears to be a spoilt spendthrift. However, that is just her cover ID, because underneath, she is a slightly fanatical Welsh patriot with an unpredictable streak.

    Only that's fake, too! Myfanwy's political shtick is just there to throw the world off the scent of her much sexier kinks. To say nothing of her woeful lack of interest in actual politics.

    (NOT that we need defend our lack of interest in anything, or need to throw the world off the scent of our fabulous sexiness, or cover up the fact of our middle age - Myfanwy's clearly not fussed about that - if we don't want to. It's just fun to add an imaginary layer, the way it's fun to wear your most alluring skivvies on some random sunny Thursday, for no reason.)

    Anyway, if there is a day on which I get up and things just seem a bit … drab or maybe totally awful, I ask myself, well, What Would Myfanwy Do with this day?

    I guess you could say this is sort of like asking What Would Joan Jett Do? while adding What would Joan wear? Where would she have lunch? What might she want to read today? What's her schedule like, how is she going to totally subvert it? AndWho's she meeting after work? but subtracting Joan, and putting in your owncreation.

    These are all questions with the potential for playful, inventive, possibly even disruptive (in a good way) answers. No need to wait for rebirth in a better world. Embody it now. Try on a cover ID, for a day, very low stakes, and see if you don't acquire some new permissions, licences, skillz and possibly even superpowers. It's playful, and it's legit.

    And you know what makes this really fun? Doing it with a friend. You can text her the details of your cover along with a picture of your outfit and maybe your op or mission that day. (My friend Havi Brooks, who pretty much invented the cover ID, is genius with ops and missions; you might like to read more here.)

    This is also what my dress-up class, Into the Closet, is about. I recommend it!

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.

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  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #121: Come with me if you want to live


    This was parked outside my door yesterday. I wish for a ride in it. Take me to the apothecary, James!

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    After a year of paying $1600 a month for COBRA coverage (thanks, ... Reagan? who knows), I now have new insurance accepted by no known pharmacy anywhere. Except one, which styles itself an "apothecary," so obviously: clue. Even so, this insurance company has trained me to expect prolonged experiences of no-can-do.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    So I was floored when the apothecary people were 1. nice 2. happy to take my crappy insurance and 3. conjured a hard-to-fill, usually-needs-24-hours'-notice order by pulling some strings (they don't even know me!). Not magic like a winning ticket, but magic in the form of unexpected kindness and ease when I really, really needed it

    Plus, this apothecary is itself a spontaneous upgrade in the form of what I am guessing is the world's only mortar-and-pestle museum. You know how liquor stores always have fake giant tequila bottles? This place has I cannot even tell you how many fake giant mortar-and-pestle sets. Zillions. Advertising props? Inherited from previous apothacary generations? Employee with ungovernable little eBay habit? I will ask next time.

    Imagining

    So many wishes. Actually, just a few, but they are big. Too big to write down (yet). They are all approaching life-and-death wishes. 

    I will just mention one, which is not life or death, but eyelashes. I am still on my quest for stripper lashes. Turns out that extensions just aren't worth it. My lashes are too short and fine to support them. Extensions can barely get me up to visible, and they're expensive, and they poke, and they fall out in clumps and they look stupid when that happens. So I am on to Latisse, which is a glaucoma drug that makes your lashes grow, and takes months to show a result. And it's also expensive. So I am imagining 1. it works well! 2. it works fast! 3. it makes my life a glittering pageant of wonder and delight!

    Updates on past experiments

    As so many people in the weight coaching field (vortex) are fond of saying, Self-care! It ain't about the pedicures. 

    In contrast, I always like to remind myself and suggest to clients that it's not NOT about the pedicures. And: If you're not getting pedicures, there are worse places to start.

    I was raised by Episcopalians, not Mennonites, so you might think that pedicures were my birthright. Not so. The idea of paying other people to maintain my body has a persistent flavor of really shocking indulgence. Like, the price is just so high, and I do not mean tax and tip. I mean going to Hell for having paid another person to give you sparkly red toenails. As if that's how the Devil will know to scoop you up. 

    Where does that come from? Were we Plymouth Brethren a few generations ago? I really do not think so, and yet it's peculiar, this thorough distrust of ornamentation and colorful toenails.

    Anyway, it's been a week of manicures, pedicures and haircuts. For the first time ever, I got dark, opaque pink fingernails instead of a nice prissy Episcopalian beige. I LOVE THEM. I had to pretend to be someone else in order to pick that color, but pretending to be someone else is just an excellent technique to play with, as anyone who has ever sincerely asked What would Joan Jett do? will tell you.

    My commitment to ferocious self-care this week has also resulted in lots of lying on the floor. I often wind up on the floor when things get hard, but something I've learnt from Havi is that if you add music and deliberateness to lying on the floor, you can rise up again excited instead of bleary. And glimpse your fabulous sparkly red toenails, and glory in them, and get up to dance, and when the Devil offers his hand to you and says Come with me if you want to live, you realize omigod, it's all a buncha lies and misconceptions and nearly everything I've ever been taught is wrong.

    Yeah, so, I am betting that you were not raised this way, but for me: Pedicures, holy shit! They are a miracle.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? Really nothing on the date front. We are, as one of my favorite writers, Kay Gardiner, once put it "sitting on a pile of unprocessed ... life experience three stories high," which for us is a death in the family, and thus have not been doing much recreational dining. We did inadvertently discover the world's best French fries at the Full Moon in Huron Village, and if I can dissociate that place from painful memories, I'll be back, but it may take a while.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Join the experiment?

    You can report on your own Wayfinding experiments, if you like. Or discuss eyelashes. Or just say Hi.

    You might also enjoy

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    It does not take an army to hold me back. It only takes sugar and Chardonnay.

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #118: Navy Strength 

Body Mind Book Club with Max & Cookie

shaman sessions

MBI Books & Resources

Into the Closet class