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  • Wayfinder's #134: Getting Warmer, Which I Like

    All that self help has led me here

    Have you ever seen L.A. Story, with Steve Martin and Victoria Tennant and Patrick Stewart and Sarah Jessica Parker and my favorite Grant brother, Richard E. Grant? If you have not, I recommend it. It is about magic and love, and it's very sweet. In it, Steve Martin's character asks his best friend what it's like to have breasts. He says he thinks if he had breasts he'd never get anything done. He would just stay home and play with them all day.

    All that self help has led me here.

    This is how I feel about my eyelashes. And my clothes.

    I am telling you what, I have spent the past 30+ years sitting on a cushion, taking serious buddhist vows, prostrating myself (FOR REAL, tho not for long), going to every seminar under the sun except maybe EST and The Forum and whatever it's known as now, and reading pretty much all the books, and talking about some form of self help at every opportunity and journaling and techniquing and doing a lot of work and studying with the best, and it has all led me here. To a place where really, I could give a shit about that and all I want to do is go to Paris and eat everything and buy everything ("Two of everything!" says my friend Ali) and share a bottle of wine with friends and come home and take a nap and get ready to go someplace else. 

    (By the way, two things about Paris in January:

    1. Parisians do not do "sales" like the way we do them in the States. They are serious about their sales, which only happen in January and June. I got some gorgeous lingerie at a serious discount. Which I am wearing, because No More Saving The Best For Later. I hope I can do this again next year.

    2. Even the restaurants in all the guidebooks are unlikely to be crowded in January. My friend Anne spontaneously took me to a little place called Le Garde Robe, mentioned in the hipper guides, we got the last table in the place, and some of the best wine I've ever drunk, and we stayed for hours and it was just about the most convivial place I've ever been, with a little impromptu karaoke from the kitchen. Le Garde Robe. Perfect.)

    So after coming home from France and spending a week crawling through six-foot-high tunnels of snow, it was fun to dip into my summer closet and put together a capsule wardrobe for Texas. Now we are here, and Mr Jones is working, but as in Paris, not so much that we can't dress up and go everywhere and eat everything. I would not have guessed that San Antonio would be as delightful as Paris, but it is.

    Have thoughts?

    Leave a comment, if you like.

  • Wayfinder's #133: Blue Goes With Blue

    I think I'm starting to get the hang of this packing thing: just make everything blue.

    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?
     

    Imagining

    Hi friends! I'm headed to Paris with my little blue capsule wardrobe. I am wishing for slowness, ease, pleasure and quiet. And bargains at the January sales.

    I am taking the writing part of Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map. Ripped that book right in half! That's how committed I am to packing light.

    Plans include many hard-to-get rezzos (I hope because it's January) and visits with friends and a trip to the hammam at L'Echappée and the textile library. Oh and maybe the Louvre.

    But the main thing is reviewing 2014's directive of Everything Must Go! Nothing stays for free; everything must be submitted for review. As Havi and I were saying this week, I'm doubling down on that for 2015. Just can't improve on it, and indeed, I was only getting started last year. 

    So I hope to come back from Paris with an even longer list of things to toss overboard. I'll let you know!

  • Wayfinder's #132: The Expense of Spirit

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

    There have been spontaneous unsolicited upgrades, but I am also turning my attention to deliberately organizing my own upgrades. In particular, I'm trying to live by Jennifer Scott's maxim Use Your Best Every Day. That means, at the macro level: dessert spoons, the good china, the nice tablecloth, the best (ordinary) skivvies, the prettiest shirt. At the micro level, it means eating the best bite first, a reminder from local heroine Joanne "Eat Dessert First" Chang.

    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?
     

    (I never do that, by the way. But I admire Joanne's style.)

    Anyway, it's about not saving, because: When you make use of the best available [supplies, food, thinking, personal strengths, whatever], the inferior provisions can be tossed with impunity. 

    My Depression + Marine Corps + orphanage survivor dad taught me this, so I can't believe I could ever have forgotten it: If you use up the best stuff first, it will be replaced by more stuff, some of which will be inferior and some of which will be very good! Whereas if you save the best for last, you will do that forever. So always use the best available.

    This is so important. So I'm glad I was finally able to let go of 86 lbs of kitchen stuff that I've been saving for years for my kids in a cupboard under the stairs. (Which I am forced to recognize now was a bit musty.)

