lunes, 9 de febrero de 2009

The bilingual baby voyage: Anclas away!!

Well, my friend Ana Lil, and her friend Roxana are now enthralled by the process of raising their beautiful girls, and they are doing it as mindfully as they can.

They are now contending with the issue of raising them bilingual, in a monolingual country. This will mean, in many ways, speaking mostly Spanish at home, and letting the world take care of English.

So, you may ask, that seems fairly standard... Don't a lot of families already do this?

As I said, the difference in their case is that they have decided to turn this into a journey and do it as mindfully as possible. This includes finding a community to exchange views, resources, tips and fun with! Not having the support of an extended family available, they are striving to do as much as possible of this through their blog.

I, wish them luck... and take my hat off to them. It is not easy journaling about your parenting... much less so doing it out in the open for a whole web community to witness.

And knowing Ana Lil, I am sure she will do this fantastically, as she has done with every other journey I have seen her embark on.

Bendiciones, Blessings, Bencoes

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martes, 5 de agosto de 2008

Simplicity! (the bane of our existence?)

About two weeks ago I had a sharp nagging pain in my upper back, on a spot just next to my right shoulderblade. It's the kind of pain that makes you notice your body. In fact it made me not just notice my body, but in fact it made me wonder that "hey, it's been a while since I had a pain this sharp and nagging, and obnoxious enough to make me stop what I was doing and notice my body for several days straight".

It got to the point where I seriously questioned whether I was causing permanent damange to myself through some aspect of my work. "Was it the worrying?, the not feeling that there was enough recognition or equity in the distribution of tasks?, was I not minding carefully enough how much I was carrying on my back?... or was it maybe the rythm of the driving through bad roads and sleeping in even worse beds?... was I not taking enough time off to exercise, or was I not physically releasing enough frustration?... did I need to get to a dojo and start kicking sandbags immediately, if so... how was I going to manage this with a bad back?

The point is, the drama was taking over. But I wasn't just sitting in anguish, for three days I did EVERYTHING I felt was in my power... carpet stretches, rolling around with the arm on the side of the back pain held behind my back, so the shoulder joint would readjust, I climbed onto my inversion table -which I have barely used in the three years since I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, Jenny even gave me two or three hours of massage every day for a couple of days...

So, I HAD tried every artifice in my bag of tricks, to no avail. I was beginning to have solid proof about the unsustainability of my worklife.

Gladly, the next thing after trying EVERYTHING by myself was to ask for help. And the next person in the list to ask for this help from was Shihan Edwin, a karate master who was also our household acupuncturist/physical therapist. Mercifully, Monday was a holiday, and Edwin was indeed working on that day.

So, long story short... I got treatment from Edwin, who IMMEDIATELY diagnosed what I had as weak lung chi, and went on to confirm his diagnosis through pulse and kinesiology.

I got direct treatment, Toning, Source and Mo points for Lung and Short Intestine, I also got the first spine adjustment I'd had in well over 6 years.

The pain wasn't gone straight away after the treatment, but I came straight from the acupuncture clinic to bed and slept over 10 hours. Then I showed Jenny how to give me moxa on the Lung and Short Intestine IU points the next night.

Driving to the workshop, on day 3 (after the acupuncturist visit) I had only a little pain. On day 4 I treated myself with the same points Edwin had used.

On day 5 the pain was gone. I only felt a little ghost sensation wanting to come over me when I was driving, but it went away quickly.

For a few days after coming back, it still got a little tender if I slept on either side. I had to try to spend at least half the night on my back, for the sensation that there had ever been any pain there to go away.

But the fact is, that two weeks later, it's hard to recall that nagging pain that had me wondering... when's the last time I felt anything like this?

I have no doubt that it was set up to be one of those lingering things... those things you don't make time for, don't deal with, but that erode your sense of confort and of being in control of your life. It certainly was taking away my choices about posture and comfort and intensity of work, and mostly, what to think about.

Even it it was not a miracle cure, in the sense of here right now, gone the next second, it WAS miraculous... because it overcame the limitations that I felt coming on, about how I could live my life, and use my body.

Mostly, it was a simple solution. Simple diagnosis, simple treatment. It was simple because someone had the answer I needed handy, and I went to ask him in time, and in the proper way, in the way in which this person was happy to help, happy to offer me the solution he had.

