Friday, October 22, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

I finally finished Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was a breathtakingly beautiful book. It reminded me of my own spiritual journey which I have been in for the last couple of years. Spiritual living is not a destination but a way of living. I recommend the book. I hope you are far along enough on your own spiritual journey to capture the depths of this book. I've heard the book gets mixed reviews. Some people just don't get it. Like Eckhart Tolle’s New Earth, you most likely have to have some higher-level of consciousness to grasp the message of the book, and it takes a while to get through the book because you want to stop and reflect. Elizabeth Gilbert takes you on a soul-searching journey with intimate details you would share only with a bestfriend.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Sacred Circle


In the middle of school, soccer games, church, family parties... life, my sister and I still made the time to regroup with the women we met at the Memoir Writing Workshop a month ago. Although I liked them immediately and we said we'd meet again to start our own writing group, I wasn't sure if we would actually ever see them again because it wasn't the first time we had said we'd form a writing group, and then lose all communication with the group. And, this one was the furthest away. So when we got the email about the upcoming meet up, we were ecstatic and knew we had to go.

My sister and I once again set out on a 45+ minute commute to pursue our writing passions. Although I had seen my sister at a family party the week before, when we see each other to drive to a writing workshop it's very different. We catch up on what we are reading or writing, we talk about what our latest hopes and plans are. We'll give each other tips on things we've come across. And, we'll even read to each other in the car while the other drives.

We meet the group at the patio of a Borders bookstore. We talked about our goals and what we hope to gain by being in this group. Again, we connect immediately. We are very different in age, personality, background, education, and writing experience. Yet, we share the same Mexican Culture, and our differences complement each other. On my notes I jot down, "I love this women writing group". It was like being on a really good date and you know there is chemistry there because you can feel it. I don't hold back. I tell them how excited I am to be here. They agree. We are well aware of how neat it was to share this space and time, and to be able to share our stories and lives with each other.

There is a published writer amongst us. And by published I mean published by a large publishing house, and her book is well known. I sit by her and ask questions. I want to learn everything. She mentioned how her old writing group had published several named popular works through the years. I was in awe and could feel the words of experience by someone who has put in the work to succeed in this writing business. There was also a social worker among us who shared that her writing muse rears its ugly head when she's with a client and hears their stories, it causes reflection on her own. When I hear this I laugh hysterically almost to tears because I could picture myself tuning out my client as I jot down notes for my memoirs if I was in the same field.  

We decided to use the time to critique each other’s work. A couple of the women volunteered to have their piece read out loud by someone else in the group, and then we would critique/edit the piece as a group. 

I went home excited. My dog could have gotten run over and it wouldn't have taken away the high I was feeling. I got dressed up for a family birthday party. So I didn't have a chance to write till the next morning after breakfast and after my boys and I had spent time on our nest reading and playing. In the middle of writing my morning pages, another chapter of my life kept consuming my attention. I tried to ignore it at first, but then stopped fighting and wrote about it. And like that I was able to birth another chapter of my memoirs. I finished minutes before it was time to get ready for church. I cut my time in getting ready so I could run back to my journal and add a few lines as they came to me as I put on my makeup.

We're supposed to meet up with the group next month. I'm excited. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

On Winning and Losing


Winning Our First Game of The Season
We finally won our first game of the season in the 30 and over coed soccer league. I wouldn’t say that our victory was sweet because at the end of the game our team looked defeated. It was a frustrating win. We struggled against the team that was ranked the lowest in the league, and they even had fewer players out there than we did for the first half of the game. At one point, they were ahead by two goals. I thought for sure we lose yet another game. But then, one of the midfielders managed to score two consecutive goals; moments later, someone else on our team scored another. We won in the last few minutes of the game. Whereas I felt the team should be celebrating, they were mostly sitting quietly taking off their soccer shoes, exhausted by the heat, and frustrated by how long it took to turn the game around.
That game was won by my teammates. As for myself, I still felt like I was drowning out there. If you have ever come close to drowning in a pool like I have, you know that as your bring your face up to gasp for air as you are trying to stay afloat, you can see all around you. But then you sink back down after having swallowed more water in exhaustion. That’s how I had been feeling out there in the soccer field these last few games. Only I wasn’t swallowing water, I was swallowing fear. After that first game, which felt a lot like the ending to the movie Platoon, where the grenades were just going off and there was no place to run for cover, I was afraid to be out there in the field with those soccer grenades. I would get so nervous before a game. Part of me would start to wonder why I signed up for this. What was I thinking? There was no way I was quitting though. I just couldn’t anchor myself to the field or to the presence of the game. I had no idea what I was doing. When my husband and teammates talked about the game, I couldn’t recall the plays or players they talked about. It was all a blur, no clearer than the sights seen from a scary fast roller coaster.
In the scrimmages I’ve played there are usually only twelve players out there, and the field is much smaller. My team consists of about 6 players and we generally don’t hold our positions since there are so few of us. I hadn’t learned to keep my line and stay on my side of the field, a very basic skill in soccer. I also hadn’t learned how to dribble or control the ball very well, or how to hit the ball hard so that it moves further than my usual five-foot range. What I am good at is chasing after someone who’s got the ball and get in their way, or even managing to steal the ball from them. I even jump in front of the speeding balls and get hit in order to block the goal. I play with heart not skill. I've played well in the scrimmages because I’m relaxed and seize the moment, in the games I didn't even have that.

On A Personal Victory
This last Sunday we played again and it was the first time I felt grounded during a game. I knew my position and where I should be running up and down on the field as an outer mid fielder. I managed to block players and had a better handle of the game. The team captain told me to block this one girl in her early twenties. I stayed with her for the most part and she pushed me when I was challenging her for the ball. I’ve been more relaxed this week, so I took it as a compliment and softly pushed back. She never scored. We lost the game even though we were up by two goals by half time. This time there was more camaraderie after the game, at least we played well for the first half of the game before we ran out of steam. We are getting to know each other as teammates. I was so happy, excited, and very relieved because I had finally played a good game. At last I didn't feel like I was drowning out there. I had contributed to the game and to the team. And, it was even fun. I was grateful I'd signed up after all.