    I've always thought my kids would feel about kitchens the way I do - the heart of the home, the center of the earth - but they don't. (Maybe because of me?) They may feel quite ambivalent about kitchens and kitchen stuff. For sure they will not pull out a drawer the day after the next big disaster and say "I thought post-apocalypse living was really gonna suck, but Mummy saved me a ravioli wheel, so I'M SOLID!" 

    I asked my youngest this week Honey, is there anything in there you're actually attached to? Because I am totally lined up and signed up to outfit your first kitchen. We will go shopping. I can even rent a van. And he didn't hesitate. Dump it, Mom! I want kitchen stuff, but it doesn't have to be that kitchen stuff.

    Dear heaven. Hanging onto that crap for years.

    Like they say, Some people like cats and some people like golf and some people go to Princeton and some people, like me, can get their identity really wrapped up in spare ravioli wheels. 

    I also purposely upgraded my winter coat. I had got a great one last year in Boulder, during the Polar-Vortex/Airbnb-Fail episode of the Frognado Chronicles, and it's still a great coat, but it doesn't fit me anymore. I am at 10 lbs over the legal limit for that coat, and every time I put it on, buttoning it down to the waist but no lower, the shame was almost unbearable. Like I looked like some kind of crazy person who didn't know her coat didn't fit her. Or maybe like some kind of terrible weight coach who GAINED WEIGHT.

    I kept thinking of this line from a sonnet: The expense of spirit in a waste of shame. Obviously Shakespeare was discussing something other than winter coats, but still, shame is a perfect waste, and it was killing my spirit, wearing this coat. And SO UNKIND TO MY BODY. So after a bracing breakfast with some sister Martha Beck coaches, I went to the posh suburban consignment shop and found a posh suburban quilted jacket on sale. Looks excruciatingly correct with green Wellies. You may laugh, but it zips right up, and it bought me some of my spirit back, and let my body know I'm back on her side. A bargain!

    Imagining

    You know how people will say I'm tired of talking about [thing/dilemma/dream]. Imma TAKE ACTION, so help me Tony Robbins! I could say that about Hawaii except I am not tired of talking about it. I might want to keep talking about it until I get there. Today I want to talk about WHAT ISLAND. Because I hear it is a bad idea to island-hop. What do you think?

    I am imagining the kind of outrageous pleasure we had in Tulum. Rich Hippie levels of pleasure. Bikinis! Massage! Hedonism! OUTRAGE! SWIMMING WITH SEA MAMMALS. And hopefully sex on the beach unless the beaches are patrolled the way they are in Mexico, such a pity.

    That's what I'm feeling the need for. The first stake I'm putting in the Imagination ground for 2015.

    Also, Mr Jones has to go to Paris for work next week, and I am joining him. My French is a blot on our country's honor, so I was incredibly relieved and happy to see that France now has embraced online restaurant reservations. (And their system is better than Open Table by a lot.) So we have rezzos at Verjus and Spring and my other hopes are not taking reservations but it's January so I'm not worried.

    Also because I'm sick of being worried and I have so much evidence that worry doesn't prevent bad shit. If you can believe that.

    Updates on past experiments

    There has been incredible stripper lash success. Finally, I have lashes in length and number comparable to the rest of humanity. They are still blond but that is ok because I have found, thank you Elle Magazine, Lancôme Grandiôse mascara. So that is my secret: Latisse + Lancôme Grandiôse = Very Visible Lashes.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? A lot of dining in, at home, with friends, and with my cookbook club. You have to recover after eating at Alinea and Chez Panisse in the same month.

    (List compiled 9-nov-2014)

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Bondir
    7. Brine
    8. Bronwyn
    9. Chez Panisse
    10. Commonwealth
    11. Coppa (for brunch)
    12. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    13. The Gallows
    14. Giulia
    15. L'Espalier
    16. The Market (closed for the season)
    17. Myers & Chang
    18. Neptune Oyster (why have I never been here? BECAUSE THE ALL-DAY CROWDS)
    19. O-Ya
    20. Ostra
    21. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    22. Rialto 
    23. Ribelle (ugly and harshly lit but the food! the wine! spectacular)
    24. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    25. Scampo
    26. Shojo
    27. Tres Gatos
    28. 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. Oleana
    5. Sarma
    6. Sportello
    7. Strip-T's
    8. Toro

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

    The internet's tiniest comment link...

