Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Instructive Din of My Quiet Mind

What is it about lying on a yoga mat and being told to "quiet your mind" that makes mine do anything but?!? I have been going to a lovely restorative yoga class on Sunday afternoons that really consists of nothing much more than assembling oneself in a supported pose and just hanging out for about fifteen minutes doing, at least theoretically, nothing but allowing the ground and the props to hold and support the body while the mind becomes more and more quiet. Mmmm-hmmmm. Let's see, on today's menu we had everything from earworm fragments of several different songs - a little Queen, a couple hymns and a few bars of Kenny G that drifted up from an MPR story I heard about him the other day, I think - the usual distraction of the "what I have to do after class" and the thing that seems to drift in mostly these days when my mind has nothing better to do, my "big questions" about the alignment of my life, work, vocation and all that jazz.

I avoided yoga for a good stretch of time. Avoiding all that quiet space for all that head noise that tells me how much I am not paying attention to how much I need to pay attention. But it's due and overdue. Just like the writing and the singing....all leading back to something (someone?) I'm missing.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lost in Transition?

I kind of knew in the back of my head that it had "been a while" since I blogged. Um...yeah, like a year and change apparently. That's a lot longer than I thought,  so when the postings about NaBloPoMo started popping up on FaceBook it seemed like a good little push in the right direction, and reaffirmed the idea I had lately that this might be something (along with some other somethings) that I really should be considering putting back into my repertoire of daily life.

I find myself wanting to argue with Blogger about that last posting date....September of LAST year? Really? No, it can't be THAT long....can it? Thirteen months and some days since I have recorded more than a post or a tweet about my daily comings and goings? Well, there have been a few journal entries here and there I think, a couple of long-ish e-mails of the more reflective type to friends, and one lonely sermon, but that's it. I wonder where they are going, all those thoughts that used to commit themselves to words on the screen?

Maybe they are hanging out in the same place with the music. I just realized the other day that I don't sing much anymore. Another thing that  I once would have told you was a pretty essential part of my identity that just kind of faded away.....

So, you ask, what DO you do with yourself these days? Well, there's work-four long days and a commute-tired at the end with not much left of me, my sweetie and I have dinner (together on a good day when our schedules collide), try for some good adult conversation, a little screen time and it's off to bed. Fridays I have off, sometimes I play but often that is the day of the appointments and errands- car to the oil change, dog to the vet sort of things. Weekends are catch-up time, we shop and cook for the week, and I do try to squeeze in a yoga class before the week takes off again.

I know that in there there is time, probably lots of it if I look, that I could be spending better than I am. I used to be much, much busier when I wore all those hats and was the energizer bunny. I worked full-time, plus pastored and preached  and served on COM and diocesan committees and the local ministerial association and walked a mile a day with my friend and her dog, wrote on my blog, went to yoga twice a week, and seemed to have time for it all.

It's been over three years now since we moved back to "the big city" and while in some ways it has been good for us, it has also been hard, and I don"t think I am still really settled. Certainly not in the way I was settled into my little life on the prairie. This still comes as kind of a shock to me, as I (somewhat naively I now suspect) expected that I would find things much easier to come "home" to than I did on so many levels. Of course there were things I could not know. And perhaps there were things I should have known and did not. But at any rate, what I expected and what came to be are not at all the same and there are days when I find myself wondering "what if?" But as my very wise husband reminds me "we live with what is not with what if...." and so my challenge now is to make life here and now. And I think maybe some of that is to re-connect with those parts of me that have somehow gone missing. Like things that get misplaced in a move, left in boxes in the back of closets, "until there is time" I need to unearth them, gently dust them off and get them back in plain sight to remind me of what feeds me and brings me mostly deeply to who I am.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Five: If it Ain't Broke....

Martha is bemoaning the loss of a favorite app format in the new iOS 7 update, and asks, in this F5 a reflection on things that need no improvement. This little reflection comes at a good time.  I have already been in one of those spaces where life puts your sometimes. You know, where things happen that make you stop and take a deep breath? A little stunned by the absolute fragility of it all, by just how quickly it all can turn, by how good my life is, by how little I take time to notice and be grateful...yeah all that this week.

So, what needs no fixing?
My beloved husband and all that comes with the gift of the marriage I never dare dream of, and was and is pure gift and blessing. Every day.

A career that feeds me. Yes I grouse about it. The execution in the current job is not perfect. What is? But I get to do something vocationally that matters, that I seem to be good at and that offers us enough income that Rick can go to school to create a future that he, too, will enjoy.

My sweet new car. No fixes for a LOOONG time!

Praise God, I seem to not need fixing, physically at this time.

Really, when I stop and think about it....there is nothing, right here, right now in my life that is broke that needs fixing. So perhaps I ought to get my attention back on the broken places elsewhere, where I might be of some use.








