Friday, January 29, 2010

Making Peace with Receiving

Tomorrow is my birthday. I love birthdays; the celebration, the gathering and communion of friends, and the wine and champagne. Well, I love it all except the attention. When I was younger I LOVED the attention. I felt glorified in it - revealed in it.

Something has shifted. Now, don't go thinking I've matured and believe I posses qualities of humility - that's not it.  I can accept gifts without pause. Yes please spend more than you earn- adore me with presents. It's a narrow focus on being comfortable with two things: 1. visual attention -for example in a gathering and it being all about me and 2. You paying for me - like a dinner where the guest divide the bill minus me because I'm the honored guest.

Last night a pre-party dinner which was at a most delicious Sinaporean $$$ restaurant. We dined on pork ribs, Roti, coconut string bean soup, spicy tofu something or other. We swam in libations of Maja-Mojito, Chardonnay finishing up with Peony white tea over two decandant, put me in a coma of sugar, desserts. It was so much fun as we hooted and howled. And then the bill came. Now my girls and I have had this tradition for years; we treat the birthday gal to lavious dinner. This isn't new. Yet when the bill game, my stomach began to knot up. I instinctively reached for my wallet - they wouldn't hear of it. I couldn't break with tradition. 

My stomach tied more knots as they divided the bill. I wanted it to before. The whole scenario was hugely uncomfortable and I was deeply aware of how uncomfortable I was with their giving in this manner. I wondered how I could live with a double standard - treat my friends to a meal but not accept the same with glee and gratitude. What the heck was going on? What was happening was not the opposite of my former "give me" state. In fact they are one in the same. The woman in my twenties who wanted the attention is the same woman today; it has just taken a different form. 

When I cannot receive I'm not in true relationship. When I only want to be seen as the generous one my focus is solely on me rather then on being in true friendship and real communion. This need, this craving is old and unrewarding; stripping it away is going to be so fun.

 Learning how to love is as great as it is humbling.

This is going to be great birthday.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Meet me at the cupcake counter

Today, I'm sitting in a beautiful and cozy cafe in San Carlos, CA. I come here often to work or just be with my thoughts. It has all the attributes that are important for my creativity to surge: like I said it's cozy  which translates to  eight tables, it's exquisitely painted and decorated ( a deep plum set off with a white wall that just delights me), the food is delicious - they have cupcakes as well as gourmet lunch items and the most important feature is the espresso is rich. All in all great enough to have me drive thirty miles up and over a one lane mountain during our rainy season.

In the practice of full disclosure I also leave my house to escape one of my cats who follows me around crying because she cranky and sleepy but won't go to sleep unless I don't move for a couple of hours or until I leave. God knows I love the little quadruped but have mercy on my nerves. Sometimes her incessant crying is enough to make me reach for the Pinot before 10:00 am (and that's just sad).

Back the conversation at hand, What I love about cafe's is listening to the relationships of folks sitting down and coming together over a cappuccino and a cupcake. It looks like coffee and food so what but it's much more complex; much deeper. Sitting intimately across from one another, eye to eye they are reaffirming their love for communion. Men, women, children and me -each one of us alone or with friend are here to connect, to be in communion, to savor the flavors of friendship and relationships, to learn how to do relationships. To the others it looks as though I'm working on my computer, working but really I'm here to be near them. I come to be reminded of who I am and why I'm here. Like the food the company is nourishing even when I don't speak to them.

We come to nourish - its the refresh button for the soul and it maters.

Peace Out (I had to write that to embarrass my teenage niece.)