Solace as a place

Wherever I live I try to find a place where I can find solace, usually involving somewhere in nature.  When I lived in San Diego, I spent hours on the cliffs overlooking Blacks Beach.  My favorite time was dusk when the ocean turned a golden iridescent color. As the sun sank toward the horizon, the reflection shot back toward the shore, creating a blinding golden path.

Cliffs of La Jolla, Blacks Beach

When I moved to Washington, DC, I struggled to find that place, particularly due to living in an urban center with more buildings than open space.  DC is known for it’s numerous parks and which helped, but it didn’t quite make up for the ocean.  I found myself going on runs to the National Cathedral.  Partially because it was only 2 miles away.  But there was a beautiful English garden there that I’d spend sometimes hours at.  I would lie on the wooden benches in the early evening and stare up at the majestic building before me.

National Cathedral Garden

National Cathedral at twilight

I have been thinking about where that place is for me in Hawaii and what resonates most is Diamond Head.   I suppose not many people around the world can say Continue reading

two types

When getting mail or doing laundry, I often peruse through the stacks of magazines neighbors in the condo building leave behind after getting their fill of stick-thin models and foodie recipes.  I once put a huge stack of National Geographic’s in there and it sadly took days for them to disappear but the fitness and fashion magazines are gone within hours.  Welcome to Hawaii.

I flipped through an abandoned magazine and ran across an unexpected article, “The Long Goodbye” by Laura Fraiser.  It’s her story of slowing down and finding time to grieve over the unexpected death of her mother.  A quote resonate with me:

“…there are two types of people in the world–those who have lost their mom, those who haven’t…”

I have to say I agree.  It’s the club no one signs up for but sooner or later joins.

No longer a spectator.

It’s amazing how many films, books, TV shows, etc. intertwine death within their story lines.  I remember thinking this right after my mothers death.  How can it be thrown around with such ease?  Before, death was sad and unfortunate.  Now it’s a life-changing reality.  Until you’ve been touched by death, it’s hard to understand how it actually changes you.  I know I didn’t before.

I just watched the film ‘Tree of Life’.  At first I thought it was too slow and almost shut it off and took it back to Red Box.  I didn’t have time for this.  But I’m glad I watched it to the end as it brought up some thoughts and feelings I haven’t had for a while.  You see how death is a part of life in the film: something to live with and figure out how to move on.  And it’s true.

Though I struggle to understand why we live to experience such grief?  Is life really just about love and loss?  Is it that simple?  I almost want to say yes.  Now more than ever the piercing sharpness of what is important to me has revealed itself. Love, family, friends…everything else seems secondary.

 

Name change

Ka'ena Point, Wai'nae side Oahu

One of my new favorite past times is walking down to the beach and floating in the sea. Stretching my legs and arms into a T, closing my eyes, and feeling the hot sun on my face.  The world around me is silent.  I can hear myself breathe.  Suddenly, my mind goes blank, worries dissolve and I imagine myself drifting out in the middle of the ocean, the only person in the world.

So decided to change the name of my blog.  I didn’t really like the previous name and figured it would be temporary.  I am not sure I like this name either, but I do like to float on the surface of water.  It works best in the ocean because of the salt water of course, but if you hold your breath, it works in a pool or lake too.  I also am unsure I can say I’m a humanist.  It sounds a little pretentious to me (as does do-gooder).

I believe it’s very much possible to be a humanist and hedonist.  I’m not even sure what that means but I like to think it’s caring about the well-being of “humanity” (including human dignity) and enjoying (and prioritizing) life’s pleasures.  I hope to grow in balancing both.

Maybe a future blog name can have ‘humanistic hedonist’ in the title.  Or ‘hedonistic humanitarian’.  Nice.

Wanting the year to end, wanting it to go on.

I didn’t even realize the semester was over next week.  I guess I prob haven’t noticed a lot of things lately.  Rightly so.  I feel sad.  But I’m ready for this to be over.  “This” being my year of adjustment.  I don’t feel completely settled by any means, but knowing I survived (almost) a year of grad school is comforting and rewarding.  Perhaps I shouldn’t speak too soon, not done yet!  I can’t say I was a spectacular student but I did my best.  Was my best good enough?  I guess I’ll find out soon.  I really feel like I fumbled through the semester, the entire year really.  I was hit with much more stress than I expected with working, being a full-time student,  family issues and now my health.  It hasn’t been easy.  But I’m still here and still pretty happy.

My first semester was ridiculously fun, but almost as equally difficult.  I didn’t take very good care of myself and was a bit reckless in my behavior but I had a great time.  Leaving the working world was awesome and having all the free time was wonderful. But eventually that wasn’t working  for me and I have learned that it is best for me to have some sort of work to do or I get unmotivated and depressed.  Not having a place to go to study/work and staying at home by myself a lot did not help.  I am happy with my fellow cohorts in the program and I’ve met some great folks.  I was able to connect well with quite a few people.  But spreading my wings and Continue reading