Saturday, July 06, 2013

To Cruise or Not to Cruise

I am really not a very decisive person. Ask my husband. Ask my friends. Ask the voice of waver and waffle that wakes me in the night and makes the butterflies in my stomach do the macarena. And in the last few years, there have been WAY too many of those little buggers for this decision-averse person.  Decisions of significance such as "Shall we stay or shall we go?" That one has been asked and answered more than a few times since the big one that brought us across the state from life as we knew it, and has led to other ones like..."keep the job that seemed like fit but after a year is clearly not, or take a chance on something that might be better?" Move house (again) as this town is so clearly not a fit and we seem to be always going somewhere else for pretty much everything of significance?" Yes, no, yes, no....decisions, decisions, decisions! We made them, well some of them, anyway, and they seem to be working out. We are settled in a new place, finding community at church and discovering places and things that "work" for fun and the practical stuff of daily life. The job stuff is still kind of hanging, but I am trying to be patient (which is right up there with "decisive" as "things Kate is not so good at") and see if I can find what is good there, at least for a time.

So, having said all that, I'm looking at my flyer and thinking about a BE. The deadline is approaching FAST. Who knows, maybe it's already too late. I haven't checked, perhaps it's full and this is a moot point. It's a funny thing, me and this cruise.  Ever since the first one, I have yet to sign on early in the game.  Sometimes it's been deliberate, as now, but mostly it's been due to life and its uncertainties making me unsure if I can go. This time, though, it seems to be simply about not being able to decide. The last cruise was hard for me in some ways. I did not enjoy the motion of the ocean! It was a little more than I was comfortable with, and the fact that our cabin window leaked some of those waves right in on my bed didn't ramp up my comfort level much. Not functioning as clergy in any significant fashion also had something to do with my feeling a little meh, too, I think. Being with people who were doing what I often long to, and am pretty sure for all sorts of complicated reasons, don't believe I will be, is hard and sad, and stirs up the grief that most of the time I keep neatly tucked away.

So I haven't sent in my form and my deposit. And I don't have a cabin mate. Some friends are already bunked in with other folks, some are not going this year. A new local clergy friend who is thinking about going would only want a single cabin. So I don't even have the "slumber party factor" as motivation at this point.

It feels sort of weird to be blogging this back-to-back with the "Galship" post about the amazing and wonderful connections of BE 1. But, as all experiences are, that was its own moment, never to come again. And to say I do or don't want to go on the next cruise has less to do with prior experiences than just where I am today in this place in my life personally and professionally. But tick, tick, tick. Must. Decide. And I HATE making decisions! 

Friday, July 05, 2013

Thoughts on Galship (on ship and off)

Once upon an April, long, long ago (or so it feels from five plus years and much life later), there was a boat, and on the boat there were some very special people. That is how a very important chapter in the story of my galship life begins.  I had come to blogging and RevGals by way of Celeste (at that time known to all only as C) who was one of my Soul Sisters and life savers in small town ministry. Ordained less than a year at the time, I was struggling to figure it all out, to balance my bivocational life as a priest and therapist in a small town. C suggested that this "blogring" she encountered might be something I'd enjoy.  The first time I read it, I have to admit being a bit scandalized. It was FoH weekend, and the remnant was going on during the Preacher Party about pedis and drinks from handsome hunks. I was still rather in the flush of righteous prigishness that seemed to accompany my ordination (gotten over it nicely, thanks), and I thought y'all were just a tad unseemly for clergy women). Fortunately I got over myself and stayed on! I blogged my three months and was so excited when I, too could qualify to belong to the ring!

I'd been part of RevGals for about a year when my relationship, which had been floundering for a long while began its final descent, and was doing so in the full view of our congregation and community.It was during one of those dark days when one morning, as I sat blogging at my desk before work, that  little sidebar caught my eye. I sighed. The BE 1. How lovely it would be to join them, I thought. To take a cruise with these lovely women whom I had come to know over the last year or so; who had already been so sweet and supportive, so wise and funny. But, no, I thought. It was happening practically tomorrow! It would cost too much. It was not practical, I did not deserve it, I did not have it arranged....blah, blah, blah.  But suddenly, some small voice in my head spoke out loud and clear and said, YOU NEED TO GO ON THIS TRIP! YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN! Huh? Wha? It was almost as if God had just interrupted the usual programming. And fo a change I listened up.  The next thing I knew I was e-mailing Martha, checking flights, talking to my boss (begging a bit) and  tentatively arranging for a sitter for Maggie - just in case it worked out. And as these things go sometimes, it did. Someone had just cancelled, there was a space at this last moment on the cruise, the flights were reasonable, the dog could be managed, and my lovely boss said, yes, she thought maybe I needed a break. So before I could change my mind, I was on my way to NOLA.

