Monday, September 30, 2013

4:00 AM

Sunrise - Summer 2013
Monday morning. 4:00 AM. I am wide awake. The alarm isn't due to sound off for another hour. I want to stay in bed but as I lay still in the dark beneath my covers telling myself that it's cozy and warm here, why would I want to get up, I can hear the mumbling in the back of my brain that is already beginning to catalog my every growing To Do List.

I close my eyes and roll over. I decide to stay in bed just on principle. One of my cats has become alert to my wakeful state and has jumped on the bed purring. She begins to knead herself a nest right next to my chest. She nuzzles my cheek seeking affection. I push her away, “It's too early,” I mumble. She circles and purring settles in against me, purring, purring, purring, purring...

Determined to not get up I pull the covers to my cheek, take a deep breath and exhale willing myself to relax. I drift for a moment but then realize my right foot is chilly. It has worked it's way out from under the covers. I pull it in beneath the blankets. This shift of my lower limb brings my knees into contact with each other and shifts my hips. I realize that to stay in this position will mean that my left foot will soon fall asleep.

I roll over, trying to not disturb the cat. As roll my blankets travel with me; my sheet remains pinned beneath the cat. My entire backside begins to feel the morning chill. I wiggle and shift to slide my blankets back into place. This results in a slight smothering of the cat who wakes and walks across my pillow to sit in front of me (purr, purr, purr, purr, purr...). She meows once.

One open eye catches the light of the clock. 4:21 AM. I wonder how long it is until sunrise. I reach for my phone and quickly check. 6:37 AM. I could get up, write, have coffee and then walk to view the sun coming up over the bay. I switch to my weather app to see if the sky is clear enough to watch the day begin. No, I think to myself. Sleep. Sleep is what you need.

I set the phone on the night stand and close my eyes. I begin to drift. A single paw taps me gently on the cheek. Meow. Purr. Purr. Purr. A second tap, followed by a head butt. Meow. I realize the cat's motivation has switched from affection to breakfast. Tap, tap.



4:27 AM. I give in. Sunrise, here I come.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

All by myself...

My idea of a good night has always been having a lovely meal and a proper conversation.” Kirsty Gallacher

I am half way through the third (fourth?) week of the fall semester. I think I am finally beginning to establish a rhythm to school, work, homework, teaching, creating and self care. It is so very easy when I become busy to neglect the last item from this list. It is often easier to eat a bowl of popcorn for dinner than a balanced meal or to push myself to stay up later than usual to finish some project or homework. I've done rather well with making sure so far I get enough sleep and eat right. However there is still one area that I am struggling with.

In the midst of those days filled with work, school and creative projects a feeling of isolation can slowly creep up on me. . Life becomes one long to do list,checking one item off and moving on to the next. I can spend an entire day holed up in my apartment often within the confines of my room working towards deadline after deadline.

Of course many of the things I do involve human contact. Attending school and creative collaboration definitely require interaction with other people. However, it is a very different thing to spend two hours with someone working on choreography or listening to a lecture and spending two hours in a conversation with no agenda.

With all of the homework, rehearsing, and work I am too distracted to notice until one day I have a moment to breathe. At first I will putter around the apartment, taking care of minor housekeeping tasks that I've neglected. I'll sort my socks, alphabetize my books, update my Netflix queue...I walk a circuit of my home, straightening misaligned coffee table books and picking lint off the futon cover. I ask Miss Pickles if she'd like to go grab a cup of coffee and a moment later I remember that she is a cat, has no thumbs and no interest in coffee.

This semester I'm making an effort to not let disconnection become a habit. I have plenty of time to myself, which like most of us I need a significant amount of, but I also need an equal amount of time where where I can, however briefly, set aside the to do list and step out of the role of student, or teacher, or director to spend time with those I love.

So anyone up for coffee sometime in November?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Find a Way...

There isn't a whole lot that I can add to the story of Diana Nyad and her 110 mile swim from Cuba to the United States.  I was excited as anyone to read about her accomplishment, an amazing feat of stamina, endurance and determination.  Within moments of her completion word began to spread and it was only minutes before her story was lighting up my facebook and twitter feeds.

I love stories of those who have overcome incredible obstacles to pursue and accomplish their dreams. I find extra inspiration in the stories great physical feats because when I read or hear them it I nearly always have the thought that if this person can do that thing then maybe I really can do this thing, particularly since this thing isn't likely to be swimming 110 miles or climbing the worlds tallest mountain or solo skiing across the south pole.  

For me this thing is finishing my BA, learning to sail, hiking Maine's 100 Mile Wilderness with friends, becoming a better dancer or living in a yurt for a year.  Compared to swimming through night and day in icy cold, jelly fish and shark infested waters my goals seem rather safe and tame.  I might lose some sleep studying for a mid-term but I'm not in immediate danger of hypothermia or having my toes nipped off.   

I will still however have to struggle with self doubt or questioning if the (time, effort, money) is worth it.  I am quite sure I will face moments where I just want to put things off or give up entirely.  I'll think I'm too old or too tired to make it.  I hope if my thoughts turn that way I will think of something Diana Nyad said in an interview with CBS This Morning:
"It doesn't matter ... what you come up against because none of it's going to be pleasant. You're hardly ever out there going, 'Oh, my God, isn't it a beautiful moon tonight?' The crew is feeling that. But you're kind of suffering through the whole thing. So my thought was, 'everything you come up against say -- and this is why people are relating to my story -- all of us suffer heartache. All of us suffer difficulties in our lives. And if you say to yourself 'find a way,' you'll make it through."