    ...is right down below. You are most welcome to put your thoughts there. 

  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #131: My Body Wins Food


    Edible balloon course at Alinea. The helium was excellent.

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

    Friends, there have been many Upgrades this holiday season. A very delicious one was the room we stayed in at the Thompson in Chicago. We arrived at 9am, and the room (itself an unsolicited upgrade) was ready. This has never happened to me. I was prepared to spend an uncomfortable day camping out at Starbucks. It was like a whole nother day of vacation. And it was a corner room; fantastic views, very comfortable. And it was amazing cheap. (Thank you, N! You clearly have the keys to the city.)

    I went to Ikram with my sister-in-law, where Everything is Beautiful, and was also 40% off. (I got a Comme des Garçons shirt I've been watching a long, long time.) 

    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?
     

    We went to Chez Panisse and had free Chardonnay. Probably a lot of people get free Chardonnay at Chez Panisse; I don't know. I kind of expect this now, honestly, all the free little spontaneous life upgrades, and that is not the same as entitlement, or lack of appreciation. I know for sure is I want to appreciate all the free Chardonnay that ever comes my way

    And we got to see the kitchen at Chez Panisse. I noticed our neighbors had disappeared for quite a while into the back, and thought maybe it was because they'd told their waiter they'd just gotten engaged. While we were all waiting for our coats together, I asked her about it, and she told me, Oh you can go too! Anyone can!

    And I did that unthinking reflexive thing of demurring, like I was going to be back again the next day and doing it now would be some kind of inconvenience to my friends, instead of a giant treat. The kind stranger saw me hesitating and urged me Go ON! You're HERE NOW! And bless her, she repeated herself until I let it sink in. I was so happy to see that kitchen.

    Imagining

    As you know I totally loathe goals and resolutions. Nothing's changed about that. But it is a natural time to think about the year, rather than the week ahead. So here are some things I am Imagining for 2015:

    • Total revision of my business. I am so sick of talking about weight loss. My friend Lin says You say cheesy, I say clear message, but after three years the paint is dry and I feel I can step out of this corner. I can't keep talking about weight loss like it's the main course. It's so not.
    • Mr Jones and I just had a delightful time at The Mill in San Francisco with my ravishing friend Rachel, a YA author. This places grinds its own flour and is one of those sneered-at places where toast costs $4 and is totally worth it, kicking the ass of any $3.75 scone I've ever had anywhere. The coffee is good, it's beautiful, and you can actually find a place to sit. In short, there is nothing like this place in Cambridge, and I don't want to build one, but I want to spend my cafe writing/dreaming/puttering-on-paper time in the best available places. I guess that means my former spiritual home, Burdicks, and stumping down to Hi-Rise, which would be so great if they just had a bathroom and less Darwinian tension around the seating.
    • More toast. I think I might try to find out how to grind wheat. Should be possible - my blender is like 4500 horsepower. Back in the years when hippies still ran Boulder, there was a bakery that ground its own flour daily. I have never stopped missing this bread. What if I could recreate it? OMG.
    • Liz Gilbert and Anne Lamott. Whenever I see their tweets or posts, I remember I could be reading those ladies every day. What a difference it would make to follow a few smart people deliberately, instead of conuming whatever Facebook decides to serve.
    • New website. Because I want everything to be beautiful, naturally.
    • Sunday lunch at my place. Need a dishwasher for that.
    • Satisfaction. Yesterday we passed a church that had posted this slogan: Gratitude turns what you have into enough. "Enough" sounds a little stingy to me, and I'd like a bit more. I think my slogan for the year will be something more along the lines of Appreciation + Attention = What You Have -> PLENTY which = SATISFACTION. 
      (Also as previously discussed, "gratitude" to me is an overused, somewhat nauseating word, and although I definitely experience that feeling a lot, I like to think about appreciating spontaneous unsolicited upgrades. I'm sure that's just as barfable to some.)
    • Travel is Normal, as previously noted. That's a fact of life now. I have trips planned to Paris, Berlin, New York and Miami this year. So far. It would also be lovely to get back to New Mexico. And although Travel is Normal I also want travel to be totally GLAMOUROUS.
    • Rhythm. The idea that when I left my part-time job at Harvard I would somehow have 40 hours a day has been slow to die. I am playing now with a kind of modular flexible weekly rhythm that also includes some fairly rigid repetition, like what days I go to the gym or do which kind of laundry. Looks like this:
      m t w th f wkd
      putter
      Rowdies
      workout
      darks
      articles
      newsies
      somedia
      appts
      calls
      putter
      Rowdies
      Miles
      JS
      delicates
      coaching
      somedia
      Gathering
      putter
      Rowdies
      workout
      appointments
      whites
      menu plan
      waypo
      somedia
      spring clean
      putter
      Rowdies
      Mary
      shopping
      sheets
      client love/bank
      biz ed
      somedia
      date night
      putter
      Rowdies
      workout
      gym clothes
      Miles
      errands
      somedia
      spring clean
      putter
      Rowdies
      cooking
      declutter
      travel planning
      filing
      banking
      I kind of love it!
    • Really slow breakfasts and lunchs, and a nice bowl from Heath Ceramics to eat out of.
    • From Mafia|Kitten, this slogan: Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. I want this to be the motto of the year.