Then of course,I was fraught with anxiety! Would they like me? Could I STAND being out there in that vast ocean with water on all sides and below? Would I get seasick and disgrace myself? Could I manage sharing a room with a stranger? And most of all, could I be real....really, really, really real?  Tell the whole truth?  Tell my honest  story and find acceptance from these women? The answer to all of my anxious questions was yes! They did and I could and did! Not only acceptance but warmth and love. Resonance. They got it.  They got me. And responded with laughter. Tears. Hugs. A quiet conversation...."You know, I wanted to make sure to tell you...." "Kate, just so you know, you are not the only one who...." "Yes, there was a time when I, too...."

I came back to the stuff I left. It was still there, it was still hard. We ended the relationship. It was public. It was painful. And after that there was the potentially career-ending charge against my practice (spurious though it was) that put me through another year and a half of hell, known on the blog as the "falling shoes." And there was the grace and love and pain that was my ministry with L, now MIA from my life.  And of course there was the meeting and falling in love with my sweet Rick, shared with Revgals via blog, and by some, IRL on the Great Honeymoon Roadtrip meetup! More recently, though less blogged, have been the seemingly unending transitions of location and job, as well as adjusting to not being in a regular church ministry presently (or knowing if that is ever going to be part of my future).

And through all of it I was prayed for and supported, sent hugs and encouragement. The comments, e-mails, phone calls, texts, and now and then IRL meet-ups have been and continue to be such blessing in my life.

So that, in a nutshell is the Galship bond for me. People who have been there in the good times and bad times. A blessing and answer to prayer. People who make God and God's love real and tangible.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Five: Dogs or Cats or What?

1. Are you a DOG or a CAT person? Or OTHER?
As in most things I would have to say that in this, too, I am a both/and.  In the past I have been a keeper of cats.  At some points there were many cats, even too many cats when the fostering life got a little out of hand, and there was a "number that could not be named." But eventually the cats went on to new homes and off to be with Jesus until there was only my Bridget cat. When she was gone, I officially became a dog-only person.  My sweet husband has pet allergies, and while he is allergic to all of them, the cats set him off worse than the dog, and so we compromise.

2. Who were the pets of your childhood and what were they like?
My mother was not a lover of pets. But being a child, I begged and begged, and being a mom, she eventually gave in, to a point.  I got a little bowl of goldfish.  Sadly, they did not live very long. One died of unknown causes and was found very soon in his life with us floating belly up in the bowl.  The second one did the fish leap out of the bowl, slid across the kitchen floor and under the stove where he even could not be reached for a decent burial at sea.

3. What pets do you have now?
We are still the proud parents of Maggie the Peke, contemplative Episcopuppy.  

4. Have you ever had any unusual pets in your household or visit your home?
Only if you count the one eyed, tailless, three-legged cat whom we sat for now and again in our former home.  He had the bad fortune of having a close encounter with a car fanbelt, but the good fortune to have it happen where someone cared enough to save him and give him a good home.

5. What have you learned from your pets? Give one recent example, if possible.
We used to foster some pretty abused and beat up little critters that life  (and humans)had not treated very well. And yet, with time, patience and gentleness, almost all of them would come around to trust again at least at some level. It seemed as if they were willing to give a second chance to these big and powerful creatures who had been so hurtful, to try again for love. Not a bad plan, maybe?

BONUS: Pictures or anything else related to animals you love.
Top: The Late and Lovely Bridget Cat and Below: The very much alive Maggie the Peke

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who Am I?

Ever since I was ordained, I have happily claimed my status as the Reverend Dr. Kate, a happily bivocational person, who, at least in a previous life balanced the two hats of priest and psychologist in some sort of equilibrium.  I had a church life and a day job life and the two intersected at times. Mostly that was good thing, at times it was challenging, but it was all part of a whole that made a life I realize in retrospect that I simply took for granted, and assumed would just always be part of my reality.

Well, life moves forward and times change, and the transitions and shifts of the last two years have shown me that my assumptions and "taken for gran teds" just ain't necessarily so When we first moved back I had "just assumed" that of course it would all work out.  Kind of like true love....there would be a church with a Kate-sized need and we would find each other and live happily ever after. And for a while it looked like that might be happening.  There was a short assisting gig that never quite got off the ground. And then there was another plan that sounded promising enough for a relocation to a town down the road. We "met and dated" for a while, but somehow I guess the spark was just not there. The little frission of interest fizzled, we stopped seeing one another. I moved on.

So today, my "professional" church life and my day job life are, for the most part, non-intersecting. Rev. Kate and Dr. Kate do not travel in the same circles at all. Sometimes that leaves me feeling a little dis-integrated, a little sad. Clergywise, I am doing some supply and some writing. I am seeing a spiritual director and trying to discern if there is something else I might/could/should do now in that realm. We are part of a lovely congregation where we are feeling more and more at home.  The rector is welcoming and inclusive and I know if I came up with something I thought I might want to do there, she would very likely be open and encouraging.

I am also trying to consciously vision my day job as ministry. To see this as my little altar in the world where the congregation comes and sits before me in the chairs in my office and I am given the chance to bring into their lives the compassion of God's healing love.