What tortures me now, is...

How many other of my problems have such a simple solution waiting for them...

Finding a job, mine is over in a few weeks....

Finding a house...

Finding some joy I've lost in life...

How many simple solutions are out there, that I haven't listened to the nagging questions nor found the right persons to ask about....

How much of my life am I making complicated because I can't find simple...

I life much of my life as an investment, make this effort, it will come back to you...

Today, what haunts me, is... maybe I am not investing enough in simplicity...

viernes, 19 de octubre de 2007

Carta de Miguelito a Mafalda

Me encontre esto en el blog de una argentina.

Esta requete cursi... pero bueno, vale la pena y justo a tono de los tiempos.

Que lo disfruten!


jueves, 18 de octubre de 2007

The gifts of a season - my grad student sprint

This post is mainly a celebration of a season. Today, I'm taking time to count the myriad ways in which May-November has been generous to me.

It has been, I believe, the time of my genuine experience as a graduate student. My life has been affluent in all the ways that my time back at Michigan was scarce -- I now have love by my side; I get to laugh often over silly things; while I still wonder about lots of stuff, I now have a basic ability to navigate the everyday nuances of being an adult (which I didn't have at 22) - whereas the areas where I am still disfunctional, I must admit that it has beem mostly by choice; I eat healty and delicious food I now have the skill and energy to make for Jenny and myself; I exercise; I still retain my dignity, conscience and peace of mind unsullied... And yes, it's close to the end of my rope and I'm officially "without liquidity", the last of my savings is put away to face paying the minimum on my credit cards and next month's rent, while Jenny is covering the everyday expenses with her savings... But overall, my Integral Worth, as a person, is more solid, and more clear in my mind than it has ever been.

I had thought that I'd left behind activism a dozen or so years ago, only to realize I had only become more discriminating about my causes. Recently, I had to decide whether to pick up the banner of dignity as a University for Peace graduating student, or to simply look away and float into the driftwood of acquiescence to authority simply because it is authority. At the time, I held strong to the banner, this particular banner said "Transparency and Accountability", until there was a new cohort of students who will need to make that same decision for themselves. I had Jenny's support AND PATIENCE throughout the process, and the response of nearly a third of the graduating students, and later of 40% of the alumni from 5 prevoius years. A fellow alumni's documents much of that struggle in his blog: .

An unexpected consequence of researching background material about UPEACE's new direction, its links with corporate and geopolitical interests distanced from accountability and the prevalence of human rights over economic criteria, and the call for accountability and transparency, has been the opportunity to become more stronlgy committed to the cause of Burmese people, the monks who are leading the most recent pro-democracy protests, and the country's rightful leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. It seems this will be a long battle given the indiference of the Costa Rican government and media towards the current events in Burma (Myanmar).

Jenny and I also had our moment of anti-CAFTA activism. It was only for a few weeks and doesn't match the commitment of the thousands of volunteer community activists who worked non-stop until the day of the vote, but it was significant and committed. It was also Jenny's first activism experience.

I had another surprise connect with a job opportunity, working with Franklin, which seemed to slip from my fingers at least twice, but was rescued each time, once by Franklin's stubborness and a second time through a last minute hattrick that involved getting information about my U of M degree from someone I hadn't seen in over 15 years. Now I'm waiting for this to work its magic and turn the tide finantially, as well as nurturing my career and my experience as a trainer.

So with a heightened awareness of imparmanence, I count my blessings, parry the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" and keep alive my connection with the flow.

viernes, 20 de julio de 2007

How an organization can act like an addict

My mind, prompted by recent events, has gone back to this old handout, which I first learned about got when I was training as a rape prevention instructor at BAMM (now Bay Area Impact)

From the Teamwork section, Model Mugging instructor manual
  • Offering a promise for the future while ignoring the problems of today
  • Operating to create and maintain an false image - decisions based on keeping a good image, not on real needs or honesty
  • Determining what to do based on how it will look to others
  • Invalidating any views that threaten status quo - no channel to get honest feedback
  • Fabrication of personality conflicts to shift attention away from real issues
  • Dualistic thinking - simple solutions for complex problems
  • Us against the world, us against them attitude
  • Using perks, praise, promises to get people to act in ways they are not in agreement with/overworked, under-paid, etc.
  • Isolating people who don't go along with the crowd, plan, policy