    Updates on past experiments

    How have I swung from the chandelier lately? 

    In a big way. This is how:

    My whole center of gravity as a coach could be [have been] summed up as

    1. Never mind the maneuvers, just go straight at it
    2. Awareness is 98% of everything
    3. For the love of God, don't diet
    4. (also maybe Greed is good. I'm considering that...)

    Even so, I have come to see this year that I have been dieting, albeit in ways that I did not previously consider as dieting. That is one gift of The Year of Frognadoes and Sucking Chest Wounds: It is now shockingly clear how much I have still been muling my body around food, using all my energy to keep the body in the subject position. And like a beach ball I've been trying to hold under the water, it eventually drained my available energy down to zero. After working in the domain of disordered eating for about 30 years, I finally hit a patch of shit I couldn't power through. Or stay skinny while experiencing.

    So. MY BODY WINS FOOD. MY BODY WINS! IT IS THE WINNER.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? Two wonderful things, back to back.

    First, while in Chicago, we went to Alinea. It was a brilliant meal, and I recommend you go there. It was worth whatever crazy price. (I don't know, but I'm sure it was crazy.) Everything was a delicious mix of theatricality and surprise and down-to-earth humor and wonderful taste. Fifteen courses, I want to say. Nothing overthought or underthought. We were there almost four hours; it was like Louie Pinette. I wouldn't have minded being there longer. Perfect.

    And then we went to Chez Panisse while visiting the younger generation in Oakland. I have wanted to go there for decades. It was perfectly lovely, and ... gosh, honestly, I kind of felt like I could use a small pastrami sandwich not long afterward. But I am so, so, so glad to have had that experience. Thank you, Alice!

    (List compiled 9-nov-2014)

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Bondir
    7. Brine
    8. Bronwyn
    9. Chez Panisse
    10. Commonwealth
    11. Coppa (for brunch)
    12. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    13. The Gallows
    14. Giulia
    15. L'Espalier
    16. The Market (closed for the season)
    17. Myers & Chang
    18. Neptune Oyster (why have I never been here? BECAUSE THE ALL-DAY CROWDS)
    19. O-Ya
    20. Ostra
    21. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    22. Rialto 
    23. Ribelle (ugly and harshly lit but the food! the wine! spectacular)
    24. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    25. Scampo
    26. Shojo
    27. Tres Gatos
    28. 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. Oleana
    5. Sarma
    6. Sportello
    7. Strip-T's
    8. Toro

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

    The internet's tiniest comment link...

    ...is right down below. I hope you will use it to add your thoughts, report on your own Wayfinding results, or just say Hi. It is also very cool to lurk here. 

    You might also enjoy

    Wayfinding Week 62: I want everything to be beautiful

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #81: The Dangerous Thing I (Don't) Really Want to Write About

    What's the opposite of an eating disorder?

  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #130: Truth or Consequences


    I stood under this Truth or Consequences, New Mexico laundromat sign with my mouth open when I first saw it in the 2000s. Someone has busted the pigtail off this happy laundryman's head, but it's not enough to scrub the racism out of the image. But stuff doesn't rot in New Mexico, and they don't throw too much out, either.

    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?
     

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

    This week when I began composing an email, Google spontaneously offered up some images I took in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico about seven years ago. I think we can all agree that New Mexico is the best place on earth, yes? And TorC is an important stop on the Hot Springs World Tour. 

    But I was still surprised when my Martha Beck coach buddy called me later that day from Truth or Consequences. She was doing her laundry, and we had other things to talk about so I didn't establish that she was at Nu Way, but Truth or Consequences is small. I'm pretty sure.

    (She is one of two close friends I have who are each at this very moment on an extended roadtrip through the desert in a not-roomy vehicle with their fella. I think it sounds fun except when Mr Jones and I did it, he got mad at the way I had us going from Taos to Socorro to Shiprock to Durango to Albuquerque, which in retrospect was pretty unplanful. I am sure he would be in charge if we were to do this again.)

    Anywayyyyy, Truth or Consequences. That is what I am thinking about, and have been thinking about all year. Or more truth and consequences, really. 

    I do love to write, and I am, like everyone, prepared to self-edit for the sake of prettier writing, more laffs, greater impact, and of course, the chance to impress you, my readers, with my superior intelligence, exceptional joie de vivre, and advanced psychological, spiritual and emotional understanding.

    Editing is a problem I haven't solved. It must be done. At the same time, I've been trying for more truthfulness here. Trying to write as if no one is reading, almost. It's tricky, and it's tangled up with my non-Wayfinder writing. More on that later. 

    Other coincidences: I saw a guy on the street wearing a tshirt that said "Wayfinders Journey" on it. The image looked like a woman in a chariot with a scepter. He moved past me too fast to see more, and right behind him was a panhandler who pointed at me and shouted Colorado!

    What?! It was a bit Ancient Mariner. I definitely have a "Not From Around Here" label on me, which all New Englanders can easily read, but this guy...! I had on a down jacket, cowboy boots and turquoise earrings, but you can see that anywhere from Shreveport to Tahoe.

    Spooky. Unless he knows me from Colorado, I guess. 

    Imagining

    I'm gonna swing from the chandelier.

    That's really kind of how I want my life to be. I feel it's mostly been about staying safe and god knows that's a fine thing to want and I surely am not signing up for a lot of broken bones and sucking chest wounds and shit but you know what I have them anyway. This fucking year 2014 has been one sucking chest wound after another. Wouldn't it really be better to get some of those injuries falling after I can't hold onto the chandelier anymore.

    The first time I remember hearing the Sia song Chandelier it really annoyed me. It was so overproduced and cinema-ready and Disney-heroine-with-an-edge and blearrgh. Hated it. 

    Then at some point this week I realized Wait a minute! CHANDELIER. And in an instant it became my favorite song and I cannot stop listening to it and if it comes on when I'm driving I will totally sing my heart out while blubbing because it is so completely gorgeous and in itself embodies chandelier-swinging. I've never heard a song that swings from the chandelier more.

    There is a broader lesson for me here about things I think I like and don't like, and how that can flip in an instant. Perhaps I shall next apply this lesson to Mr Jones's unbelievably funky Thai mudfish sauce.

    Updates on past experiments

    As discussed, I went down to Newbury Street and visited The Closet (a high-end consignment shop with great markdowns) and had an adventure and now I don't have a ten-item wardrobe anymore. 

    And that is fine.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? A whole lotta staying in. We're saving ourselves for Alinea. 

    (List compiled 9-nov-2014)

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (scheduled)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Bondir
    7. Brine
    8. Bronwyn
    9. Chez Panisse (scheduled)
    10. Commonwealth
    11. Coppa (for brunch)
    12. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    13. The Gallows
    14. Giulia
    15. L'Espalier
    16. The Market (closed for the season)
    17. Myers & Chang
    18. Neptune Oyster (why have I never been here? BECAUSE THE ALL-DAY CROWDS)
    19. O-Ya
    20. Ostra
    21. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    22. Rialto 
    23. Ribelle (ugly and harshly lit but the food! the wine! spectacular)
    24. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    25. Scampo
    26. Shojo
    27. Tres Gatos
    28. 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. Oleana
    5. Sarma
    6. Sportello
    7. Strip-T's
    8. Toro

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

    The internet's tiniest comment link...

    ...is right down below. I hope you will use it to add your thoughts, report on your own Wayfinding results, or just say Hi. 

    It is also very cool to lurk here. I love being connected with you, too.

    You might also enjoy

    Wayfinding Week 45: World hot springs tour begins here

    Wayfinding Week 24: Accordions are the new chandeliers

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #73: Back to Bolinas. Taos too.

shaman sessions

MBI Books & Resources

Into the Closet class